Connecting Wireless Computers

Connecting a wireless-enabled computer running Windows 7 to a wireless network is pretty straight forward however; if that doesn’t work you can try the netsh command line tool. Below, you will find the steps required to connect your computer to a wireless network using the netsh wlan command. Alternatively to netsh, you can either open Network and Sharing Center and click Connect to a network or click the network icon on your taskbar at the bottom right section of your screen.

Start by searching for available wireless networks in your surroundings, I am assuming that your home or office wireless network is already setup and your computer’s wireless interface is turned on. In addition, your computer need to have a wireless network profile set in Control Panel\Network and Internet\Manage Wireless Networks. Open a command prompt and type:

netsh wlan show networks

netsh wlan show interfaces

The two commands above establish that there are wireless networks available and the computer wireless interface is up and running. Notice the State value of the interface as disconnected. In the image above, we find two wireless networks where one has an ID (SSID) set as farholme while the other’s hidden. You may come across a number of hidden SSID (Service Set IDentifier) networks which may belong to your neighbors! If for some reason your wireless interface is not functioning correctly or turned off, you will get a similar message to the one found below:

Next, connecting to the wireless network you will need to specify either the network profile name or profile name plus SSID. In this procedure we will be using both as shown below, however, before we issue the connect command, let’s find the profile name by typing:

netsh wlan show profiles

netsh wlan connect name=MyWireless ssid=farholme

Most often, there is one SSID per profile, therefore, you can use just the profile name as shown below:

netsh wlan connect name=MyWireless

Remember, that if you issue a command to connect to a wireless network and your computer is already connected to another wireless network, it disconnects from its current network and connects to the one that you specify. But if you have more than one wireless interface on your computer then you can specify the interface name with your connect or disconnect command. To disconnect type:

netsh wlan disconnect

netsh wlan disconnect interface=”Wireless Network Connection” – if you want to specify the interface

netsh wlan disconnect=* – disconnect from all interfaces

Finally, to check that your wireless-enabled computer has successfully connected to the desired network type:

netsh wlan show interfaces

Note, that both SSID and interface are optional in the steps above, however, if your computer has more than one wireless interface or there are more than one Wireless LAN (SSID) bound with one profile then you need to list them.

The Netsh wlan utility is very powerful and has more options than the one listed above. For a complete list of options available with the netsh wlan command, from the command prompt type:

netsh wlan /?