First of all Let's look at how you would connect your laptop via Ethernet, as it is the easier of the two methods.

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1 How to get a Internet Connection on your laptop This guide will help you to get an internet connection on your laptop either via Wi-Fi (e.g. in a café or hotel) or via Ethernet (the RJ45 type connector on the back of your laptop). Get Connected First of all Let's look at how you would connect your laptop via Ethernet, as it is the easier of the two methods. At the back of your laptop is a connector that looks like this: Plug a Ethernet cable from your laptop to the network box on the wall it will look like a large telephone socket, but if in doubt, ask!! Page 1 of 17

2 You should be able to see a little amber LED light flashing above the connector on the laptop. This flashing means that the laptop can see a network - this is good news. Once you have connected the cable, you need to power up your laptop and check that you have got a connection. To do this you need to go to Network Connections in the Control Panel - go to Start > Settings > Control Panel > Network Connections. Network Connections shows you all the possible ways of connecting to a network. They fall into 2 main categories Dial Up (via a modem) and LAN (via wi-fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth or Firewire). We are interested in the Ethernet Local Area Connection. In our example above there are two Local Area Connections one is the Ethernet, the other is Bluetooth. If you hover over them Windows will tell you which is which. Page 2 of 17

3 The icons tell you which connection is actually connected: Connected Not Connected If your icon is showing you that you are not connected, and there is no flashing amber light on the connector on your laptop, then either the network point is not working, or your laptop s Ethernet connection is not working. Let s presume you have been told that the network point on the wall is OK, so the problem must be with your laptop s Ethernet connector. Being a laptop, it tries to do everything it can to save power one of the things it can do is to turn off the Ethernet connector (or Port as its known). This is especially true if you are working off batteries. Note: The default when you are mains powered is for the Ethernet Port to be ON. The default when you are on battery power is for the Ethernet Port to be OFF. To check that it is working, carry out the following... Go to Network Connections and Right-Click on Local Area Connection. Select Properties. Page 3 of 17

4 You should now see a window like this. This box tells you the name of the Ethernet card in your laptop it is probably called a Broadcom Integrated Controller. Click on Configure to configure the Ethernet card. This window should appear. Click on the Power Management tab. Make sure that the Allow the computer to turn off this device radio button is NOT ticked. If it is, then un-tick it, and re-boot your computer. This should make the Ethernet port active, and you should be able to get a connection. Still no Internet? You should be able to get a connection by using the above, but you may need to check the settings to actually get onto the internet. The thing to check now is the TCP/IP settings. These are the settings that control how your laptop talks to the network if you set this up wrong then you won t be able to access the internet. Page 4 of 17

5 Go to Network Connections (Start > Settings > Control Panel > Network Connections) and Right-Click on the Ethernet Local Area Connection. Select Properties. You should now see a window like this. Scroll down to Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and then double-click on it (or select Properties). The following box should appear: Page 5 of 17

6 The General tab is where you configure the connection. What you enter here depends on the type of network you are trying to connect to. For example, you may be in a hotel, and their network may require you to have Obtain an IP address automatically selected. Or, they may give you some specific IP address numbers that you will need to set up here. If this is the case, make sure that you correctly enter all the information that they give you into the relevant boxes. If you don t, you won t be able to get onto their network! When you have set it up as required, click on OK. You should now be connected to the internet! Fire up internet Explorer and see if you can find Google or bbc.co.uk. Important Connecting to a network makes your laptop vulnerable to viruses and other nasties on the internet. To protect your laptop, it has been fitted with a Firewall. A Firewall is a virtual barrier that stops others from trying to gain access to your PC via the internet. Therefore you must ensure that Norton Firewall is activated. Look for a globe logo in the bottom right hand side of the taskbar, then hold your mouse arrow over the icon - a message should tell you that Firewall is enabled. Network Information Page 6 of 17 Networks can be complicated things, so let s have a quick overview of how they work. When you connect your laptop to a network, that network needs to know who you are so that it can direct your data to and from the internet. It does this by assigning you a number this is called an IP address. IP stands for Internet Protocol. When you type in a web site address into Internet Explorer, your request goes down the cable (or wi-fi) to a router. This router links lots of computers in one area to a main connection to the internet. This local connection is known as a Local Area Network or LAN.

7 The router you are connected to can either give you a number automatically, or it can want you to give it a specific number. The most common use is for the network to give out its IP numbers (known as addresses) automatically. If you have to enter an IP address manually, then you will also need to know the Subnet Mask and Default Gateway. Don t worry about what these mean, but be sure to enter the information correctly into the TCP/IP settings window. Your internet request is unique to your PC, and so the router has to make sure that the answer to your request gets back to the correct person asking the question. Hence the unique IP address it has given you. Without it, the router would not know who is asking what, and it would just never work. That s basically it. If you re given an IP address then make sure you know the Subnet Mask and Default gateway as well. You may also need to enter the DNS Server information. Wireless networks need even more information to connect to them, and we will cover that next. Page 7 of 17

8 Connecting to Wi-Fi Connecting to a wireless network (wi-fi) is a lot like connecting to a wired network. The aim is to first establish a connection between your laptop and the wireless router. Once this has been established, you need to check the TCP/IP settings for the wireless connection, to make sure that your laptop and the network are talking the same language. Windows or PROSet? There are two ways of connecting to a wireless network: via Windows Network Configuration (like we just did with the Ethernet connection) or via software that came with the actual wireless card in your PC probably called Intel PROSet. The configuration is very similar between the two programs, but many people believe that Intel PROset is better at establishing a connection and keeping it. It doesn t really matter which you use, but Windows will only let you use one at a time so if Intel PROset is controlling the wireless card then the Windows Wireless Network Connection will not be allowed to take over. You have to specifically tell one or other of the programs that you want to take control. Wireless Networks Found Let s presume that we are going to use Intel PROset to configure our wi-fi. When you boot up your laptop, PROset will alert you if it can find a wireless network in the area: Do as it says and double-click on the balloon. Page 8 of 17

9 It will bring up this screen: This screen tells you lots about the sort of connection it has found. Type of network (wireless) Wi-Fi mode (a, b, g or n) Signal Strength Security enabled? Network name The main thing to note here is that this network is security enabled, and we will need to know the code (known as a key ) if we want to connect. There are two popular types of security on wireless networks WEP and WPA. Page 9 of 17

10 WEP is the older of the two, and requires a hexadecimal key e.g. 204f485b2f. WEP codes can vary in length you can have 64bit, 128bit and 256bit codes. The more bits the longer the code, the more difficult to hack into, the more secure!! WPA codes use normal letters, so you can remember them more easily!! WPA also has stronger encryption, so is more secure. So, we can see a network, we know its secure, so lets click on Configure. It brings up this screen: Here you are being asked to give this connection a profile name. Type in a name, or use the default, and click on Next Then... Page 10 of 17

11 This is where you enter the security key that you should have been given. It may be hexadecimal, or normal type (depending on whether its WEP or WPA). Make sure you enter it correctly. That s it you should now be connected! Check that the Intel PROset icon in the System Tray shows that you are connected: Connected but no internet? Just like connecting via Ethernet, you may well be connected to a network, but you need to check that you are talking the same language. As before, go to Network Connections (Start > Settings > Control Panel > Network Connections) but this time Right-Click on the Wireless Network Connection. Select Properties. Page 11 of 17

12 Note: Even though we are controlling this network via the Intel PROset program, this is the place that you change the TCP/IP settings. Just as before, scroll down to TCP/IP, select Properties and check the IP Address settings. Check Obtain an IP address automatically or manually enter IP address numbers you have been given. You should now be connected. Fire up Internet Explorer and see if you can get to Google or bbc.co.uk. Hints and Tips The first time your laptop sees a network, Norton Firewall may throw up the following message: Page 12 of 17

13 The idea behind this is for people who need different Firewall settings when at home or in the office. Just select Office from the list. If you want to check your connection status to the network, go to Network Connections and double-click on the connection icon. You will then see this: The General tab tells you that you are connected, and at what speed. The Support tab will tell you your IP address. Note: This speed is the speed between you and the router. It is not the speed between you and the internet that will be a lot slower. has a speed checker that will tell you the actual internet speed. There may be occasions where you have to manually enter the network name (known as SSID) of the wireless network you are trying to connect to. This may be because the wireless network is hiding its name for security. If this is the case, find out what the SSID (network name) is, and if there is any encryption (security key) on it. Page 13 of 17

14 Armed with this info right-click on the Intel PROset icon in the System Tray. Click on Open Intel PROset/Wireless This should launch the main PROset application: Here you can see... Profiles you have created Wireless networks available in your area, or ones that you are already connected to. Page 14 of 17

15 Click on Add in the Profiles section. You can now add in the details of the network you are trying to connect to. In this example we are at the Marriott Hotel in Brussels, so have given this profile that name. The hotel tell me that their network name (SSID) is called PJ149DFG, so type that in the relevant box and then hit Next... Page 15 of 17

16 This is where you enter the security details. Our network has 128bit WEP encryption, so that s what I ve selected here. Click on OK and you should be connected. The Radio Switch is a basic way of turning your laptops wireless card on or off. If you cannot connect to a wireless network, then the Radio Switch may be turned off. Radio Switch control Page 16 of 17

17 On some laptops you can turn it on and off by pressing a function key e.g. on the Dell XPS the ON/OFF button is on Function + F2. The icon looks like a radio transmitter. Rob Kennedy March 2006 Page 17 of 17

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