How to Connect a Windows PC to WiFi

Introduction

This guide will walk you through connecting your PC to Wi-Fi.

Not all computers have the ability to connect to Wi-Fi. Please check your computer specifications to see if this is supported. You may additionally purchase a Wireless Network Adapter if it does not have out of the box support.

1 Credentials

In order to connect to a wireless network, you must have the required credentials. These are:
  • Wireless Network Name (SSID)
  • Wireless Network Key (Password)

Finding Network Credentials

Most wireless routers or gateways have a label with the default credentials. If the credentials aren't there, check the documentation that came with your device.
Default Wi-Fi credentials highlighted on router / gateway sticker.

If your Internet Service Provider (ISP) installed the wireless router or gateway, they might have left you a setup sheet which may have the credentials.

? Do you know your Wireless Credentials?

  1. Yes
  2. No

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This guide will walk you through connecting your PC to Wi-Fi.

Not all computers have the ability to connect to Wi-Fi. Please check your computer specifications to see if this is supported. You may additionally purchase a Wireless Network Adapter if it does not have out of the box support.

In order to connect to a wireless network, you must have the required credentials. These are:
  • Wireless Network Name (SSID)
  • Wireless Network Key (Password)

Finding Network Credentials

Most wireless routers or gateways have a label with the default credentials. If the credentials aren't there, check the documentation that came with your device.
Default Wi-Fi credentials highlighted on router / gateway sticker.

If your Internet Service Provider (ISP) installed the wireless router or gateway, they might have left you a setup sheet which may have the credentials.

For the next steps, we need to determine what version of Windows you are running.
  1. Click on the Notifications icon and then click on Network.
    notification center open with notifications icon and network highlighted
  2. Click the network you wish to connect to.
    available networks with an example network selected
  3. Choose if you wish to automatically connect to your network, and then click on Connect.
    selected network listed with connect automatically box and the connect button highlighted
  4. Enter in your security key and click Next.
    Security key field with next highlighted
  5. Choose whether or not you want to be visible to the network.
    Do you want your computer to be discoverable with yes and no boxes highlighted

    It is recommended to allow your PC to be discovered on private home networks because that allows you to see other wireless devices on the Network. If you're at a public location it is suggested to select "No".

  6. You can verify your connection by checking to see if it now says "Connected" next to the network.
    Notification showing you are now connected to Wi-Fi
To help troubleshoot the problem we should check if other devices can connect to the wireless network.

If other wireless devices are connected to the network and functioning properly, chances are the router is OK. It's possible there is an environmental issue. Do you have a portable wireless device (Smart Phone, Tablet, Laptop, etc.) that you can put in the same area to test and see if that device's wireless connection still functions as intended in that location?

If you haven't already, please try power cycling the device you're working with.

  1. Turn off your device.
    Power
  2. Wait ten seconds.
    Wait 10 seconds
  3. Turn your device on again.
    Power

At this time, the manufacturer has not indicated that there are any compatibility issues with specific models of networking equipment on the market. To ensure that your specific networking equipment and all settings will work properly with your PC or tablet, please reach out to the manufacturer directly for further assistance.

Some wireless routers broadcast a dual-band wireless signal and provide both 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless networks. Your device may not see the 5GHz network, which is completely normal. Not all devices contain the antenna to communicate on the 5GHz band. Also, some routers broadcast guest networks that your device may not be able to connect to depending on your router's settings.

The device needs to be within a reasonable range of the router in order to connect and have the best connection speeds.

  • In general, in most homes, you can be up to 30 feet from your router for a decent connection.
  • From 30' to 50' away, the speeds will be slower, and may drop occasionally, but it should be usable.
  • Greater than 50' away, and the signal will most likely be too weak to overcome interference. The speeds will be slow, and the connection may be sporadic.

The above numbers are approximates only. Optimal range may vary based on router make and model.

Your router may need to be relocated to a more centralized location in order to provide better coverage for all your devices.

Good Placement

A house, separated into rooms detailing how placing Wi-Fi in the center of a house will provide better coverage to reach all devices. Diagram.

Bad Placement

A house, separated into rooms detailing how placing Wi-Fi in the corner of the house can cause some devices to not have a Wi-Fi signal. Diagram.

Since this appears to be a range issue that can be resolved by putting the router in closer proximity to the device's intended use area, we recommend moving the router to a more centralized location.
If the wireless signal is not reaching the device and moving the router or device in closer proximity is not possible or doesn't resolve the issue, the best option for wireless connectivity is to get a range extender.
  1. Move the mouse to the bottom or top right corner of the screen and click on Settings.
    Arrows pointing to top right and bottom right corner of screen with the Settings icon highlighted.
  2. Click on the Network icon.
    Charms bar Settings with the network icon highlighted.
  3. Click on the network you wish to connect to.
    List of networks with an example Wi-Fi network highlighted.
  4. Choose if you wish to automatically connect to the network then click on Connect.
    Connect button.
  5. Enter your Security Key (Wi-Fi Password) and then click on Next.
    Network page with the security key box and the Next button highlighted.
  6. Choose if you want to find other devices on your network.
    Dialog asking if you want to find PC, or devices on the network with the Yes and No buttons highlighted.

    It is recommended to allow your PC to be discovered on private home networks because that allows you to see other wireless devices on the Network. If you're at a public location it is suggested to select "No"

  7. You can verify your connected by going back to the list of networks.
    Network page highlighting the connected Wi-Fi network.
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