A network is a group of computers that communicate
with each other through a wired or wireless connection. A network can
be as small as two computers or as large as the Internet. In the
context of this book, we primarily use the term network
to mean the connection between computers in one physical location that
are connected to each other, and to the Internet, through a network
your computer has an enabled network adapter, whether or not it is
actively connected to a network, a connection icon appears in the
notification area at the right end of the Windows Taskbar. The
connection icon indicates whether your network adapter is an Ethernet
adapter or a wireless adapter (the wireless connection icon depicts
signal strength bars). When the computer is not connected to a network,
a red X appears on the connection icon. If a wireless connection is
available, a yellow starburst appears on the wireless connection icon.
The connection icon indicates the adapter type and connection status.
to or clicking the connection icon displays information about the
current network connection status. When the computer is not connected
to a network, pointing to the connection icon displays information
about whether a network connection is currently available.
Right-clicking the connection icon displays a shortcut menu with links
to the Network And Sharing Center and troubleshooting tools.
your computer is a desktop computer you'll probably connect it to only
one network. If your computer is a portable computer, you might connect
it to networks in many locations: at home, at work, at a friend's or
relative's house, at the library, at a coffee shop...wherever you want
to connect to the Internet you will first need to connect to a network.
Each time you connect your computer to a network that you haven't
previously connected to, Windows 7 creates a network profile with the
network name specified by the network router, and prompts you to
specify whether that network is a home network, a work network, or a
you physically connect your computer to a network by using an Ethernet
cable, Windows 7 automatically creates the network connection. To
connect to a wireless network for the first time, you need to make the
To connect to an available wireless network:
Click the available wireless connection icon in the notification area of the taskbar.
A list of available connections appears.
The connection icon adjacent to each available connection indicates its signal strength.
In the Wireless Network Connection area, point to any network connection.
A ScreenTip displays information about the connection.
To learn the security type of a network, point to the network in the connection list.
Click the connection you want to connect to, and then click the Connect button that appears.
7 connects to the selected network. If additional information is
required, such as a WEP key or WPA password, Windows prompts you to
you work in an organization that uses Active Directory Domain Services
to authenticate (confirm the credentials of) users on a Windows Server
domain and your computer is connected to the domain, the network
connection type will automatically be Domain, and you will not be able
to change it. Instead, you will log on to the domain by using your
domain user name and password.
you select the connection type, Windows creates a network profile for
that connection and applies the settings specific to that connection
type to your computer. Each network profile includes the following
Network discovery Determines whether the computer can see and be seen by other computers connected to the network.
File and printer sharing Determines whether network users can access files and printers that you have shared.
Public folder sharing Determines whether network users can access files stored in the public folders on your computer.
Media streaming Determines whether network users can access music, videos, and pictures stored in your media library.
File sharing connections Determines the security requirements for devices that connect to your computer's file sharing connections.
Password-protected sharing Determines whether shared files are available to any network user or only to those users with user accounts on your computer.
Determines whether user account credentials are necessary to connect to
computers joined to your homegroup. Available only for network profiles
associated with the Home Network and Work Network connection types.
running Windows 7 can co-exist on a network with computers running
earlier versions of Windows. Other computers and devices on the network
do not affect the available network connection types or their settings.
However, at the time of this writing, network connection types and
homegroups weren't available on a computer running a version of Windows
earlier than Windows 7.
1. Home and Work Network Settings
the Home Network or Work Network connection type connects your computer
to the network and configures the network profile to include network
discovery, file and printer sharing, public folder sharing, media
streaming, and password-protected sharing. Your computer is visible to
other computers on the network. You don't necessarily have permission
to access these computers or devices, but you can see that they are
connected to the network and other network members can see that you are.
your computer is connected to a home network, you can choose to join it
to a homegroup. When your computer is connected to a work network, you
can choose to join it to a custom workgroup or to a domain. (Ask your
network administrator about these options.)
2. Public Network Settings
probably connect to a public network only when you want to connect to
the Internet from a portable computer. (Individual computers cannot
connect directly to the Internet; they have to connect to an
intermediary network that provides the Internet connection.) For
example, you might connect to a free, pay-per-use, or
subscription-based public network at an airport, restaurant, library,
hotel, or other location. (I was at a highway rest stop last month that
offered free Internet access from the picnic area!) If the network is
provided free of charge, you might have immediate Internet access.
Frequently, though, you will need to provide information, credentials,
or payment in order to connect from the public network to the Internet.
you connect to any network that you don't explicitly trust, choose the
Public Network connection type to protect your privacy. Selecting the
Public Network connection type connects your computer to the network
without it being visible to other network users.
Public Network settings.
you have a wireless network router, it is important that you secure the
network properly to prevent unauthorized users from connecting to it
via the Internet and gaining access to the computers on your network,
as well as to your Internet connection.
you set up your wireless router, be sure to follow the instructions
that come with it. You'll usually be required to connect the router
directly to a computer (by using an Ethernet cable) and run a setup
program. During the setup process, you can do several things to
increase the security of your wireless network, such as:
the administrative password from the default password shared by all
routers of that type to something unique. (Some manufacturers even use
the network with an appropriate level of encryption. Establish a Wired
Equivalent Privacy (WEP) key or Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) password
to prevent unauthorized users from connecting to your wireless network.
router confi guration might offer multiple levels of WEP encryption,
controlled by the length of the WEP key. A 10-character WEP key
provides 64-bit encryption, and a 26-character key provides 128-bit
is a far more secure encryption standard than WEP. If you have a
gigabit network router (which transmits data at 1,000 KB/sec, as
opposed to the standard 100 KB/second), you should use WPA encryption.
WPA encryption supports gigabit data transmission; WEP encryption does
wireless protocol is expressed in the form 80211.x. Most routers
support one or more of the following: 80211.b (10 KB/sec), 80211.g (100
KB/sec), and 80211.n (1,000 KB/sec).
creating a security key or password, use a combination of letters and
numbers that you can remember—for example, a series of birthdays, or
your street address. If the key is particularly long or diffi cult, you
might want to keep a printed copy of it handy for when visitors want to
connect their mobile computers to your wireless network.
3. Network Information
on the environment you're working in, you might not know the structure
of the network your computer is connected to, or all the computers and
devices that are connected to your network. Windows 7 provides several
tools for viewing information about your network and Internet
Displays a visual representation of the computers and devices on your
network that are currently online and in compliance with the network
profile for this connection, as well as the devices that support the
network infrastructure, such as the network router. The Network window
displays only those devices that are "visible" to your computer based
on your current network settings.
items shown in the Computer area of the Network window are almost
always physical computers, but from time to time another device can
sneak in there. For example, a network printer might identify itself in
the Computer area by a name such as NPI67BB3, or something equally mysterious.
Network and Sharing Center
Displays information about the connection from your computer to the
Internet and the type of active network connections you have, as well
as links to tools you can use to manage network connections.
Network Map Displays a comprehensive visual representation of all the computers on your network.
In this exercise, you'll display information about the network your computer is connected to.
You don't need any practice files to complete this exercise. Ensure
that your computer is connected to a network of any type, and then
follow the steps.
On the Start menu, click Computer.
The Computer window opens in Windows Explorer.
In the Navigation pane, click the Network group.
The Network window opens.
If an Information bar appears at the top of the window to inform you
that file sharing is turned off, click the Information bar and then
click Turn On Network Discovery And File Sharing.
Your Network window will show the devices on your network.
On the toolbar of the Network window, click Network and Sharing Center.
The Network And Sharing Center opens.
The Network And Sharing Center.
can also open the Network And Sharing Center by clicking the Network
icon in the notification area of the taskbar and then clicking Network
And Sharing Center, or by displaying Control Panel in Category view and
then, under Network And Internet, clicking View Network Status And
In the upper-right corner of the Network and Sharing Center, click See full map.
The Network Map window opens.
Network Map displays connections from the computers on your network to
the Internet. You can click a computer or device on the Network Map to
CLEAN UP Close the Network Map window.