How to Tell If I Have Wireless Internet


Wireless Internet connections let you connect without any wires. Wireless connections require a wireless device, such as a router or wireless card. In public places, Wi-Fi connections are often available, but you must have wireless Internet capabilities to take advantage of it. You can check if you have wireless Internet in one of two ways. Neither requires any extra tools or software.

  • Go to "Start" or the start icon in the taskbar.

  • Right click "Computer" and choose "Manage."

  • Select "Device Manager."

  • Expand "Network Adapters." If you have a network adapter that states "wireless" or "802.11," you have a wireless network adapter installed.

  • Check to see if wireless connections are available in your area. If so, you can check if you have wireless Internet capabilities by trying to connect to the wireless connection. If you're in a public place, ask an employee or another person if Wi-Fi is available or check for signs.

  • Click the network icon in the notification tray. The icon appears as a set of signal bars, like with a cell phone, or as a computer monitor with an Ethernet cable. If you don't see the icon, press the arrow icon at the far left of the notification tray to view additional icons.

  • Select an available wireless network and press "Connect." Press the small refresh button in the top right hand corner to refresh the list at any time. If prompted, enter a password. Many wireless networks require you to enter a password to access it. These still appear in your list, but are listed as secure networks.

    If you don't see any connections available and you know wireless is available, then your computer doesn't have wireless Internet capabilities.

Tips & Warnings

  • The wireless network card or adapter does not have to be internal. Many users have external USB wireless adapters, including wireless broadband adapters.
  • Even if you have wireless capabilities, you may not be able to connect to secured networks. Without the proper password, these networks are unavailable.

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