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How to Connect a Laptop to Wi-Fi

If you have a laptop that was manufactured less than three years ago, you should be able to work in any place where there is a hot spot and instantly get connected to the Internet. To connect to any available wireless network around you, your laptop must have a built-in Wi-Fi card. In this article, we shall focus on Wi-Fi in the Windows operating systems.

Different computer manufacturers have their proprietary built-in wireless LAN card utility. You can choose to go with this or you can just settle with what is provided by your Microsoft Windows operating system.

Let's look at how you check to see if your laptop has Wi-Fi. If your laptop doesn't have Wi-Fi, it is probably an old model, as new model laptops all come with Wi-Fi. If you have the computer documentation around, then you can check the specs once again. Better yet, it is easier and faster to visit the manufacturer's Web Site and go through the specifications for your model.

The easiest and most effective thing to do is to check on your computer. To check for Wi-Fi on your computer running a Windows operating system: Click on start -> Control Panel -> Device Manager. You will find something like BroadcomX b/g WLAN (where X is a set of numbers) associated to an icon under network adapters. If you see this, then your system definitely has Wi-Fi capabilities. If your laptop does not have a built-in Wi-Fi, then you can buy an adapter. There are many adapters to choose from. Just as a quick note, D-Link, NetGear, and Linksys adapters are all pretty good. However, not everyone likes an external adapter. The sight of the adapter sticking out on the side of a computer is quite unpopular.

Connecting to a Network

Follow the steps below to connect to a hotspot with a laptop running Windows 7:

Step 1 - On the desktop, check for the signal icon on the bottom right side of the taskbar and click on it.
Step 2 - You will be presented with a list of all the hot spots that are within range of your wireless adapter. Look for the name of the router you want to connect to and click on it.
Step 3 - Decide if you would like to connect automatically or not.
Step 4 - You will be required to insert your network security key if you have security set up. It is important to always encrypt your router with a security key to prevent unauthorized access.
Step 5 Type in the key and you're ready to go!

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