Prepare PCs to connect to WiFi before the WiFi network goes live

mark_D74
mark_D74 used Ask the Experts™
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Hi,

We currently have a wired network with only one cable run per PC.  We're now rolling out a WiFi network and will use those LAN connections for the access points.  We'll therefore need to connect the PCs via WiFi.  I'm wondering, how can I configure those PCs to connect to the new WiFi network once it exists - ie configure them in advance so they connect automatically once the WiFi network goes live.  

For bonus points, how can I do this via command line, powershell and/or GPO?
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Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
Do said computers already have wireless cards? I know it seems like a dumb question but need to be sure.

Assuming the answer is yes, you can push out wireless settings via GPO. Rather than type the whole thing out, here's an article from Microsoft explaining how to do it: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg266419.aspx

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Commented:
@Masnrock No, we'll need to get some.
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
You need the wireless cards/adapters installed properly first, then you can do the settings push via GPO while the machines are still on the wired connection. If you don't mind my asking, why the switch to wireless for all of the workstations versus just running new cabling for the APs themselves (and additional workstations)?

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Commented:
@ Masnrock  Great - how could I do that with GPO, is there a setting you could direct me towards in Group policy editor?

My preference was to run extra cable, but it's a large college with about 60 rooms and limited funds.  I suspect the contractor they've engaged for WiFi rollout recommended this route as a means reducing costs and thereby winning the contract.
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
To give you a demonstration that is more visual in nature versus the Microsoft article I had originally sent, here is a YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GEnoG5MYhE

I hope that contractor really stands behind their work. I had to clean up for a contractor that rolled out wireless for a hotel, and didn't think to install APs on the top floor, then when contacted the project manager tried denying they did the work. Zero support, and it got to the point where when I talked to the manufacturer of the wireless equipment, they admitted they were looking at cutting out that contractor as a partner because of issues.

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