How to Share a Hotel’s Single Wi-Fi Connection With All Your Devices

By Chris Hoffman on April 8th, 2015

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Many hotels still limit you to one or two Wi-Fi devices per room–a frustrating limitation, especially when traveling with someone else. Connection restrictions can apply anywhere you have to log into a Wi-Fi network via a portal instead of a standard passphrase. Here are some ways to get around that limitation.

Connect to the Wi-Fi with Your Laptop and Share the Connection

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If you’re carrying your Windows or Mac laptop with you, it’s fairly easy to share your hotel’s Wi-Fi connection with other wireless devices–especially if you do a little bit of planning ahead of time.

How you turn your Windows laptop into a Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot depends on which version of Windows you’re running. With Windows 10, it’s as simple as flipping a single switch that you can find at Settings > Network & Internet > Mobile Hotspot. In Windows 7 or 8, you’ll need to install a free tool named Virtual Router to get the job done. Macs, on the other hand are not able to share a single Wi-Fi adapter. Each adapter can either be connected to a Wi-Fi network or hosting its own network, but not both. To turn your Mac into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, you’ll need to purchase an inexpensive USB Wi-Fi adapter. After that, though, all the tool you need to share your Mac’s Wi-Fi connection are built right in.

Create a Bluetooth PAN

If the devices you want to connect have Bluetooth hardware, you could potentially use Bluetooth to share the connection with them. This requires creating a Bluetooth “PAN”, or “Personal Area Network.”

For example, on a Mac you can open the Sharing interface in the System Services window and enable Internet sharing over “Bluetooth PAN.” Pair your other devices to the Mac via Bluetooth to take advantage of the PAN and the Mac’s Internet connection. This could be a decent option if all you have available to you is a Mac — as long as your other devices have Bluetooth hardware and support the PAN profile, you’re good to go.

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Purchase a WiFi-to-WiFi Router

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If you’re thinking in advance, you can purchase a router designed specifically for this purpose. You’ll want a router that can do WiFi-to-WiFi routing. In other words, the router needs to be able to connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot and create its own Wi-Fi network at the same time.

Be sure to purchase a router designed for the purpose of sharing a Wi-Fi connection, not a pocket-sized router designed for connecting to an Ethernet port and creating a single Wi-Fi network.

Plug the router in and it’ll create its own Wi-Fi hotspot. You can then connect to it and use the interface to connect the router to your hotel’s Wi-Fi connection and sign in via their captive portal to give every device connected to your Wi-Fi hotspot access to the Internet.


And if none of these solutions fit your needs and you have a smartphone with a decent data plan, you could always use tethering to share your smartphone’s data connection with your other devices. That way, you don’t need to rely on your hotel’s painfully slow and obnoxious Internet connection at all.

Image Credit: Nicolas Vigier on Flickr

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 04/8/15
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