Top Nav

Connect Windows 10 to Wired, Wireless and P2P Networks

One of the many activities we use computers for is accessing and consuming information. Whether that is on the Internet or local networks such as an Intranet. In this article, we take a look at the many options for connecting to Networks, whether it is a peer to peer network, a wireless network or a business network.

Connecting to Networks in Windows 10

Connecting to the Internet: Wireless & Ethernet

There are many ways to connect to the Internet. Using a wireless network is one of the common ways. And most Wi-Fi networks are secured, meaning, you need to have a password in order to join. While some might be open (Are much less secure) and allow anyone to connect to them (like at a Coffee Shop). For secured networks, you’ll need to contact the Network Admin, or at a coffee shop or hotel, the person at the desk will give you a password.

wireless networks - Copy

A secure network can be easily identified by a shield emblem on the wireless signal which is also used to indicate its strength. The stronger the signal identified by brighter radio wave bars, the better, fewer bars mean a weaker signal. Once you identify a network you can connect to, just select Connect, and enter a password if needed.

Weak or Strong

Note: Before connecting, make sure your wireless adapter is turned on. This is normally represented by a radio icon. Some computers will require a keyboard command normally the function key and an embedded key to enable it, or a simple dedicated wireless button.

Network status

Windows 10 networking status icons, and what they mean

Manage Networks

Related Article:  Microsoft’s Third Cumulative Update for Windows 10 (KB3081438)

Depending on the type of network you are connecting to, you might want to manage it. For instance, if you are connecting to mobile broadband, such as a cellular connection shared as a Wi-Fi, you might want to set it as Metered. Setting as Metered will ensure that an allotted data plan is not used up immediately. For instance, some network carriers will allow a certain amount of data per month, 2, 3 or 5 GBs. If you are not careful you can use it up in no time. Setting it as Metered will let Windows 10 disable downloading Windows Updates or app updates which can be quite large. To do that, click Start > Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi > Advanced Options > enable the Set as Metered connection on/off switch.

set as metered

You should also control which background apps have access to data, this I discovered can also considerably use up your data. Windows 10 by default runs a lot of apps in the background that sip data, especially notifications used by Action Center. Select Settings > Privacy > Background Apps. Turn off any app you don’t want running in the background. This will reduce data usage considerably. For more about that, make sure to read our article: How to Limit Windows 10 Data Over a Metered Connection.

Peer to Peer (P2P) Networks

If you want to setup a P2P network between two or more machines, Windows 10 makes it easy. Setting up a P2P network makes it possible to share data with other PCs, or even a printer via the Internet. In this case, I am using a CAT5 (Ethernet) connection between two computers. To ensure both machines can see each other, all you need to do is ensure both machines are in the same Workgroup. To do that:

Related Article:  Why Everyone Needs Protection Against Malware

Press Windows key+X to bring up the hidden quick access menu, and select System then the Change button. Enter your workgroup name. Repeat the same step on all the computers you intend to network together. Restart when prompted. Make sure both machines are connected.

Computer name

Launch File Explorer on the Taskbar and click Network. You should see the other computer(s) appear in Network Explorer. If not, you’ll be prompted to Turn on network discovery and file sharing. Depending on the type of network you are connected to, click the appropriate option. Press F5 on your keyboard or the refresh button in the Address bar for the window to populate with available computers and resources.


To access resources on another computer, simply double-click it. You might be prompted to enter credentials to access the resources of that computer.

Network Connect 3

Once you have authenticated, you should see all the resources available on that computer. In this case, I have a shared folder called Documents available which I can browse.

resources network

Connecting to a Business Network: Domains

A Domain based network provides centralized administration of an entire network from a single computer called a server. Domains provide single user log on from any networked computer within the network perimeter. Users are able to access resources for which they have appropriate permission. For more, read our article: How to Join a Windows 10 PC to a Domain.


Check out the next page for Troubleshooting Windows 10 Networking Issues

More Reading:


4 Responses to Connect Windows 10 to Wired, Wireless and P2P Networks

  1. Thomas September 17, 2015 at 6:47 am #

    Exactly what do you mean by ” I am using a CAT5 (Ethernet) connection between two computers.”

  2. John September 19, 2015 at 7:45 am #

    Cat 5 generally refers to a type of cable used in networking; “category 5” indicates a specific characteristic relating to the speed of data transfer, and electrical characteristics of the physical wire. That being said, I would hardly consider a cat5 connection between 2 computers as an “internet” connection. Peer to peer yes, but more of an “INTRAnet”. If you have a wifi router, in my humble opinion, you can do just as well setting up your home group through it.

  3. Thomas September 19, 2015 at 2:15 pm #

    John, you explained a CAT5 cable but you didn’t explain to what the cable(s) is attached. Is the cable connected between two computers? Router to each computer?

  4. Rakesh October 6, 2016 at 7:15 am #

    i have purchased Dell all in one and facing network issues, but thanks now i feel i can make my local peer networks with help your article. Thanks

Leave a Reply