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. Most Wi-Fi networks are secured, meaning you need to have a password to join. Some networks might be unsecured (open) and allow anyone to connect to them (like at a Coffee Shop.) But for secured networks, you’ll need to contact the Network Admin, or at a coffee shop or hotel, the person at the desk – to give you a password.
You can quickly identify a secure network by a shield emblem on the wireless signal which is also used to indicate its strength. The stronger the signal (defined 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.
Here are some Windows 10 networking status icons and their meaning:
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 choose to set it as Metered. Setting as Metered will ensure that an allotted data plan does not get 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.
You should also control which background apps have access to your data. I discovered that these could also use up a significant amount of 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 action 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:
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.
Launch File Explorer on the Taskbar and click Network. You should see the other computer(s) appear in Network Explorer. If not, you’ll get prompted to Turn on network discovery and file sharing. Depending on the type of network connection, 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.
Once you have authenticated, you should see all the resources available. In this case, I have a shared folder available called Documents which I can browse.
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 login from any networked computer. Users can access resources for which they have 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