Very few people are aware of it, but Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system has a built in feature that can utilize any internet connection to convert your laptop into a Wi-Fi hotspot. You can then use it to give access any number of wireless devices using the laptop cum Wi-Fi hotspot. Now you can use one internet dongle to connect multiple devices to a wireless network in a secure manner. Security is added in the form of WEP or WAP security encryption. The WEP encryption is easy to hack, which makes it highly unsecure. You can use WPA2-PSK/AES Encryption to make the connection secure.
Often, you don’t have the time to go buy a wireless router and if you have an internet dongle, you will need a special router to enable using multiple devices. These kinds of router are even more expensive than the regular routers. Then why not use an existing connection to convert your laptop into a Wi-Fi hotspot. You can do it at home or at work, all you need it a network connection to get you started. Setting it up is also extremely simple and is just a 5-step process.
The feature in Windows 7 is called ‘Wireless Hosted Network’. It works by creating a virtual wireless router in your laptop to convert it into a hotspot. Make sure that your laptop has a wireless card and that it is free. Use a wired LAN connection or an internet dongle to access the internet. Let’s start to turn your Windows 7 laptop into a Wi-Fi hotspot.
1. Head to the Network and Sharing Center present in the Control Panel.
2. Click on Set up a new connection or network. This will open the setup wizard.
3. Here you will now click on Create a new ad hoc wireless network. An ad hoc network is commonly used for file sharing. However, we will use this for sharing the internet connection.
4. Give the network a name for example ‘Test’. Choose the Security type as WPA-2. Make sure that you keep choose a difficult Security key. Now check the box that says Save this network.
5. Now you can see the ad hoc network that you just created in the list of Available Network Connections list. You can click Disconnect on the Test Wi-Fi hotspot from here. You can also enable it again by clicking on Connect.
The ad hoc wireless network connection that you just created will have started working. However, there are a few more steps to follow to make sure that it is enabled for sharing purposes. By default your Internet connection will not be enabled for sharing. Therefore, you will need to enable it. Here is how you can enable the Test ad hoc network connection for sharing:
1. Head back to the Network and Sharing Center.
2. Click on Change adapter settings. You can find this in the left-hand menu.
3. In the list of adapters look for your LAN or internet dongle connection that you are using.
4. Go to the Sharing tab and check the boxes that say Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection and Allow other network users to control or disable the shared Internet connection. Then save these settings.
Now that you have enabled internet connection sharing, you can use your Windows 7 laptop as a Wi-Fi hotspot. Use it to connect your devices like smartphones, tablets, iPods, etc. to the internet. These devices cannot be attached to a LAN or wireless broadband connection. It is possible to do the same thing at work. However, be aware that at some workplaces this will not function due to the network restrictions enforced that are enforced as part of the company privacy policies.
So if you are about to try this at work make sure that you are aware of the security features of your office Internet connection. You can use this at home to save yourself the trouble of buying a wireless router. Instead you can just convert your existing LAN connection into a Wi-Fi hotspot when you need it. All you have to do is create the network once and then you can Connect it in the future to enable it.
Guest Author: EVA k. is a Freelance and Staff writer who writes informative & creative articles on Technology for various technology company. Her expertise are in writing articles related to internet providers, internet dongle , Social media etc.