If you’re on the road a lot, you know the pain of getting Internet access. You might connect to the Web using a Wi-Fi hotspot in your hotel, a café, or at the airport. In most cases, you have to pay a small fee, or you might connect to a mobile broadband network using a 3G card or USB dongle.
But, what about that cell phone or portable game console—like the Nintendo DS or Sony’s PSP—you might be carrying around? Are you even toting a second laptop? All of these also have Wi-Fi capabilities.
Save yourself the trouble and money the next time you’re traveling whether it’s for business or pleasure. We’re going to show you how to share one Windows 7 laptop’s Internet connection, with as many Wi-Fi-equipped devices as you like—for free!
Connectify Is Key
Whether you want to save cash or need to quickly set up a wireless network with clients or friends, there’s one very easy-to-use tool available called Connectify. It creates a Wi-Fi network and shares your Internet connection—whether it comes from a 3G card, a cable modem (via LAN), or even another Wi-Fi network.
Connectify has one drawback though—it only runs on Windows 7, as it is based on a technology hidden deep inside the operating system that doesn’t exist in Windows XP or Vista. We can’t make any promises, but there’s always hope that the developers will find a way to make it backwards compatible. Let’s cross our fingers and regularly check the Connectify website and blog for updates!
Here’s how to setup your personal Wi-Fi while on the go:
- Download and install Connectify. You can get it from: Download.com.
- Once installed, open Connectify by clicking on the little icon as pictured below.
Upon the first start, Connectify presents you with a very easy-to-use wizard. Click “Next”, and select the Wi-Fi device you want to use to share your Internet connection. If you only have one adapter, this screen doesn’t show up, so jump to step three!
Note: Some adapters might not allow both connecting to a Wi-Fi network (at home, work, or in public) and sharing the Internet connection at the same time. If that’s the case, you need a secondary Wi-Fi USB adapter.
- Hit “Next”, and enter the name of the Wi-Fi hotspot that you want to create. Below is an example.
- Then, select the “Hotspot Mode”. If your Wi-Fi connection is capable of sharing the same Wi-Fi for both the Internet connection and the Connectify hotspot feature, make sure that “Access Point, WPA2-PSK” is selected. If you want to set another security level (for compatibility reasons), then the Internet connection needs to come in from another source like a 3G card, a cable modem or a direct LAN connection.
- Enter a password to protect your personal Wi-Fi hotspot, and hit “Next” again. The following step of the wizard is crucial; Connectify will now ask you which Internet connection you want to share. For example, let’s use the same Wi-Fi adapter.
- That’s it! Click “Finish”, and in a few short moments, you will be able to connect all of your Wi-Fi-enabled devices to your laptop’s own hotspot.
Note: If other devices cannot connect to your hotspot, it is possible that they don’t support the security standard “Access Point, WPA2-PSK”. Although another standard might be more compatible with older devices, we don’t recommend setting any other security level.
It’s that easy! We use Connectify all of the time when we’re on the road. It is one of the top tools for PC users that travel a lot and don’t want to be bothered with getting individual connections for all of their devices.
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