Windows 7 wireless Network Properties
There are a number of ways to hook up to wireless networks with Windows 7 – each has its own set of pros and cons.
The Cable Guy
These days, the wireless world is everywhere. Being able to connect to a network and the web from wherever you are is almost essential. Windows 7 provides a simplified user experience for IEEE 802.11 wireless LAN networks.
Using Windows 7, you can use the following methods to connect to and configure connections to wireless networks, known as wireless profiles:
- Network notification area icon: This is the primary method by which users connect to available wireless networks.
- Set up a connection or network dialog box: This is a method by which users can manually create wireless network profiles.
- Manage Wireless Networks dialog box: This is another method to manually configure wireless networks and specify their detailed settings.
- Group Policy: Network administrators can use Group Policy settings in an Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) environment to centrally configure and automatically deploy wireless network settings for domain member computers. (See Wireless Group Policy Settings for Windows Vista, the April 2007 The Cable Guy.)
- Command line: Network administrators can use commands in the netsh wlan context of the Netsh.exe tool to manually configure wireless networks and their settings. There are Netsh commands to export an existing wireless profile to an XML file and then import the wireless profile settings stored in the XML file on another computer. (See Netsh Commands for Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) in Windows Server 2008 R2.)
The following sections describe in detail how to connect to a wireless network using the Network notification area icon and the Set up a connection or network dialog box in Windows 7, how to manage your wireless networks, and how to connect to non-broadcasting wireless networks.
Using the Network Notification Area Icon
To connect to an available wireless network, click the Network icon in the notification area of your desktop. The resulting pane will give you a list of detected wireless networks and, for domain-joined computers, the names of wireless networks configured through Group Policy (see Figure 1)
Figure 1 The list of available networks will look something like this.
From this pane, you can connect to a listed wireless network by double-clicking it, clicking the network and then clicking Connect, or by right-clicking the network and clicking Connect.
To view information for a listed wireless network, place the mouse pointer over the network name. You’ll see the wireless network’s name, signal strength, security type, radio type (802.11b/g/n), and Service Set Identifier (SSID). You can see connected network status and properties of a connected network or a network configured through Group Policy through the wireless network’s context menu (see Figure 2).
To refresh the list of wireless network, click the up/down arrow icon in the upper right of the pane. To disconnect from a connected wireless network, right-click the network and then click Disconnect.
Figure 2 The Wireless Network Connection Status dialog box.
Set up a connection or network dialog box
You can access the Set Up a Connection or Network dialog box in Windows 7 (see Figure 3), by selecting the Set Up a New Connection or Network link in the Network and Sharing center.
Figure 3 The Set Up a Connection or Network dialog box.
To manually create a wireless network profile, click “Manually connect to a wireless network, ” and then click Next. You should see Figure 4.