How to Connect to Data Networks & Wireless Networks On Windows Phone 7.8

One of the wonders of mobile devices these days is the ability connect to the Internet through wireless networks no matter where we are. With a wireless connection, we can access our email, keep up-to-date with our favorite social networking sites, even create and synchronize business documents while we're mobile. In this tutorial, we'll show you how to connect to your cellular data network, and a variety of Wi-Fi networks, so that you can stay connected no matter where you are with your Windows Phone.

NOTE: This tutorial was created using Windows Phone 7.5

How to Enable a Cellular Data Network Connection

In order to access a cellular data network, you must have a data plan as part of your cellular service plan. Activating the cellular data connection on Windows Phone 7 devices is just a matter of "flipping a switch." Tap on Settings from the App menu.

Windows Phone Settings

From the Settings screen, tap on Cellular.

Windows Phone Settings - Cellular

On the Cellular screen, slide the Data Connection to On and enable 3G Connection for the fastest data transfer speeds.

Windows Phone Settings - Cellular

Your Windows Phone 7 device is now configured to access your cellular data network and connect using the fastest speed possible for your area.

How to Enable the Wi-Fi Radio on Windows Phone

Before you can access a Wi-Fi network from your Windows Phone 7 device, you first have to turn on the device's Wi-Fi radio. From the App screen, tap Settings and then tap Wi-Fi.

Windows Phone Settings - Wi-Fi

On the Wi-Fi screen, slide Wi-Fi Networking to On. Once the Wi-Fi radio is on, it will scan for detectable Wi-Fi networks and display them.

Windows Phone Settings - Wi-Fi

How to Connect to an Open Wi-Fi Network

An open Wi-Fi network is one that does not use any form of access security. Likely places you may find an open Wi-Fi network are your local coffee shop, book store, hospital, etc. These are networks that are designed to allow the public free access while at the network's location, and are the easiest Wi-Fi network to connect to. While in Settings -> Wi-Fi simply tap the open Wi-Fi network available with the strongest signal.

Windows Phone Settings - Wi-Fi

Windows Phone takes a few seconds to connect and then informs you of the result.

How to Connect to a Secure Wi-Fi Network

A secure Wi-Fi network is one that uses a higher level of access security. You will need the access password in to order to connect to it. If you don't know the password but you own the network you are trying to connect to, you will need to login to the router and navigate to either the Security or Wireless Security section in order to locate password.

From the App screen, tap Settings and then tap Wi-Fi. Tap on the secure Wi-Fi network you wish to connect to.

Windows Phone Settings - Wi-Fi

You'll be asked for the password. Type it and then tap the Checkmark to complete the login process.

Windows Phone Settings - Wi-Fi

The Windows Phone 7 device and router will communicate with one another and establish the proper protocols for access.

If you typed the correct password, you are now connected to the secure Wi-Fi network. Your Windows Phone 7 device will remember this network and will be able to access it in the future without having to enter the password.

You Are Now Connected!

Now you know how to connect to a wireless network with your Windows Phone 7 device Whether it's your cellular data network, or a Wi-Fi network, you can access the Internet wherever you are. If you have any questions related to this tutorial, don’t hesitate to ask using the comments form below.

About the Author: James Booth
I first entered the mobile computing field 12 years ago with the purchase of a Handspring Visor Deluxe running the Palm OS. After upgrading through three other Palm OS devices I switched to Windows Mobile devices, having gone through four device upgrades on that platform. Now using a Windows Phone 7.5 device, I have become a mobile specialist through personal trial and error, and have been writing about mobile technology for the past 8 years.