With a recent distribution on a fairly recent laptop, connecting your Linux laptop to an available Wi-Fi network is often as easy as it is with your phone.
I went through this when I first installed Ubuntu 8.04 on my Asus Eee PC.
Getting Wi-Fi working is less of an issue today (though it still can be difficult on occasion).
(If you have any virtual private networks (VPNs) set up, you can see those details in the VPN heading that follows the Wi-Fi heading.)
The thing is, it’s hard to remember to connect to your VPN every time you sit down in a coffee shop or airport.
Luckily, NetworkManager makes it easy to “set it and forget it.”