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Windows 7: Managing Wireless Network Connections (part 2) - Working with Wireless Connection Properties

1/15/2011 4:24:48 PM

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.

  • If 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:

  • Open the Manage Wireless Networks window, as described earlier, and then double-click the wireless network you want to work with.

  • If 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.

    Tip

    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 properties.


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.

Other -----------------
- Windows7: Managing Network Connections (part 5) - Using a Network Connection to Wake Up a Sleeping Computer
- Windows7: Managing Network Connections (part 4) - Finding a Connection’s MAC Address
- Windows7: Managing Network Connections (part 3) - Setting Up a Static IP Address
- Windows7: Managing Network Connections (part 2) - Enabling Automatic IP Addressing
- Windows7: Managing Network Connections (part 1)
- Working with Windows 7’s Basic Network Tools and Tasks (part 6) - Customizing Your Network
- Working with Windows 7’s Basic Network Tools and Tasks (part 5) - Viewing Network Status Details
- Working with Windows 7’s Basic Network Tools and Tasks (part 4) - Displaying a Network Map
- Working with Windows 7’s Basic Network Tools and Tasks (part 3) - Viewing Network Computers and Devices
- Working with Windows 7’s Basic Network Tools and Tasks (part 2) - Setting Up a Homegroup
- Working with Windows 7’s Basic Network Tools and Tasks (part 1) - Accessing the Network and Sharing Center
- Windows 7: Setting Up a Peer-to-Peer Network (part 2) - Connecting to a Wireless Network
- Windows 7: Setting Up a Peer-to-Peer Network (part 1) - Changing the Computer and Workgroup Name
- Windows Vista: IE Security Features
- Windows 7: Troubleshooting Wireless Network Problems
- Windows 7: Troubleshooting Networking - Troubleshooting the NIC
- Windows 7: Troubleshooting Networking - Troubleshooting Cables
- Windows Vista: Configuring Internet Explorer 7.0 - Common IE Settings
- Windows Vista: Windows Firewall Settings - Computer Connection Security Rules
- Windows7: Troubleshooting Networking from the Command Line (part 2)
 
 
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