Wireless (WiFi) networking, its associated equipment and setup have become as common these days as owning a computer or laptop. Every mall, shopping store, educational institute, diners, restaurants, and coffee shops are most likely to be equipped with free WiFi hotspots for speed-hungry internet users to hop on to and browse their hours away. Connectivity, in today’s world is one of the most essential components of any human being’s life (especially since the UN has recognized internet access as one of the basic human rights), and wireless networks are one of the key factors in fulfilling that.
Furthermore, WiFi networking not restricted only to PCs or laptops. With the infusion of tablets and smartphones in the consumer market, these ultra-portable devices have become one of the primary means of connectivity on-the-go; while some of them rely on 3G wireless data access, most of them still have WiFi as their only source of getting online, hence increasing the importance of WiFi hotspots even more.
In this article, I’ll discuss how to make a wifi hotspot using your Windows-based WiFi-enabled PC or laptop via Windows’ native internet connection sharing (ICS) feature. Read on after the break for more details.
With Windows 7, Microsoft made the setup of an ad-hoc wireless network pretty straightforward and easy, yet we have seen that a lot of users either haven’t even heard about it or are intimidated by the little setup and configuration that it requires. Furthermore, an ad-hoc network may not be able to connect all your non-smartphone mobile devices. This is where our portable freeware, MHotSpot, comes into play.
This low-memory, portable freeware allows you to turn your WiFi-equipped PC or laptop into a wireless WiFi hotspot with one click, skipping all the tedious configuration menus and substituting that with a simple interface.
Setting up ICS on your internet connection
Before you can use MHotSpot, you’ll need to enable internet connection sharing for the connection that you want to broadcast the wireless WiFi hotspot with.
To do so, click the Connection icon in your Windows taskbar, right-click the connection that you want to share and click Status.
In the next dialog box that appears, select Properties and click on the Sharing tab.
Make sure that the check box against “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s internet connection” is ticked and choose your wireless internet connection from the drop-down list.
Hit OK for changes to take effect, and that’s it for enabling ICS.
Make a WiFi Hotspot with MHotSpot
Now, run the MHotSpot executable file. The interface gives merely four options, namely, start the hotspot broadcast, stop it, set it up and visit the developers’ website.
If you hit the Setup HotSpot button, a command-line interface will greet you, asking for the network’s name and password, should you want to make it more secure and less available for unauthorized use.
The Start and Stop buttons are pretty straightforward – they’re used to initiate and terminate the network broadcast, respectively.
With the wireless WiFihotspot enabled, your wireless connection should be detectable by all nearby WiFi-enabled devices, including those that work with access point schema (like non-smartphone mobile phones). Here’s a screenshot of my iPhone detecting my laptop’s WiFi signal. Interestingly, although I specified a network name above, it’s still picking it up by my laptop’s network name.
I found MHotSpot particularly useful for scenarios where I have a wired internet connection for my laptop but cannot find an open WiFi network for my iPhone or tablet (which mostly happens to me at work). The testing was all done on Windows 7 32-bit operating system.
Found this software useful? Let us know through your comments, and spread the word among your friends.