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What do you need to get wireless Internet? Learn how to connect to wireless.

Updated on April 24, 2015

What is needed to connect to wireless?

It is actually very simple. What you need to get wireless is a computer with wireless capability. With a computer that has wireless capability, you should be able to connect to open wireless networks all over town.

Coffee shops, restaurants, hotels and many other businesses often offer free wireless hot spots for people to connect their wireless computers, phones and tablets to. They are supplying the Internet and the wireless router for your computer to connect to at their location.

If you wanted to have wireless in your house that connects to your home internet connection, all you would need is a wireless router, if your computer has wireless already. Think of it this way, when you are out in town, they are supplying one piece of the two piece puzzle. When you are home, you need to have both pieces of the puzzle to make it work.

Most commonly used wireless symbol.

Does my computer have wireless?

Let's see if your computer has the wireless ability.

Odds are if it is a newer laptop, it does. If it is a desktop, there is a possibility. There are several ways to check. On a laptop, you can look all over the computer, above the keyboard, on the sides and front edge and sometimes on the F Keys (F1, F2, F3, etc.) for the wireless symbol on a button or the wireless symbol next to a LED.

The one shown on the right is the most commonly used symbol for wireless. On a desktop, it can be hard to tell.

If you are still not sure:

In Windows 7:

  1. Click Start
  2. Click Control Panel
  3. Click Network and Internet
  4. Click Network and Sharing Center
  5. Click Change adapter settings

In Vista:

  1. Click Start
  2. Click Control Panel
  3. Click Network and Internet
  4. Click Network and Sharing Center
  5. Click Manage Network Connections

In XP:

  1. Click Start
  2. Click Control Panel
  3. Click Network Connections.

You should see a Wireless Network Connection listed along with a Local Area connection.

If see the Wireless Network Connection, obviously it has the wireless capability. If you do not see it and you only see Local Area Connection, odds are that you do not have wireless capability on the computer. Don't worry, to add wireless is very inexpensive and easily done.

How do I know if I have a wireless capability on my Internet connection? Do I have the other piece to the wireless puzzle?

First thing you would want to do is look for your modem, it is a small black box provided by the company that does your Internet. It usually has a bunch of green or green and blue lights all over the front of it. Some have just white lights as well. Just depends on the make and model of the modem. Sometimes the modems have a wireless router built into them. Other times, you will need a separate device to attach to the modem. If you are having trouble finding the modem and have a desktop computer, it is usually within about 6 feet of it.

If the modem has external antennas, that is a dead giveaway that it has wireless built-in. If not, it still may have wireless and may just have internal antennas. Let's figure it out. Look the description of each light on the front. See if there is any mention of Wifi or WLAN or shows the Wifi symbol shown above. If so, your modem has wireless capability built inside. You would next need to log into your modem to see what the name of your wireless network is and its secret password for the wireless (technically known as a Security Key or Passphrase). Here are easy to follow directions to log in to your router.

If your modem does not have wireless capability built inside, look for another box about the same size or smaller with lights on the front of it as well, usually by it. If you can not find another box very close by, odds are that you do not have a standalone wireless router and need one for wireless. That is what you are missing.

Here is one of the most popular wireless routers on Amazon to give your internet connection the ability to talk to your computer:


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      Daniels 3 years ago

      Hi Lindsay and Amy I really hope you reply even tghuoh it has been 2 years since you've posted on here I'm so glad to have found this site. My name is Nichole and I am almost 23 years old, I have suffered with NDPH since I was 16. I was a Sophomore in high school, it was near the end of 2006 when I got sick with bronchitis and the flu and coughed and coughed and noticed I had a really terrible headache with it. Once the sickness went away I noticed that the migraine, that pain in my head that had been so foreign to me prior to this, had not gone away, and still has not to this day I had to be home schooled and quit all of my sports I was a part of My friends went on with their lives and forgot about me while I had a constant 24/7 pain that I could not get rid of no matter how hard I tried or how much it killed me, physically and mentally. We began with Chiropractors, decompression machines, adjustments, etc. I traveled hours to probably 20 different Chiropractors that all said that they knew what I had and exactly how to treat it. I've tried natural supplements, over the counter medications, 6 Occipital nerve blocks in the back of my head, massage, diets of no wheat, no gluten, no sugar, vegan only, all with no progress. My family understands the pain and how I can be ok one minute but then pick up something slightly too heavy, walk a little too fast, sit down a little too hard and I will have to be in my room with blankets over my windows and absolutely no sound because the pain is so unbearable. It is so frustrating because I too feel like a burden, like ok you have a headache so what? Why can't you stay out late or get up early or work long shifts or run around and be active? But it is so much more than a headache It's become a way of life and although I think I handle it well I know that deep down I am depressed and deeply saddened by it because anytime I stop to think about it or talk to anyone about it I cry instantly. Lindsay, I too have tried the things you have with no help and at Cleveland Clinic where they did my nerve blocks they told me about the program where you stay there for an amount of time. My option they told me about when staying there was a few weeks, they would put me on all these medications and steroid medications, have physical therapy and counseling as well. They also said the FDA would soon be approving the Botox injections, I'm sorry those did not help you either NDPH has altered my life drastically, I can't work as much, I can't run around and just be free, I can't take a full load of classes at a time Basically I just want to thank you for having this site Amy, it is really more helpful than you know, just knowing that I'm not the only one to suffer from this and that I'm not the only one that has this pain to think about every single second of every day Bless you and bless all your readers, may you all find relief from the pain -Nichole