How to Set up Wi-Fi on your Laptop

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors  | 

You can connect your laptop to the Internet through a Wi-Fi connection if you have a wireless router connected to broadband Internet and an operating system that fully supports wireless networking, such as Windows 7, Vista or XP. Here's what to do:

  1. Temporarily plug a network cable into your laptop and wireless router. When your computer is on, it should automatically connect to the router [source: Microsoft].
  2. Open Internet Explorer and type in the URL address of your wireless router to access the configuration page. In general, the default address will probably be 192.168.0.1, 192.168.1.1, or 192.168.2.1 [source: Microsoft]. Check your router's owner's manual for more help.
  3. Enter your username and password when prompted. Many routers use the term admin as a default for both [source: Microsoft]. Again, check your router's manual if you don't know the default username and password.
  4. Pick a name, also called an SSID, for your network, once you access your router's configuration page. Try to think of an original name that will distinguish your Wi-Fi from your neighbors'.
  5. Choose the type of security you want. WPA and WPA2 are more secure than WEP, but not all devices support WPA2. Create a unique password for your network. There will be hints on your router configuration page to tell you how to set up a password. Make sure to keep a hard copy of your password hidden somewhere in case you forget it [source: Microsoft].
  6. Locate and click on the Internet icon, for Windows 7 and Vista, in the notification area of Windows on your laptop. The icon will resemble a signal meter, like you would see on a cell phone [source: Windows]. For Windows XP, open your Control Panel and select Network Connections. Right click on the Wireless Network Connection icon and choose View Available Wireless Networks [source: MSU]. Choose the wireless network you just set up and enter your password [source: Windows]. //]]]]> ]]>

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Originally Published: Jul 13, 2011

Laptop WiFi FAQ

Can I buy internet for my laptop?
The easiest way to get an internet connection for a laptop is to set up a home internet service, though which you can use a 3G or 4G connection to get online via Wi-Fi.
Why is my laptop is not connecting to WiFi?
There are many reasons why your laptop may not be connecting. The most common explanation is that the laptop’s network adapter is disabled. For Windows users, this can be changed by checking your network adapter by visiting the Control Panel.
Can I get mobile internet on my laptop?
Data tethering is a tool that allows a mobile device to share its internet or data connection with a laptop. All you have to do is connect your phone to your laptop - either with a USB cable or using Apple’s Personal Hotspot - and then toggle on tethering in the phone’s settings menu.
Which VPN is best for a laptop?
There are a wide range of VPNs available, most of which offer a free trial for users to try out before paying for a full license. The most popular options right now include ExpressVPN, Hotspot Shield and NordVPN.
Are laptop WiFi cards universal?
Laptop Wi-Fi cards are universal as long as you have the proper connection on the board to fit the card. If your laptop isn’t compatible with a new card, you can try using a bracket adapter.

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