How to Use WiFi on Ubuntu


Ubuntu is a free, open source operating system based on Linux and designed to work with a wide range of desktop and laptop computers. Wi-Fi is a wireless network protocol used in many homes and businesses. Ubuntu is designed to be an easy to install, full-featured operating system that is able to detect and use many wireless hardware solutions from built in wireless cards found in many laptops to user-added USB dongles.

  • Turn the wireless hardware switch to the ON position on the computer, if it has one. Many laptops have an ON/OFF switch marked with a small antenna that turns the Wi-Fi module in the computer on and off. If the computer uses an external USB Wi-Fi dongle plug it in. Start up the computer. Ubuntu should automatically find and install the necessary drivers for most Wi-Fi modules.

  • Left click on the Network Indicator applet, located in the right-hand corner of the top panel, and ensure that both "Enable Networking" and "Enable Wireless" have check marks next to them in the drop-down list.

  • Select your wireless network from the list or if it is not shown select "More Networks" to see all the available networks. Select "Connect to Hidden Wireless Network" from the list to connect to a hidden network. The Network Indicator applet will change to show that it is attempting to connect to a network, and will display the network strength once it has connected.

  • Open the Network Connections application by opening the "Main Menu," then selecting "System," then "Preferences," then "Network Connections." Edit the information Ubuntu stores about wireless networks, such as passwords and auto connection settings, in the "Network Connections" by clicking the "Wireless" tab to open the wireless network settings. Select a previously used Wi-Fi network to edit or delete the information about that network on the computer, or select "Add" to add another wireless network.

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