Windows 7 Networking Tips for Small Businesses

Wednesday Nov 4th 2009 by Eric Geier
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A look at how to use Windows 7’s HomeGroup networking feature, how to manage Wi-Fi connections, file sharing and more.

It always takes time to learn the ins and outs of a new operating system, and Windows 7 is no exception. Eric Geier at Wi-FiPlanet offers a few pointers on the software’s new and improved networking features.

 


Besides the interface changes everyone's spotting in Windows 7, another big change can be found in the networking features. The network icon in the system tray offers more functionality, making it quicker and easier to connect to Wi-Fi networks. The Network and Sharing Center that debuted in Windows Vista has been streamlined. Plus, you'll find a completely new feature, called HomeGroup.

Managing Wi-Fi Connections Via the Network Icon

In both Windows XP and Vista, you had to click the network icon in the system tray and select a shortcut to bring up the list of available wireless networks—taking four clicks to initiate a connection. However, Microsoft has made it a bit easier to view and connect to Wi-Fi networks in Windows 7.

Simply click on the network icon to see a list of nearby networks right away—this reduces the amount of clicks to make a connection.

Figure 1 shows an example of the new window that pops up after clicking the network icon. The detected networks are shown along with a signal indicator and any alerts, such as for unsecured networks.

When you hover over the networks, you'll see two additional pieces of information: the encryption type (such as WEP or WPA) and the Wi-Fi standard (such as 802.11g or 802.11n).

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