Smart & Connected Life Working From Home 34 34 people found this article helpful Wi-Fi Tutorial: How to Connect to a Wireless Network Connect to Wi-Fi on Windows and Mac by Melanie Pinola Writer Former Lifewire writer Melanie Pinola has 5+ years' experience writing about consumer-oriented technology and is an expert telecommuter. our editorial process Melanie Pinola Updated on May 04, 2020 Working From Home The Ultimate Guide to Shopping Online The Ultimate Guide to Online Learning at Home The Ultimate Guide to Skype Tweet Share Email Connecting to a wireless network or a public Wi-Fi hotspot is a pretty straightforward process, but there are some slight differences between the various operating systems. Instructions in this article apply to Windows and Mac computers. There are separate instructions for connecting to Wi-Fi on Android and iPhone devices. What You Need to Connect to Wi-Fi All modern smartphones, tablets, and computers come with a built-in wireless network adapter. If you're using an older device, or if your internal Wi-Fi adapter is broken, you can purchase a USB Wi-Fi adapter. If the network is secured with a password, or the administrators have hidden the network name (SSID) from being broadcast, you'll also need to find out that information to get connected. How Connect to a Wi-Fi Network on Windows Select the wireless network icon in the task bar. It either looks like two computers or a set of bars in bottom-right corner of the screen. The wireless symbol is in the top-right corner of the screen on Macs. Select the wireless network you wish to connect with. Select Connect. On Macs and some versions of Windows, you will automatically connect when you click on the network. Enter the security key if the wireless network is encrypted (with WEP, WPA or WPA2). This will be stored for next time, so you'll only have to enter it once. When it says that you're connected, open a web browser and visit a website to confirm that you can access the internet. If you're connecting to a Wi-Fi hotspot, you may be prompted to open your browser to accept the networks' terms and conditions. How to Stay Safe Using Wi-Fi To mitigate the risks of using an unsecured wireless network, make sure you have a firewall installed and turned on before connecting to a public hotspot. You should also have the latest antivirus updates and operating system patches. On Windows, you can assign network location types to automatically set up the appropriate security level. How to Fix Wi-Fi Connection Problems If you have trouble connecting to a Wi-Fi network, there are several things you can check depending on your specific type of issue: If you can't find any wireless networks, make sure you have Wi-Fi enabled.If your wireless signal keeps dropping, you may need to get closer to the access point.If you have a wireless connection but no internet access, then the modem or router may need to be rebooted.If you have forgotten the password to your home network, your wireless security key may be found on the bottom of your router if you didn't change the defaults when setting up your network. Mac users can view forgotten passwords in the Keychain Access app.