How to Connect Your Android Device to Wi-Fi

Connecting to Wi-Fi on Android

Wi-Fi Setup
Photo © Russell Ware

When you get a new Android smartphone, one of the first things you will likely want to do is connect to your home or office Wi-Fi network. Android makes this process fairly simple, but there are still a few things worth remembering to ensure you get the best connection. This guide explains the process of finding and connecting to a Wi-Fi network using an Android phone running version 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean).

Find the Network SSID and Password

wifi setup 1
Photo © Russell Ware

Before you can connect to a Wi-Fi network, you will need to know the name of the network (the SSID) you want to connect to and the password that secures it, if there is one. You can usually find the default SSID and password or network key printed on the bottom of the Wireless Router.

Scan for a Wi-Fi Network

wifi setup 2
Photo © Russell Ware

1. Tap the Menu button whilst viewing the home screen of your Android phone and select the Settings option. Your phone might also have a shortcut to the settings on the home screen.

2. When you are in the settings menu, look for the Wi-Fi option. In many cases, there will be a switch here to toggle Wi-Fi on and off. If not, tap the Wi-Fi option first and then turn Wi-Fi on.

3. The phone will scan for available Wi-Fi networks within range, and display them as a list. This is where you will need your SSID details, as the networks are often labelled as just a series of numbers and letters.

Connecting to a Network

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Photo © Russell Ware

1. The phone will almost certainly detect several networks within range. Secured networks (those which require a password to access) will be displayed with a padlock symbol next to them.

2. Estimated network signal strength will also be shown alongside the Wi-Fi network name. The more lines this Wi-Fi icon has, the stronger the network signal.

3. Tap the name of the Wi-Fi network you wish to connect to. If this is an unsecured network, a small window will open showing some details, with buttons to connect or cancel. If the network is secured, the window will prompt you to enter the password.

4. Type in your password and tap Connect. If you entered the password correctly, the box will close and you should see the words 'Obtaining IP Address' or 'Connected' beneath the SSID. Once connected, you should also see a small Wi-Fi icon appear in the status bar at the top of the screen.

Connecting With WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup)

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Photo © Russell Ware

WPS or Wi-Fi Protected Setup is a fairly secure way of connecting to a Wi-Fi network without having to enter a long, convoluted password. Although not as secure as a WPA or WPA2 connection, it is still a feature on most home Wi-Fi routers.

If you have chosen to connect to your Wi-Fi network using WPS, your Android phone has the option to allow this. Most phones have the option to connect using the WPS Push and WPS PIN method.

To find these options, you will normally need to enter the Wi-Fi connection screen on your phone, tap the menu button and select the WPS option you want to use from the menu that appears. You will need to turn Wi-Fi on before you can select an option.

Checking Your Wi-Fi Connection

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Photo © Russell Ware

Any time your phone has an open Wi-Fi connection, you can check to see signal strength, link speed (how fast data is transferred), which security type is being used and the IP address.

To do this, open the settings from the home screen, tap 'Wi-Fi' and look for the SSID of the network you are connected to. Tap the SSID and a box will open which displays all of the information about the Wi-Fi connection.

Open Network Notifications

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Photo © Russell

When you move out of range of your home or office Wi-Fi network, the connection to it will be lost. However, many bars, restaurants and other public places offer free Wi-Fi and allow anyone to connect to their network.

If you want to be notified on your phone when you are in range of an open network, turn on the network notification option in the Wi-Fi settings menu (often under Advanced settings). As long as Wi-Fi is turned on (even if not connected), you will now be notified each time your smartphone detects the signal of an open network you can connect to.