Wireless connection question

My new laptop came with a ‘Country Kit/AirPort Extreme 065-5376’ installed. When I was at a local coffee house (without my computer) I saw two people using laptops. I asked a server if they had a wireless system, and she said they did. She also said there is no charge to use it.

So I assume I can take my laptop there and connect to the Internet. But how? AirPort is on, but is not connected. (Obviously, since I don’t have a base station in my home yet.) Would it automatically connect when I go into the coffee house? Or is there something I have to do?

I don’t want to look like a goit the first time I try it!

If it’s properly installed, it should search for and find the network automatically.
At least mine does. And I think it’s more a result of Windows XP, and not so much of whatever software comes with the Network Adapter. I think all the adapters work the same under Windows XP.

Computers are in no way my field to be answering questions. But I know whenever my laptop is in the presence of a wireless network, it connects to it automatically. Or at least it tries. Sometimes there are passwords and stuff.

I’m using a Mac.

They did connect it once, at the Apple store. I didn’t see how they told it to connect, but they did enter a password. I’m thinking it’s: System Preferences|Network|AirPort. Since I’m online, I can’t check to see if there is a ‘connect’ button. (There is a disconnect button now.)

You’re in the right spot. The AirPort tab will give you options to search for a new network and join it. It’s pretty much automatic, once AirPort is turned on. Since their network is free, you probably don’t need any sort of password to connect, the Apple store likely was protected by a password.

Whenever my iBook sees an available open network, a window pops up asking if I want to join the network. If you want to choose from a list of the networks your PowerBook can see, click on the AirPort icon in the menu bar. It can get complicated joining a secure network, but open public hotspots are easy. After joining the network once, your 'Book should log onto it automatically whenever it sees it in the future. I connect to the Windows-based network at work and my PowerMac at home, no input from me is required other than opening the laptop.

Just click the AirPort icon way up there by the battery icon and you should get a menu of available netowrks. In an ideal situation, you’ll find one that looks like some semblance of the coffee shop’s name. eg: folgers, tullys, etc. Select it. If it’s a free and unprotected network (identified by absence of any sort of login or password entry), you’re good to go.

Wherever you are, if you fire up AirPort and find a net named linksys or dlink, odds are excellent that it’s wide open and usable because its owner couldn’t be bothered to protect it.

I don’t know what OS **wheelie ** is using, but OS X has amnesia by design - you must actively choose a network each and every time you turn the thing on or come back from sleep.

I’m using 10.4.1, but I’ve been logging onto my work and home networks automatically since last July when I bought my iBook. If it sees an open network I haven’t used before, it asks me if I want to join the open network. After that, it joins the network automatically. When I went to New Jersey last month the hotel I stayed at had free wireless internet and it took exactly 1 click to join the network (I then had to start an account but that was a requirement of the ISP). After that I still had to log on to the ISP but the network connection happened automatically.
If I wake my laptop before my desktop (which is my base station at home), I have to choose the network manually, but if the desktop is already awake then i don’t have to do a thing.

P.S. I like to use Kismac to sniff for open networks when I’m out and about. It’s suprising how many people don’t secure their networks.

Hmmm… Might be worth buying Tiger just for that. I’ve got Panther now, and am just going by what the Apple Store “Genius” said.

You can do this with Panther, too.
Go to System Preferences, Network, and set location to Automatic, select AirPort, click on ‘Configure’ and set ‘By default, join:’ to Automatic. Click on the Options button to set what it does if no recent networks are found, i.e., join any open network automatically or not.

It’s much easier if you turn on the “Show AirPort status in menu bar” option. You can find and connect to networks without having to open System Preferences or Internet Connect.

Well, if that isn’t the most non-intuitive way to do it… But, it works!

So much for the “Genius” at the Apple store.