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Connecting To A Wireless Network When Away From Home Part 2

written by: Donny Yankellow•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 8/9/2009

The first part of this series covered wireless networks in a hotel or restaurant. What about those times you want to use your friends wireless network?

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    Using wireless at your friend's house

    Let's say you want to take your iPod Touch or iBook or Powerbook over a friend or family member's house and you want to be able to access their wireless network. Can you? Sure! It can be really easy or a little tricky, depending on how the network is set up.

    Let's start with easy. If your friend has a completely open and unprotected network your device might hop right on and you are able to access email and the internet. If your device does not hop right on, it might ask if you want to connect. Say "yes" and you are good to go.

    If the network is protected, then things can get a little tricky. There are several methods that can be used to protect the network, and hopefully your friend or family member knows enough to help you out.

    Here are the problems/roadblocks you might encounter:

    1. The network is password protected. This should be the easiest protection to get through, assuming you can get the password. When you try to get connected to the network your computer will ask you for the password. Type it in (case sensitive) and assuming it is correct, you are good to go.

    2. The network might have MAC address filtering. This has nothing to do with the brand Macintosh or Apple. It is an address or identifier your device has and it ca be used to allow you onto a network. If this is the case you have to locate your MAC address and someone has to enter it into the wireless settings of the network.

    For a Mac this address is in the System Profiler. To access the System Profiler go to the Apple Menu and choose "About This Mac." When that window opens choose "More info..." In the window that comes up you want to locate the network information and find the MAC address. It might be called MAC address or Wireless Address or Airport Address. I have seen it change as the OS changes. On the iPod/iPhone go to Settings, General, About. It will be your Wi-Fi Address.

    3. The network could be hidden. A hidden network means only those who know the name of the network can see the network and get on. In this case you will have to get the name of the network to begin. Then go to your Airport menu and choose "Join Other Network." Type in the name of the network and press return (assuming there is not password). This is also case sensitive.

    If there is a password you will have to know that too and enter that. You will also need to know what type of password it is.

    On the iPod/iPhone access these settings in Settings, Network, Wi-Fi. Choose "Other..." and enter the information.

    4. There could be a combination of any of the above layers of protection and you have to hope someone at the house knows how to get you on to the network. Actually, in most of these cases you will need someone that knows something about the network.

    You would think someone would know something, but in a lot of cases the company comes in and sets up wireless, or a friend does, and does not give the owner any information. My friend had to call his ISP and get the password information so he could set up his iBook.

    Now you know how to connect to the internet on the go. Of course it doesn't matter if you are in a diner, a house, or a cafe; there has to be accessible WIRELESS internet for any of this to work. If there is no wireless network, you aren't surfing on the internet.

    Leave your comment below.

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    Don't forget to check out Part One

    If you are traveling and have not read Part One of this series yet, be sure to check it out here.

Connecting To A Wireless Network Away From Home

Have you ever wanted to connect to a wireless network in a hotel, airport , or another person's house? This series will tell you how to get online in no time!
  1. Connecting To A Wireless Network Away From Home Part 1
  2. Connecting To A Wireless Network When Away From Home Part 2