Access Wireless Networks with Windows Phone 7

April 20, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Windows Phone 7 offers two key connectivity options for you to enjoy mobile Internet on your phone. The first is the typical mobile internet data plan which will give you the ability, based on your contract, to enjoy email and web browsing anywhere that a suitable mobile band can be received.

The second is wireless internet, which allows you to connect to wireless access points or “hotspots”.

With wireless networking enabled on your Windows Phone 7 device you can considerably improve the speed of your mobile browsing.  Additionally, Wi-Fi can also be used to download larger apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Access wireless networks with Windows Phone 7

Connecting to Wireless Networks with Windows Phone 7

One of the key aspects about Windows Phone 7 and the Metro UI is that Microsoft designed the system to be extremely easy to use. Almost every task in windows phone u can be performed in just a couple of seconds, with as few gestures as possible.

Windows Phone 7 wireless networking can be activated via Settings > WiFi, where you just need to flick the switch to start searching for a wireless network.

You will notice the checkbox marked Notify me when new networks are found – if this is active then Windows Phone 7 will display a notification when network access points are available. This is a useful feature that will make it easy for you to connect to networks when one becomes available. For instance you might be visiting a new town or staying in a hotel, and being informed that wireless networks are available might be useful for business or personal emails.

When a network point becomes available, there are two actions that Windows Phone 7 will perform. If you are in the vicinity of an open network and you have the notification option selected, you have the option of connecting to this network. Without notifications enabled, your phone will automatically connect.

If the wireless network requires an access key, then you will be given the opportunity to enter this. Without the network key you will be unable to access the wireless network. To manually enter the network key, go to Settings > WiFi and tap and hold the listed wireless access point. You will have the option to enter the passcode with the characters displayed or obscured, particularly useful for entering passwords on a mobile device. Remember to obscure the characters again once you have entered the passcode.

Disabling Wireless Networking in Windows Phone 7

There are various situations in which you might need to quickly disconnect from a wireless network in Windows Phone 7. For instance, you might have been browsing the web from an airport departure lounge, and moving onto the airplane requires you to disable WiFi.

There are two ways of doing this. First you can go to Settings > WiFi and switch to Off –this will disable wireless networking but leave other connectivity options available. The second option is Settings > Flight Mode, where you can switch off all data on your phone, even voice.

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