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iPhone 5 Portable Genius by Paul McFedries

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Connecting to a Wi-Fi Network

Connections to a cellular network are automatic and occur behind the scenes. As soon as you switch on your iPhone, it checks for an LTE signal. If it finds one, it connects to the network and displays the LTE icon in the status bar, as well as the connection strength (the more bars, the better). If your current area doesn’t do the LTE thing, your iPhone tries to connect to the slower 3G network. If that works, you see the 3G icon in the status bar and the connection strength. If there’s no 3G network in sight, your iPhone tries to connect to a slower EDGE network instead. If that works, you see the E icon in the status bar (plus the usual signal strength bars). If none of that works, you see No Signal, so you might as well go home.

Making your first connection

Things aren’t automatic when it comes to Wi-Fi connections, at least not at first. As soon as you try to access something on the Internet — a website, your e-mail, a Google Map, or whatever — your iPhone scours the surrounding airwaves for Wi-Fi network signals. If you’ve never connected to a Wi-Fi network, or if you’re in an area that doesn’t have any Wi-Fi networks that you’ve used in the past, you see the Select a Wireless Network dialog, as shown in Figure 3.1. If you don’t see the Select a Wireless Network dialog, you can still connect to a wireless network; see the section about how to stop Wi-Fi network prompts later in this chapter.

3.1 If you’re just starting out on the Wi-Fi trail, ...

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