Vista Hands On #10: Manage wireless networks

Summary:I’m traveling this week with a year-old Tablet PC running a fresh copy of Windows Vista Business, so it’s a good time to focus on some of Vista’s mobility features. In today's Vista Hands On installment, I discuss Vista’s tools for managing wireless connections.

I’m traveling this week with a year-old Tablet PC running a fresh copy of Windows Vista Business, so it’s a good time to focus on some of Vista’s mobility features. The hotel where I’m staying offers free wireless access, which has given me a chance to rediscover Vista’s tools for managing wireless connections.

As with anything network-related, the starting point is the Network and Sharing Center, which you reach in either of two ways:

  • Click Start, Network, and then click Network and Sharing Center in the Command Bar.
  • Or click the network connection icon in the notification area at the right side of the taskbar. If I wanted to connect to a network that was already set up or had been auto-discovered, I could choose Connect or disconnect. But in this case
I want to manage network connections, so instead I click Network and Sharing Center.

Vho1000-network-center

In the left pane of the Network and Sharing Center is a Manage Wireless Networks link. Clicking it leads to this dialog box:

Vho1001-wireless-networks

This list contains every wireless network that I’ve connected to and then saved. Using the command bar, I can add a new connection, remove an existing one, or change the order of connections by dragging them up or down in the list. I can also right-click any connection to change its settings. This is especially useful when setting up connections to access points that don't broadcast their SSID, or for changing a connection so that it no longer automatically becomes active when the notebook comes within range.

Vho1002-change-network

When I return, I’ll remove this network from the list and verify that only my local networks are in the list. If I planned to return to this site, I might leave it on the list but move it down in priority.

Topics: Networking

About

Ed Bott is an award-winning technology writer with more than two decades' experience writing for mainstream media outlets and online publications. He has served as editor of the U.S. edition of PC Computing and managing editor of PC World; both publications had monthly paid circulation in excess of 1 million during his tenure. He is the a... Full Bio

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