Windows XP / Networking

I can't find a public network

Before your computer can connect to a public wireless network, your network adapter must associate itself with that network's access point. If the adapter does not automatically join the network, check these configuration settings:

  • Confirm that the TCP/IP settings are configured to accept an IP address from a DHCP server.
  • Run your web browser before you try to use some other Internet client program, such as a mail reader. Most commercial public networks display a login screen through the browser, and they won't make any other connection until you identify yourself to them (and start their billing clock). If your default home page is a blank screen, choose a website from your Favorites or Bookmarks list, or type a URL in the address field. The local login screen will appear before the computer connects you to the site you requested.

The network is slow

Any time a single network segment slows down, the overall performance of the network will suffer. A slow file transfer or download could be caused by an overloaded server or too many people trying to use the network at the same time. Within the wireless segment of the network, slow performance could be caused by high demand for access to the network or interference from other wireless networks and other radio services operating on the same frequency. Signal fading and multipath interference can also cause the wireless network data speed to drop.

To reduce interference, try to shift the access point to a different channel at least five steps away from the original channel. For example, if you are currently using channel 2, try shifting the access point to channel 7. This requires access to the access point's configuration software, so it is normally something that only a network administrator can do.

If you are the manager of a Wi-Fi network that is overloaded because too many users are online at the same time, add more access points that use different channels.

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