Windows WiFi wireless hotspot

October 22nd, 2012

Wizard Do you know your Windows 7 (or newer) can act as a wireless router? It is very easy to share your internet connection with your other wireless devices (your tablet, phone or game console), as if you had an actual wireless router device.

Typically, if you have a laptop with Windows 7 and cable internet you most probably can turn it into an access point for your wireless devices.

Prerequisites:

  • Windows 7
  • Working internet connection (most probably cable, otherwise you wouldn’t need to set up a wireless access point in the first place, you’ll already have one)
  • Wireless card

You need to do the following:

  1. Open Control Panel -> Network and Sharing Center and select the link Change Adapter settings in the left column, near the top.
  2. Make sure you see at least 3 connections – (1) the cable internet connection, most probably through your ethernet adapter, (2) the physical Wireless Network (its adapter will be something like Intel or Atheros or Broadcom or whatever your laptop has) and (3) one virtual Wireless Network with the Microsoft Virtual WiFi Miniport Adapter. Take note how each one is called – we will be further calling them (1), (2) and (3).
  3. Right-click (1) and select Properties. Go to the Sharing tab and make sure Allow other users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection is checked. Then select the name of the connection (3) from the drop-down list below.
  4. Open Notepad and paste the following two lines:

    netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=MyNet key=MyPass
    netsh wlan start hostednetwork

    Change MyNet to the name you would like to call your network and MyPass to the respective password to access it. Save the file as wireless.bat (or whatever you like) selecting Save as type: All files(*.*).

  5. Make sure your laptop’s wireless card is switched on.
  6. Right-click the file you created in the previous step and select Run as Administrator. Windows will automatically create the wireless network for you and secure it with a WPA2-PSK password.

You should now be able to connect with another device to the newly created wireless network. It will remain active until you switch off your wireless card or reboot windows. If you want to take down without switching off your wireless card, you can do so by pasting

netsh wlan stop hostednetwork



To take this one idea further, you can set this up to share not only your cable network, but your wireless one as well. You would want to do this, if for instance you would like to create a guest network to give your clients or visitors access to the Internet, but not to your main network. The setup is pretty much the same, only instead of (1) you would use (2) in the above example.

MiFi

June 16th, 2010

MiFf MiFi gained a lot of attention these days, dubbed the main reason for the problems at the presentation of iPhone 4. It is a convenient way to have mobile internet everywhere with you. It is a compact wireless (Wi-Fi) router, which uses a cell-phone network (3G) for internet connectivity.

The concept is several years old, with traditional WiFi routers’ manufacturers implementing a GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/CDMA modules in some of their products. These routers are very convenient for setting up mobile sites like mobile teams, outdoor events, etc. where only the presence of electricity is needed. Like traditional routers, they usually offer combined wired and wireless access.

MiFi is an enhancement of this concept – it’s a self-sufficient device, designed by Novatel, that has its own battery. You can carry it in your pocket or bag, and use wireless internet about 10 meters (30 feet) around. The battery has enough capacity to provide about 5 hours of active internet access and 40 hours of standby. It automatically switches into standby when it detects it is not in use, thus saving power. It can be accessed by 5 devices simultaneously (wireless only, no wired ports), sharing the same internet connection. And when the battery is down, you can plug it in an electricity outlet with the provided adapter, or charge it from your laptop via USB, to continue surfing.

It’s been around for over a year now, and not only in the US anymore (you can buy a standalone device or check with a mobile carrier in your country):

One-click switch between network settings for different locations (Windows)

July 20th, 2009

Wizard Update: One click switch network settings for windows 7

Mobile computers are everywhere now. Many people need to connect to networks (wired or wireless) in more than one place – at home and at work. One of the annoyances of current Windows interface is that you cannot easily store connection profiles – the way you can in MacOS X (called “Locations”) for quite a long time.

There is a workaround for that, involving a simple preliminary network setup + creation of a shortcut. I will briefly describe it here in 3 steps (you will have to repeat for each connection profile you would like to create). Here is how it goes:

[preparation]
Open a command prompt
(click STARTRun… then type cmd and click OK),
type md %windir%\netsettings (or copy it from here and paste it in the command prompt with a right-click) and hit Enter. Don’t close the command prompt yet.

  1. Make all network settings for the current profile (e.g. Office) – go to Network Connections, select the appropriate connection (wired and/or wireless) and set IP-address, network mask, default gateway, DNS servers, etc.
  2. Execute in the command prompt the following command
    netsh -c interface dump > %windir%\netsettings\office.txt
    and hit Enter.
  3. Create a shortcut on your desktop by minimizing all open windows, right-clicking on an empty place on the desktop and selecting New -> Shortcut…
    In the new window that opens, type (or better paste) the following
    netsh -f %windir%\netsettings\office.txt
    and click Next…
    Type a name for the profile (for instance Office settings) and click Finish.

Repeat steps 1-3 for as many profiles you need to create, changing office.txt with home.txt (etc.) in steps 2 and 3. Give each profile shortcut a distinguishable name.

You can now switch between different network profiles by simply clicking the appropriate icon on the desktop!

Note that this approach creates a full network profile (including settings for all network interfaces – wired and wireless), so in rare situations you might need to create different combinations of settings. It is also useful to have a setting with all connections set to auto, in case you need to access networks in hotels, airports and other public places.


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