This technique also works with Windows 8.
I have a powerful laptop. A laptop to rival desktops. And its wifi antenna is more sensitive than any of my other wifi devices and can access the free wifi connection down the road.
So I was wondering – can I simultaneously access the wi-fi down the road while being an access point to all my smaller devices in my room? The answer is yes. And the answer is documented in this descriptive post on a Toms Hardware forum.
Articles can disappear, however, and I think this is an amazing tip so I’m going to re-document it here. But credit does not go to me for this one.
2013-04-22 Update: note this linked article on lifehacker.com appears to show an alternative way to do this that is entirely GUI-based. I’ve not tried it but you may as well try it out first and return to this article if it doesn’t work out for you.
Creating the Hosted Wifi Connection
You have to create a hosted wifi connection. So start by pressing the Windows 7 start button (or pressing ctrl-escape which does the same thing). Then type “cmd” and right click on “cmd.exe” and choose “Run as administrator”.
Next type the following:
netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=MySSID key=mysecret
.. where MySSID is the name of the access point you want to create and mysecret is the password – note that the password has to be 8 characters in length minimum.
This will create an adaptor of type “Microsoft virtual WiFi miniport adapter” in your network connections. Which you can see by opening the start menu and typing “Network” and selecting “View Network Connections”.
Starting the Hosted Network
netsh wlan start hostednetwork
This will start the hosted network connection. But you’re not all done yet. Sure your other wi-fi devices will see your new access point name! However you have to add network sharing.
So open the “View Network Connections” window. Right click on your source network (most likely “Wireless Network Connection” which is currently connected to the Internet already). Select “properties”. Then the “Sharing” tab. Now tick the “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection”. And choose the hostednetwork you just created!
Now you can start connecting to the Internet from your other devices.
Stopping the Hosted Network
netsh wlan stop hostednetwork