Envision a common scenario where you need to share your internet connection with the others over a wireless medium.
Your options are to either create an ‘ad-hoc’ computer-to-computer connection or a network akin to the widely popular ‘hotspots’ – where multiple computers/devices can hook up to a single connection. The former is harder to set up and has less utility, whereas most devices don’t support native creation of hotspots.
That’s where we come in.
Sharing your computer’s internet connection
1. Windows 7 Virtual WiFi:
If you own a Windows 7 PC, you most probably have the Virtual WiFi drivers for your wireless card. It makes creating hotspots as easy as typing a few lines! Update the wireless drivers if your Network Connections screen doesn’t show the ‘Microsoft Virtual WiFi Miniport adapter‘
- Open up a command prompt with administrator privileges (Start menu, All Programs, Accessories, right-click on Command Prompt, select “Run as administrator”)
- Configure the network interface by typing in :
netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=Test key=12345678
- This creates a hotspot with name as “Test” and password to connect as “12345678″.
- Open the Network Connections panel and right-click->Properties->Sharing tab on your Internet connection. Enable sharing and select the Virtual WiFi Miniport Adapter as the medium.
- Type the following to start your hotspot:
netsh wlan start hostednetwork
- Connect to this network with your wireless device and enjoy!!
2. Connectify (MUCH MORE features than Option 1)
If you don’t have a Windows 7 machine (or the Virtual WiFi drivers), fret not, since you can still create a hotspot with free tools like Connectify. It has a simple, easy-to-use interface, with a tab for configuring your hotspot and another for viewing connected clients. It also has the handy feature of drag-and-drop file sharing over your network. Some features like setting your hotspot name have been disabled in the free edition. You can buy the Pro version for Rs. 1,600
- Download and install Connectify from their official site.
- Fire up the program and configure your network
- You can disallow access to the Internet if you only want to permit local file sharing, or disallow access to the local network if you want to share an Internet connection without sharing your local network (some settings limited to Connectify Pro). You can also share files by Drag-and-drop to other Connectify users and share iTunes music libraries etc.
- In Connectify Pro, you can also set up your computer as a repeater (Connectify Menu -> Easy Setup -> Clone WiFi Settings) for your network.
Sharing your cellphone’s internet connection
1. For Android
Android used to require rooting and dedicated apps to create a hotspot, but recent Google updates have made it a simple process. We’ll walk you through the steps for Android 4.0.3, and the process should be similar for devices with Android 2.2+ (earlier devices don’t support this feature)
- Go to Wireless and Network settings and select Tethering & portable hotspot
- Configure the hotspot and then select Portable Wi-Fi hotspot to enable the service
- You can also share the internet connection over Bluetooth from this screen
2. For iPhone
I can’t guarantee about this method’s working across all providers and countries. I’m using a BSNL SIM in India
- Go to Settings -> General -> Network -> Cellular Data Network where you will find Internet Tethering APN options at the end. Set it up with the same APN as your normal data connection
- Enable Personal Hotspot from the Network settings menu, and you’re good to go!