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How to Set Up a Wireless Network on Windows 8

How to Set Up a Wireless Network on Windows 8

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Just like Windows 7 and previous versions of this operating system, Windows 8 makes setting up a wireless network relatively easy and painless. There are a few things you need to know in order to set up your wireless network and keep it working properly, so that you can share things with other computers. Here’s how you do it.

Getting Your Wireless Network Prepared

To set up a wireless network, you need two things:

Once you have the wireless router, take out the installation disc, insert it into your computer, and then run the install program. This will take you through some crucial configuration steps, such as giving your network an ironically hip name and setting the router’s security options.

Adding the Internet to Your Wireless Network

If you have an internet connection on one computer, you might be wondering a couple of things:

The answer to both questions is a resounding “Yes!” How? By connecting your wireless router to your broadband modem. To do this, first turn off both the broadband modem and the router.

Examine the back of your wireless router and locate the port that it uses for the internet connection. Conveniently, some label this port internet, whereas others use WAN or WLAN. Some annoying routers don’t label the internet port at all, but place the port off to the side so it’s clearly separate from the router’s other ports. Run a network cable from the network port in the back of the modem (which is usually the one labeled Ethernet or LAN) to the internet port in the back of the wireless router.

Run the network cable from the broadband modem to the internet (or WAN) port in the back of the wireless router.

Run the network cable from the broadband modem to the internet (or WAN) port in the back of the wireless router.

Your next step is to configure the wireless router for internet access. Unfortunately, there isn’t a single, straightforward way to go about this. There are, in fact, dozens of possibilities depending on the type of wireless router you have and the company you’re using as your ISP (Internet Service Provider). For the specifics, see the manual that came with the router and the instructions provided by your ISP.

The first thing you need to do is temporarily connect your computer to the wireless router. Run a network cable from the network port on your computer to a similar port on the back of the router (although not the internet or WAN or WLAN port used by the broadband modem).

Now, follow these steps to access the router’s setup pages:

  1. On the computer connected to the router, switch to the Start screen and then click File Explorer.
  2. Click Network. Windows displays the devices on your network. You should see an icon for the router. The name of the icon usually is the same as the router’s model number. In the figure, for example, the router is the icon named Alcatel Lucent 7130.
  3. You should see an icon for your router in the Network window.

    You should see an icon for your router in the Network window.

  4. Double-click the router icon. The router prompts you to log on to the device.
  5. Type the default user name and password. (See the router manual for the log-on details.)
  6. Click Log In (or OK, or whatever). The router’s setup pages appear.

Now that you’re into the setup pages, you can make the necessary modifications. Using your router manual and ISP document as a guide, you should change the following things:

When you’ve done all that, pat yourself on the back, save your changes, and then disconnect the network cable that’s running from the computer to the router. (From now on, you can access the setup pages wirelessly if need be.)

Making the Wireless Connection

With your wireless router now hooked up to the broadband modem and configured with the internet-connection type, the router will automatically create a connection to the internet. Your job now is to wirelessly tap into that connection:

  1. Press Windows+I to open the Settings pane.
  2. Click the wireless network icon. Windows displays a list of nearby wireless networks.
  3. Click your wireless network. That is, click the network name that you created earlier.
  4. Activate the Connect automatically check box. This tells Windows 8 to connect to your network without your having to repeat these steps.
  5. Click Connect. Windows prompts you to enter your wireless network password (which it calls a security key).
  6. Type the password, and then click Next. Windows 8 asks if you want to turn on sharing between PCs.
  7. Click Yes, turn on sharing and connect to devices. Windows connects your wireless network, and you’re free to access the other computers and surf the web wirelessly.

Now that you know how to set up a wireless network with Windows 8, it’s time to start connecting all of your computers! For information on how to do this, see our Quick Guide, How to Set Up Accounts and Passwords on Windows 8. Happy sharing!

From The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Microsoft Windows 8 by Paul McFedries