Options for Connecting a Chromebook to a Network

Connecting to a wireless network with a ChromebookThis help article is meant to answer a number of internet-related questions we get asked quite frequently here. In order to connect a Chromebook to a typical Wi-Fi/wireless network, just do the following steps:

  1. Click the network icon in the top-right corner of the screen (it looks like a row of bars — similar to what you’d see on a mobile phone).
  2. The list of available wireless networks will appear. Choose the appropriate network.
  3. If the network is password-protected, you will need to enter the password (just this one time). If the network you want to connect to is not password-protected, skip to step 4.
  4. Click Connect.

Congratulations, you’re now connected to the wireless network of your choosing. The information you entered to connect is now saved, so you will not need to enter it in the next time.

Chrome currently supports the WEP, WPA, WPA2, and WPA-Enterprise security standards. (If you don’t know what this means, don’t worry about it — these are the standard wireless security options on all modern computers). But what about wired networks?

Connecting a Chromebook to Wired Ethernet/LAN

Even though Chromebooks have built-in Wi-Fi and wireless 3G internet adapters, you’ll find that there’s no wired ethernet port to be found on their compact chassis. But don’t fret, there’s a way! According to the documentation from Samsung and Google, most USB ethernet ports should work with Chromebooks just fine. Good USB ethernet network adapters can be found today for pennies (well, in computing terms), and will allow you to plug in a standard RJ45 ethernet jack and connect to a wired network/LAN.  So, even if you have only a wired router at home, you’ll be just fine.

Update: There are a ton of options for USB ethernet adapters, of varying quality and compatibility. Personally, I recommend this Cisco-Linksys USB Ethernet Adapter for build quality/brand reputation, lower price, and compatibility with a wide range of devices.

Update (April 3, 2012): We have also confirmed that, in addition to the Cinco-Linksys USB ethernet adapter linked to above, this USB ethernet adapter from Apple is also compatible with a Chromebook. Both are confirmed to work, it’s just a matter of personal preference.

Printing Over a Network?

Remember, connecting a Chromebook to a printer over a local area network (LAN) is not necessary. To print documents from anywhere, we recommend just using Google’s Cloud Print service.  By activating the service on all your other devices (computers, mobile phones, etc.) you can quickly send jobs to your printer from literally anywhere you have an internet connection. We will have more on using this cloud feature soon.

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