How to Setup a WiFi Hotspot with Windows 7

January 10, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Wireless internet is great – you can use it to host internet connections to mobile devices, laptops, tablets and even desktop computers. Many wireless routers even act as hardware firewalls, providing an additional layer of protection to your computer and your data.

But what happens if your wireless router breaks? How will you get online?

The simple answer is to employ a cabled connection to your modem, the small black box that sits between you’re the cable or telecom’s “box on the wall” and your router.

If you have several computers in your house you will need to choose one of these to act as your main computer or run a long Ethernet cable to your PC if it is situated in a different room. This could get messy; surely there is another way?

Well, yes there is. With a wireless-equipped computer connected to your modem via Ethernet cable (or USB on older devices) you can set your desktop or laptop up as a wireless router!

How to Setup a WiFi Hotspot with Windows 7

Turn Your PC Into a Wireless Router with Connectify

Using some free software, you can turn your Windows 7 PC or laptop into a wireless router. Connectify will allow you to provide a wireless hotspot for any Wi-Fi ready equipment you might have such as mobile phones, consoles, internet radios or tablet PCs.

To get your copy of Connectify, head to download.cnet.com/Connectify and download the 2.21MB file. When the download has completed, install the software (note that you might find yourself installing StumbleUpon toolbar for Firefox, so take care as you work through the installer).

You will then be asked if you wish to install the component of Connectify that manages the sharing of your internet connection. Agree to this and a few moments later the utility will be installed and ready to use.

Setup Connectify on Your Windows 7 PC

Following installation, you will need to setup Connectify. This will enable you to manage how the software shares your PC or laptop’s internet connection.

When providing a wireless hotspot via Connectify for people to use, you need to begin by specifying a Network Name or SSID. Give it a memorable name for ease of access.

Once the SSID has been entered, click Next to decide whether your Hotspot Mode is going to be WEP, WPA2 or Open. The available options will depend upon Windows 7, your wireless device and the software itself. Obviously Open is going to let anyone that can see your SSID connect, so you need to be sure you choose the right option for you and the people you will be sharing your connection with.

If you choose Open, the next step to set a Password will be skipped, and you will be taken to the final step where you must select an internet connection to share. One benefit of Connectify is that it can be used simply as a wireless LAN for filesharing or playing LAN games, so you might select No Internet Sharing. With this option set, click Next and Finish and your wireless hotspot is ready to use!

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