Network Administration: Wireless Networks and Windows XP - dummies

Network Administration: Wireless Networks and Windows XP

Windows XP also has some nice built-in features that simplify the task of using a wireless network. For example, when your computer comes within range of a wireless network, a pop-up balloon appears in the taskbar, indicating that a network is available.

If one of your preferred networks is within range, clicking the balloon automatically connects you to that network. If Windows XP doesn’t recognize any of the networks, clicking the balloon displays the dialog box. With this dialog box, you can choose the network that you want to join (if more than one network is listed) and then click Connect to join the selected network.


After you’ve joined a wireless network, a network status icon appears in the notification area of the taskbar. You can quickly see the network status by hovering the mouse cursor over this icon; a balloon appears to indicate the state of the connection. For more detailed information, you can click the status icon to display the Wireless Network Connection Status dialog box.


This dialog box provides the following items of information:

  • Status: Indicates whether you are connected.

  • Duration: Indicates how long you’ve been connected.

  • Speed: Indicates the current network speed. Ideally, this should say 11 Mbps for an 802.11b network, or 54 Mbps for an 802.11a or 802.11g network. However, if the network connection is not of the highest quality, the speed may drop to a lower value.

  • Signal Strength: Displays a graphic representation of the quality of the signal.

  • Packets Sent & Received: Indicates how many packets of data you’ve sent and received over the network.

You can click the Properties button to bring up the Connection Properties dialog box for the wireless connection.