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How to connect your PC to any WiFi network

Can’t get online? Your computer might be having problems. Here are the steps to connect your computer to any wireless network

 

Although connecting to the internet should not be difficult, it is possible to connect to Wi-Fi using the wrong hardware. A desktop computer can connect via Wi-Fi. However, if the PC doesn’t have Wi-Fi cards installed, Wi-Fi support will be required.

This article will show you how to connect a computer to Wi-Fi.

How to connect your computer to Wi-Fi

Can a desktop computer connect with Wi-Fi? With the right hardware, yes. Wi-Fi can be used to connect to your local network if you are unable to use an Ethernet cable. Although Wi-Fi is slower than Ethernet, it is becoming faster and more suitable for streaming video, online gaming and downloading.

You can connect to a local wireless internet network if your computer has the appropriate wireless networking hardware.

How to connect Windows to Wi-Fi

To connect a Windows desktop to Wi-Fi:

  1. Click on the Notification button or click Windows + A
  2. Click Network
  3. Enable Wi Fi
  4. Wait until the networks nearby are polled, and then list them
  5. Choose the network to which you want to connect
  6. When prompted, enter your password

Now your connection should be complete. Make sure you only connect to secure networks. A VPN is recommended if this is impossible or you are unsure about the network’s security.

Connect Linux PC to Wi Fi

Connect a Linux desktop with a Wi-Fi network

  1. Look for the Wi-Fi icon on the panel
  2. Right-click to select your network
  3. When prompted, enter your password

You can do this in your terminal as well. Check the SSID (networkname) of the network to which you want to connect.

sudo Iwlist wlan0

Next, open wpa_supplicant.conf.

sudo nano /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

To add the SSID or PASSWORD to the file, edit the file.

ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev update_config=1 country=US network= ssid=”SSID” psk=”PASSWORD” key_mgmt=WPA-PSK

To save and exit, press CTRL+X. Then press Y. The wireless network should be detected shortly thereafter and the computer connected.

Learn how to improve your Wi-Fi signal strength from your router.

 

How do I use a Mac? Our Wi-Fi solutions guide for macOS is available.

What if there is no Wi-Fi? How to add a wireless adapter to your computer

It’s a good idea if you can’t connect with any wireless network. You can do this by running a system update. Hardware that does not have drivers will be highlighted.

What happens if the hardware on your desktop computer isn’t working? You will need a wireless adapter if a cabled (Ethernet), connection is not an option. There are three options:

  • Connect a USB Wi Fi dongle
  • Install a Wi-Fi card
  • Make use of a motherboard that has Wi-Fi onboard

We’ll be looking at each of these options individually in the following.

 

1. Connect a USB Wi Fi Dongle

A USB Wi-Fi adapter is the best way to connect your computer to a wireless network.

These dongles, which are affordable and small, are easy to use. Just insert the dongle in your computer’s USB port and then install the drivers. Reboot. Once the computer is up and running, the dongle will detect local wireless networks. Follow the steps above to connect to your preferred network.

There are many USB Wi-Fi dongles available. This TPLink USB WiFi Adapter is a great starting point.

2. How to Install a Wi Fi Card on a PC

Are you short on USB ports or looking for a permanent solution? You could install a USB hub on your computer, but you may prefer to use a wireless network card. It involves turning off your computer, opening the case and identifying the correct slot. Then, you will need to insert the card.

 

On current motherboards, there are two types of internal WiFi cards: m.2 and PCI.

How to Install a PCIe Wi-Fi card

Apart from USB, the best way to add wireless networking functionality to a desktop PC using a PCI Express (an upgrade of the legacy PCI Interface) card. A rectangular printed circuit board (PCB), usually equipped with an antenna detachable, is this type of card. There are many versions of PCI-e, but most Wi-Fi cards use PCI-ex1. This is the smallest PCIe port.

Open the case to identify the slot for a PCI e card to add Wi Fi to your computer. This is how a PCI-e card slot looks like:

Image Credit: Hans Haase/ Wikipedia

To insert a suitable card:

  1. Take off the expansion plate at the back of your case
  2. Place the card in the slot and align it with the PCIe slot on your motherboard.
  3. Attach the PCI-e Wi Fi card to your case and secure it
  4. Attach the antenna to the case and replace the cover
  5. Start your computer and then install the device driver

Do you need a PCIe Wi-Fi card The TP-Link AC1200 is an excellent option.

How to Install an M.2 Wi Fi Card

Modern motherboards have an M.2 slot for Wi Fi (as well one for extra storage). Your computer’s motherboard may have an M.2 slot. This means that it may already have a Wi-Fi card, which could be defective.

 

You should not confuse M.2 slots with MiniPCI Express, MiniPCI Express or mSATA. These have all been used in the past to interface Wi-Fi cards, but M.2 is currently the preferred interface.

Image Credit: smial/ Wikipedia

M.2 cards can be installed easily. The slot has a spring-loaded mechanism, and the motherboard has a screw hole that allows you to attach the card. Simply:

  1. Place the card at 45°.
  2. Push the card towards your motherboard
  3. Secure the card using a screw
  4. If included, attach the antenna
  5. Cover your computer with a new cover
  6. Start the computer and then install the drivers

Are you looking for a compatible M.2 motherboard Wi-Fi card The OKN WLAN 6 AX200 is a good choice.

RELATED: How to Install an M.2 SSD card

3. Make use of a Motherboard with On-board Wi Fi

Switching to a motherboard that supports wireless networking is the final option to add Wi-Fi functionality to your desktop. This is a drastic solution that requires you to take out your entire computer and find a compatible motherboard. Other hardware, including the RAM and CPU, will need to be upgraded in most cases.

This is a costly solution. It’s much easier to install a USB or PCI Wi-Fi card.

 

Now you can connect your PC to Wi Fi

This stage should provide all information necessary to connect your computer with a Wi-Fi network. A USB dongle is the best way to get online quickly, but it’s possible that you prefer an internal PCIe-e or M.2 cards which are more permanent.

No matter what the problem, once wireless networking has been added to your desktop you will be able connect to any local network. Are you still having problems? Take a look at where you have placed your Wi-Fi router.

Image Credit to Alienware/

 

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