Understanding how to connect an Android tablet to WiFi

Even if you have a cellular data plan for your Android tablet, you’re probably going to want to connect to a WiFi network at some point. Cellular plans tend to have data limits, which may leave you with expensive overage charges if you use a cellular connection exclusively.

Whenever possible, you should make a WiFi connection with your Android tablet, as the data shared across the WiFi connection won’t count against your data plan. Consider the following tips to have an easier time making a connection to a WiFi network with your Android tablet.

Public WiFi. There are so many options to tap into a public WiFi network these days that this may end up being the most common method you use to make a connection with your Android tablet. Whether you’re at a coffee shop, a restaurant, or even a sporting event, free public WiFi connections seem to be everywhere.

Public WiFi is so easy to use, especially for people on the go, that you probably don’t think twice about using it. Just understand that any data you send along the network could be seen by others also connected to the network. A hacker would need certain types of software to be able to see the data you’re sending from your Android tablet, so this is a rare occurrence on a public WiFi network, but just understand that it could happen. So it’s not recommended that you’re accessing financial data or sending credit card information when you’re connected to a public WiFi network.

Private WiFi. If you’re using your tablet at home or at a friend’s home, you’ll probably be connecting to a private WiFi system. Some businesses also have private WiFi, but they provide access to guests, such as at a hotel. Such systems nearly always are password protected these days, and the passwords are case sensitive. It can be difficult to type in the password on a tablet correctly sometimes, especially if it contains capital letters, so take special care in entering a password.

One thing to note with private WiFi is that the wireless router may not be powerful enough to send signal throughout all rooms in the business or home. This can cause sporadic Internet connection speeds or dropped signals on your tablet. If you’re experiencing this problem, try moving closer to the router or make use of a repeater on the network, which strengthens the signal.

Another area to watch with a private WiFi network is the type of encryption being used. Android tablets sometimes don’t perform as well with the older WEP type of encryption, but they usually will make a steady connection with a WPA type of encryption. You sometimes can set the type of encryption in use by accessing the router’s firmware in your Web browser. Check with your router’s manufacturer to see how to access the router and make these changes.