How to Manage Wireless on Lenovo Laptops

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This article describes the basics of managing wireless network connections on Lenovo Thinkpad laptops. For more specific troubleshooting information, please see Lenovo's documentation (here).

Make sure the wireless adapter is enabled…

Thinkpad Hardware Wireless Switch

On newer Thinkpad laptops there is a hardware switch used to enable and disable wireless networking on the laptop. Slide the switch to your right to enable wireless networking, and slide it to your left to disable it.

Thinkpad Software Wireless Switch

To access the software wireless switch press Fn+F5 on your laptop’s keyboard.


The following popup window will appear.

The statuses of your wireless adapters (referred to in the picture above as “radios”) are displayed. Click the “Radio Off” to disable the wireless connection. The button will then show as a “Radio On” button. Click it to enable the wireless connection. The 802.11 Wireless Radio is your wireless network connection, used to access the Internet. The Bluetooth Radio is a separate wireless connection used to access Bluetooth devices (e.g. keyboard, mouse), further discussion of which is out of the scope of this article.

Windows Network Connections

Windows also manages the network connection state. You can open the Network Connections window by first opening the Control Panel (Start Menu->Settings->Control Panel), and then double-clicking on the "Network Connections" icon.

Locate the connection that says "Wireless Network Connection." If "Disabled" is displayed under the connection name, right-click the connection and then click the "Enable" option in the context menu, (shown below).

When the connection is enabled, it should look like this:

Viewing and connecting to a wireless network…

  1. Right-click wireless icon in the system tray, then click the “View Available Wireless Networks” in the context menu that appears.

  2. Click “Refresh network list” on the left side of the Windows wireless connection manager if there are no networks listed. Select the network you would like to connect to, and then click the "Connect" button on the bottom right of the manager window.

  3. If the connection is successful you will see the word “Connected” next to the connection name.