From the Kenosha News on 9-30-07

Getting connected to wireless in Windows Vista is different but easy

      When a new operating system comes out, it’s logical to think that some things should be easier than in previous versions.  In Windows Vista, getting connected to a wireless network is as easy or easier than before but considerably different than in Windows XP. 

      If your laptop has wireless, it will have a network icon in the systray at the lower right of the screen.  The network icon looks like two small computers – one behind the other.  Right-click on this icon and select Connect to a Network.  You will then see a list of available networks.  By positioning your mouse pointer over any of them, you’ll see their characteristics, including whether they are secure or unsecure, 802.11b or 802.11g, the signal strength, and the SSID.  Select the one you want and click on the Connect button.  If you are already connected to a network, it will show that item as Connected, and a Disconnect button will appear.

      If you have set up a home network with your own wireless router, you may have set that router not to broadcast its SSID to help keep out unwanted users.  This and other setup tips were provided in my article from 9-24-06.  (See http://sabbarpublications.com/newsarchive.html and click on the article date.)  In this case, you will not see your wireless signal listed here since it is not broadcasting.  You must follow the steps below in order to setup your Vista laptop for a non-broadcasting network:

  1. Click the Windows button, and click on Connect To (That gives the same screen as right-clicking on the icon in the systray)
  2. Click on the link labeled “Set up a connection or network”
  3. Click “Manually connect to a wireless network”, then click the Next button.
  4. Enter the SSID of your network.  This needs to match exactly.
  5. Select the security type, which may well be “No authentication” unless you have set up some type of login or encryption key.
  6. Check the two boxes labeled “Start this connection automatically” and “Connect even if the network is not broadcasting.”  Click the Next button.

      Note that on the screen you see above, you will only see networks that are defined AND have a signal you could connect to at this time.  You may actually have defined other networks in your system already.  To see those, click on the link to “Open Network and Sharing Center.”   Click on the “Manage wireless networks” link in the left (blue) section.  From here you can add new networks or remove existing connections that you no longer use.  To remove a connection, click on it.  Then click on the “- Remove” icon in the toolbar just above the list.  You can also change the preferred order of the connections by clicking on one and then clicking Move Up or Move Down from the toolbar.  Finally, you can change the properties of a network by double-clicking on it.  For further instructions, Help is available by clicking on the round, blue question mark to the right of the toolbar.

by Carol Sabbar from the Kenosha News on 9-30-07