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Connect to an available wireless network

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

To connect to an available wireless network

  1. Right-click the wireless network connection icon in the notification area, and then click View Available Wireless Networks. For more information, see Notes.

  2. Click on the wireless network that you want to connect to, and then click Connect.

  3. To configure additional wireless network settings, or if you are having difficulty making a connection to the wireless network that you selected, under Related Tasks, click Change the order of preferred networks, and then configure the settings in the Wireless Networks tab. For more information, see Notes.


  • It is highly recommended that you use 802.1X authentication whenever you connect to an 802.11 wireless network. 802.1X is an IEEE standard that enhances security and deployment by providing support for centralized user identification, authentication, dynamic key management, and accounting. For more information, see Related Topics.

  • For enhanced security, in Windows XP Service Pack 1 and in the Windows Server 2003 family, 802.1X authentication is available only for access point (infrastructure) networks that require the use of a network key (WEP). WEP provides data confidentiality by encrypting the data that is sent between wireless clients and wireless access points. For additional information about security for wireless networks, see Related Topics.

  • If you attempt to connect to a computer-to-computer network or an access point network that does not require the use of a network key, the settings in the Authentication tab are not available, and you cannot configure 802.1X authentication for the connection.


  • Performing this task does not require you to have administrative credentials. Therefore, as a security best practice, consider performing this task as a user without administrative credentials.

  • tok:wirelessicon

  • When an error is detected that might limit or prevent a connection to a wireless network, the wireless warning icon is displayed in the notification area.

  • To open Network Connections, click Start, click Control Panel, and then double-click Network Connections.

  • On the Wireless Networks tab, you can view and modify additional wireless configuration settings. However, this tab appears only if you are using a wireless network adapter that supports the Wireless Configuration service. For more information, see Related Topics.

  • You must type a network key in hexadecimal or ASCII format. If you use hexadecimal format, specify a key that is 10 or 26 characters in length. If you use ASCII format, specify a key that is 5 or 13 characters in length.

Information about functional differences

  • Your server might function differently based on the version and edition of the operating system that is installed, your account permissions, and your menu settings. For more information, see Viewing Help on the Web.

See Also

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