How do I connect to the Internet?

Phone calls have changed dramatically in recent decades. Phones always used to be attached to one place, and the best you could hope for when you were out was a phone box.

In terms of technology, a telephone line in the form of cable would be connected to a home by being fed into a phone box on the wall of the house. A stationary phone was then connected to the phone line by being plugged into the phone socket. It was only possible to move around by talking on the phone if the cable was long enough.

It wasn't until later on that cordless phones began to appear in our homes. You could finally move around your house freely with these, although the phone base unit was still connected by cable.

In the nineties, mobile phones then started to become more common, and they were completely cordless. They communicated using radio signals and mobile networks' transmission masts became more and more prevalent.

You can think of the transfer of data from the Internet
in exactly the same way.

A data line is fed into your house and your computer is connected to it by a cable. You can also connect to the data line via a Wi-Fi router, however. This router acts as the hub for a local network that enables several digital devices to be connected to the data line. The advantage of this is that laptops, tablets and smartphones can all be used to surf the Internet simultaneously.

When you are out and out of range of your Wi-Fi network, however, you can only connect to the Internet using mobile data. Just like when you make and receive calls from your smartphone, data is transferred via the mobile network here.

Tip: Secure Wi-Fi networks are indicated as such by a padlock beside their icon in the list of networks. The name and password for a Wi-Fi network will normally be written on the base of the router.

After you've entered the password for a particular Wi-Fi network once, your smartphone will normally remember it next time you're within range of that network and automatically reconnect to it. This means Wi-Fi connections are prioritised over a mobile data connection, which saves as much of your allotted data as possible.

There are therefore two methods of connecting to the Internet and they work very differently to each other when it comes to the technology they use:

WLAN (Wi-Fi)

  • Local
  • Always restricted to a specific location
  • Every Wi-Fi connection has to be set up before it will work
  • Paid for by the owner of the Wi-Fi network

Mobile Datenverbindung

  • Mobile
  • Always tied to your mobile network operator and the agreed tariff
  • Works as soon as "Mobile data" is enabled on your phone
  • Paid for by the smartphone user (either as part of a mobile network contract or as an additional cost)
Using a Mobile DatA Connection

What you need:

  • A tariff that includes mobile data

What to do:

  • Open Quick settings on the home screen and tap on "More settings".
  • Enable the mobile data function on your phone by tapping on the "On/Off" indicator button beside Mobile data. The indicator must show "On".
  • The detail text on the "Mobile data" text button will now display how much data has already been used during the current billing period.

Tip: Digital newcomers often think that their smartphone automatically won't use the mobile data connection if their tariff doesn't include mobile data, but that isn't true!
Even if your tariff doesn't cover Internet usage, your phone can connect to the Web using data.

The technical connection for calls has already been established via your SIM card and can immediately be used to transfer data as well.
A smartphone is built to establish a mobile data connection and will always attempt to do that. All it needs to achieve this aim is its "Mobile data" function to be turned on. If the cost for this is not included in your tariff, the information in the small print will come into play – which could prove expensive for you!

Connecting to the Internet via a Secure Wi-Fi Network

What you need:

  • The name of the Wi-Fi network
  • The network password

What to do:
Step 1: Enabling the Wi-Fi function on your smartphone

  • Open Quick settings on the home screen.
  • Enable the Wi-Fi function on your phone, so that the On/Off indicator button turns blue.
  • The detail text on the Wi-Fi text button will now indicate that there are Wi-Fi networks available in your location.

Step 2: Connecting to your desired network

  • Tap on the Wi-Fi text button, so that the available Wi-Fi networks are listed.
  • Tap on the network you want to connect your phone to.

Step 3: Entering the password

  • Enter the password for your chosen Wi-Fi network and confirm it by tapping on "Connect".
  • The Wi-Fi network will be identified and a connection to it established.
  • As soon as the connection has been established, "Connected" will appear on the indicator.

The password is hidden by default, meaning only dots are shown when you enter it. To show the password, tap on the checkbox provided.

Tip: You will know you have an active Wi-Fi connection if you go to Quick settings and the name of the network appears in Wi-Fi. If you have made any mistakes, such as a typing error when entering the password, delete the connection and start again.

Connecting to the Internet via an Open Wi-Fi Network

What you need:

  • The name of the Wi-Fi network

What to do:

  • Steps 1 and 2 here are identical to the first two steps for connecting to a secure Wi-Fi network.
  • Step 3: Instead of entering a password, you have to activate open networks on a web page.
  • Tap on the Notification for signing into the network. You'll find this in the Info centre. A web page will then open, where you need to indicate that you are in agreement with the data privacy statement and then activate the Wi-Fi connection. To do this, look for a button that says "Connect", "Activate" or something similar.

Tip: The icon next to a network's name indicates whether it is a secure network or an open one: The icon for password-protected networks includes a small padlock