How to connect your tablet to the internet using Wi-Fi

The N800 and N810 internet tablets can connect to the internet in two ways: through a Wi-Fi wireless router, or through a Bluetooth-compatible mobile phone. Connecting through a phone lets you use the tablet on the move, but this can be expensive and slow on some phone networks. Connecting through a wi-fi router can be free and very fast if you do it at home, though you do have to pay your usual broadband connection bill so that the wireless router has a connection to plug into.

This tutorial takes a look at connecting through Wi-Fi.

Wi-fi is also sometimes known as "WLAN". (In case you're wondering, WLAN stands for Wireless Local Area Network, but you really don't need to know that.)


[edit] How to set up a home wi-fi network

Setting up a wi-fi network at home can be very useful, as it allows lots of computers and other gadgets (including internet tablets) to connect to the internet wirelessly within a range of 30 metres / 30 yards of your modem or router. The connection works through your usual broadband internet connection, so there's no extra charge for using wi-fi.

To set up a home wi-fi network, you need a wi-fi compatible modem or router, and an account with a broadband internet service provider. A computer will help with setting up the modem/router, though you don't need a computer in order to actually use the modem/router. After the modem/router has been set up, the tablet can use the home wi-fi network on its own.

First of all you need to set up wireless access on your wi-fi compatible modem/router. The procedure for this varies from model to model, and it's best if you consult the manual that came with it for more instructions.

However, here are a few things you should do when setting up your home wi-fi network:

  1. Give your network a memorable name, so you know which network to connect to on your portable devices. So many people have home wi-fi networks nowadays that you may well see a long list of nearby wi-fi networks when you try to connect to your own.
  2. You must use some level of security on your network. If you leave the connection without any security, it means absolutely anyone can use it to surf the internet. Not only does this slow down your own internet connection, it also may put you in danger of being arrested because criminals may use your internet connection to do something illegal (and any police traces on such illegal activity would end up at your house).
  3. Do NOT use the WEP security standard. WEP has become extremely weak over the past few years, and many hackers can break through WEP security in less than one minute. If you use WEP you will become a natural target for hackers.
  4. A much better security standard to use is WPA, and when your modem/router asks for a security key (called a Pre-Shared Key or PSK) try to use as many letters and numbers as possible. The maximum length is 63 characters, which might sound awkward but remember that you only have to enter this code once in order to connect a device to the wi-fi network. After you've entered it the first time, the device will remember the code for next time.

Note that you can often include spaces in this key, which means that you can use a multi-word sentence as key. This can make it easier both to remember and to enter, if your router supports it (many do).

  1. For added security, turn down the strength of your wi-fi network signal if your modem/router allows this. The higher the signal strength, the more hackers can potentially hijack your connection.

[edit] How to connect your N800 or N810 to your home wi-fi network

This is very simple:

  1. Turn on the tablet.
  2. Click on the connection icon in the status bar (the small dot with circular lines above it).
  3. Click on "Select Connection".
  4. Wait while the tablet searches for nearby wi-fi networks. Don't worry if there seem to be lots of them, you may well see the networks of neighbouring houses listed.
  5. When you see the name of your own wi-fi network, click on it, and click on "Select".
  6. If you're using WPA, it will ask you for the network's pre-shared key, which you chose earlier. Type this in on the tablet carefully, as it is difficult to spot mistakes in very long passwords. When you've finished typing the key, click on OK.
  7. The tablet should now connect to the network, and the status bar's connection icon will flash while it does so. When it has connected, the icon will remain white.

...and that's it, you are now connected to the internet through your home wi-fi network. Remember you have to be 30 metres / 30 yards from the modem/router for this connection to work well, but that can be in any direction so for example you can use the tablet upstairs.

[edit] How to make your tablet connect to the internet automatically

The N800 and N810 tablets offer a number of ways to automatically connect to the internet. One mode makes the tablet connect to your home wi-fi network automatically, another mode makes it connect to your phone automatically, and a third mode makes it try to connect to the home wi-fi network but if that's absent it tries your phone instead.

To select these modes, do the following:

  1. Click on the Connection icon in the status bar (the dot with curves above it).
  2. Click on "Connectivity Settings".
  3. Click on "Connect Automatically", and select "WLAN" if you want to just connect to your home wi-fi, "Phone" if you want to just connect through your phone, and "Any" if you want to connect through your home wi-fi or the phone if wi-fi is unavailable.
  4. If you want to alter how often it checks for new nearby connections, select the appropriate time from the "Search Interval" box.
  5. If you want the tablet to disconnect after a certain period of not using the internet connection, click on the "Idle Times" tab and select idle times for a wi-fi connection ("WLAN") and a phone connection ("Packet Data"). There's not much point in using the idle times option though, in most circumstances it doesn't really have any practical use.
  6. When you've finished altering the settings, click on "OK".

[edit] How to change the Pre-Shared Key on your tablet

The tablet will automatically remember the PSK for your home wi-fi network, so you never have to enter it again. However, if you change the PSK on the wi-fi router for some reason, you need to enter this new code on the tablet as well so it can continue to connect to the router. You can enter the new code using the following procedure:

  1. Disconnect the internet if you're using it, by clicking on the Connection icon and selecting "Disconnect" and then "OK".
  2. In the Connection icon menu, click on "Connectivity Settings".
  3. Click on "Connections".
  4. Click on the name of your home wi-fi network, and then click on "Edit".
  5. A setup box will appear. Click on "Next".
  6. Click on "Next" again.
  7. Enter the Pre-Shared Key, then click on "Next".
  8. Click on "Finish".

[edit] How to connect to other people's wi-fi routers

The tablet can use other wi-fi routers too, for example many libraries and airports offer free wi-fi access, while many other places offer subscription-based wi-fi access. Publicly accessible wi-fi routers are also often known as "hotspots" or "access points".

You can connect to other people's wi-fi networks just as you connect to your own, by clicking on the status bar's Connection icon (dot with curves going upwards), clicking on "Select Connection" and selecting the appropriate network from the list that appears.

  • If the wi-fi connection you want to use is unsecured, it means you can use it without entering a password at all. This kind of connection will appear on the list of nearby connections with an open padlock icon. Make sure you have the owner's permission before using such a connection, because it is considered theft in some countries to use another person's wi-fi connection without their consent, even when the connection is unsecured. If you don't ask first, you could be prosecuted for stealing. Whether it's a crime or not, the non-consensual use of someone else's wi-fi connection is often known as "leeching".
  • If the wi-fi connection you want to use is secured, ask the owner about how to obtain the key. Secure connections appear on the list with closed padlock icons (one keyhole for WEP-secured connections, three keyholes for WPA-secured connections). Some connections will let you type the access key in just like at home, while others require you to go to a special web page on the tablet's web browser before you can be granted access.

As stated above, be aware that in a few countries, it may be a crime to use someone else's wi-fi connection without their permission. In many countries like in much of the UE and most states in the USA, it is perfectly legal to use open wifi connections without explicit permission. Software companies like Ubuntu, Apple and Microsoft seem to agree with this since you can configure their software to automatically connect to open wifi without any user action.

While some people do not want to share their wifi connections, they almost always put a password on their connections. Many people are now deliberately leaving their wifi connections open so that they can share with their neighbors. That said you should always be respectful when using someone else's wifi. Don't hog the bandwidth and make it so that people regret sharing.

[edit] Does using a home wi-fi network connect my tablet to my computer?


Your tablet and computer may sometimes use the same router and internet connection, but there is no direct connection between the tablet and computer.

You can of course send things between the computer and tablet through the internet by methods such as email, but this would work even if the computer and tablet were on opposite sides of the planet.

If you want to transfer material directly between the tablet and computer, the easiest way to do this is to use the tablet's USB cable.

Some people have asked us this so we'll repeat it again: you do not need a computer in order to connect the tablet to the internet, all that the tablet requires is a wi-fi router or a Bluetooth-compatible mobile phone. Even people who don't own a computer can still connect their tablet to the internet.