Working with Wireless Connection Properties
When you connect to a wireless network, Windows 7 eases network management by doing two things:
Windows 7 automatically stores the network in the Manage Wireless Networks window.
you tell Windows 7 to save the connection data (by activating the
Connect Automatically check box), Windows 7 initiates the connection as
soon as it detects the network when you log on. (In the Manage Wireless
Networks window, Windows 7 displays the network’s Mode value as Automatically Connect.)
These two features
mean that, after running through the initial wireless network
connection, you may never have to think about the connection again.
However, if some aspect of the connection changes down the road, Windows
7 enables you to modify various connection properties, as described in
the next two sections.
Before getting to
the specifics, here are the techniques you can use to open a wireless
network connection’s Properties dialog box:
Manage Wireless Networks window, as described earlier, and then
double-click the wireless network you want to work with.
the wireless network connection appears in the Network and Sharing
Center, click the connection’s link to open the Status dialog box, and
then click Wireless Properties.
Modifying Connection Properties
In the wireless network connection’s Properties dialog box, the Connection tab (see Figure 5)
displays some basic information about the connection—the connection’s
local name, its SSID, the network type (Access Point or Ad Hoc Network),
and the network availability (that is, which users can use the
connection). You also get the following three check boxes:
Connect Automatically When This Network Is In Range—
Leave this check box activated to have Windows 7 connect to the network
automatically whenever the network comes within range. If you prefer to
connect to the network manually, deactivate this check box.
Connecting to a
wireless network automatically is useful for those networks you use
regularly. This applies to your home or office network, of course, but
it may also be true of places you frequent, such as your local coffee
shop or a hotel. However, if the network charges you for connection
time, it’s usually a good idea to connect manually.
Connect to a More Preferred Network If Available—
Leave this check box activated to have Windows 7 automatically
disconnect from this network if a network that is listed higher in the
Manage Wireless Networks list comes within range. (See “Reordering Wireless Connections” for more information about preferred networks.)
Connect Even If the Network Is Not Broadcasting Its Name (SSID)—
If you activate this check box, Windows 7 checks to see whether the
network is within range even if the network isn’t broadcasting its SSID.
Leave this check box deactivated to improve security .
Figure 5. In the wireless network connection’s Properties dialog box, the
Connection tab enables you to configure a few connection-related
Modifying Security Properties
After you make the
initial connection to a wireless network, you may find that later on the
network’s security settings have changed. For example, an open network
might decide to add encryption to improve security. Similarly, the
person administering the network might upgrade to a more robust
encryption setting or change the security key or password. You can
adjust the security settings for an existing network using the settings
in the Security tab of the wireless network connection’s Properties
dialog box. As shown in Figure 6, the Security tab offers the following controls:
Security Type— The security protocol used by the wireless network. Select No Authentication (Open) if the network is unsecured.
Encryption Type— The specific type of encryption used by the network’s security protocol.
Network Security Key— The key or password required for authorized access to the network.
Figure 6. In the wireless network connection’s Properties dialog box, the
Security tab enables you to configure a few security-related properties.