How-To Geek

Create Your Own Wifi Hotspot With a Laptop and Virtual Router

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Wireless internet connections are far more prevalent than they used to be, but there are still times when you may find that you are stuck using a wired connection and want to use it wirelessly — for instance, at a hotel with only wired internet but you want to get your tablet online.

Note: we’ve looked at how to turn your laptop into a wireless access point before, but the previous method involved some command line work, whereas what we’re doing today uses a simple GUI application called Virtual Router Plus.

Turn Your PC Into a Wi-Fi Hotspot the Easy Way

If you can’t get the built-in Windows Wi-Fi hotspot working, you should try using Connectify Hotspot instead — it’s a completely foolproof Wi-Fi hotspot with tons of options and a nice interface.

Connectify Hotspot is great if you’re at a hotel that charges per device, or if you’re on a plane and you connect your laptop but don’t want to pay more to connect your phone. If you pay for the Pro version you can even use your PC as a Wi-Fi repeater or a wired router, or share a tethered connection off your phone

It’s really more of a power user tool, but if you’re looking for a good solution, Hotspot is free to try out, and the basic version is free with some limitations.

Download Connectify to Create a Wi-Fi Hotspot the Easy Way

When Can You Use This?

If you want to share your internet connection, Virtual Router Plus requires that your computer be connected to a wired network and have a functional wi-fi adapter. If you want to re-share a wi-fi connection you’ll need to use another software, like Connectify Hotspot.

There other other scenarios where you might want to create a quick ad-hoc network, though, like if you just want to transfer some files between the two computers, or even play a game wirelessly across the network.

Create Your Hotspot

Download a copy of Virtual Router Plus, unzip the file and launch the executable. Windows 8’s SmartSCreen feature will kick in and block the program from running – just click ‘More info’ followed by the ‘Run anyway’ button to get to work.

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Enter the name you would like to use for the ad-hoc network that is being created and secure it with a password. Use the drop down menu to select which of the available connections should be shared and then click Start Virtual Router Plus.

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Getting Connected

The connection can then be used just like any other wifi connection. Other laptops, smartphones and tablets will detect the network and you just need to supply the relevant password.

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You could also use a similar technique to share your home internet connection with visitors without giving out your regular wifi credentials.

Mark Wilson is a software fiend and a fan of the new, shiny and intriguing. Never afraid to get his hands dirty with some full-scale geekery, he’s always trying out the latest apps, hacks and tweaks. He can be found on Twitter and Google+.

  • Published 02/18/13

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