If you have a laptop, you can see a list of available wireless networks, and then connect to one of those networks, no matter where you are. The wireless networks appear only if your computer has a wireless network adapter and driver installed and the adapter is enabled.

Watch this video to learn how to view and connect to available wireless networks (0.36)

To view and connect to available wireless networks

  1. Open Connect to a Network by clicking the network icon (Picture of the wireless network icon or Picture of the wired network icon) in the notification area.

  2. In the list of available wireless networks, click a network, and then click Connect.

    Some networks require a network security key or passphrase. To connect to one of those networks, ask your network administrator or Internet service provider (ISP) for the security key or passphrase.

Warning

  • Whenever possible, you should connect to security-enabled wireless networks. If you do connect to a network that's not secure, be aware that someone with the right tools can see everything that you do, including the websites you visit, the documents you work on, and the user names and passwords that you use. Changing your network location to Public can help minimize the risk. For more information, see Choosing a network location and How do I know if a wireless network is secure?

If you'd like to set up your own wireless network, see Start here to set up a home network in Windows 7.