Almost every computer today has a built-in WiFi antenna, officially known as 802.11 (WiFi) wireless networking technology. WiFi can communicate with a wireless base station up to 300 feet away, much like a cordless phone. Doing so lets you surf the Web from your laptop in a hotel room, for example, or share files with someone across the building from you.
Chapter 25 has much more information about setting up a WiFi network. The real fun begins, however, when it comes time to join one.
Sometimes you just want to join a friend’s WiFi network. Sometimes you’ve got time to kill in an airport, and it’s worth a $7 splurge for half an hour. And sometimes, at some street corners in big cities, WiFi signals bleeding out of apartment buildings might give you a choice of several free hotspots to join.
If you’re in a new place, and Windows discovers, on its own, that you’re in a WiFi hotspot, then the icon sprouts an asterisk. And where is the icon? It’s in two places:
On the taskbar (Figure 13-1, top left).
On the Settings pane of the Charms bar. (In other words, open the Charms bar and select Settings.)
Figure 13-1 shows you how to proceed. Along the way, you’ll be offered the “Connect automatically” checkbox; if you turn it on, you’ll spare yourself all this clicking ...