You’ve already figured out how to transform your mobile phone into a wireless hotspot and now you’re wondering if you can pull off the same trick with your laptop.
Today, I’m going to walk with you through each step. We’re going to turn your little Windows 8.1 laptop into a mighty wireless hotspot.
The process is actually pretty straightforward but if you’ve never really used the command prompt it can be a little confusing.
By the end of this article you’ll not only mitigate your trepidation of the command prompt but also you’ll be baying like a werewolf at twilight.
Okay, I have no idea where that warewolf comment came from – forget that.
The best way to get started is to connect your laptop to the internet via a standard Ethernet cable and then use your mobile adapter to broadcast the WiFi network to your devices. Sharing your network connection with your impecunious friends has never been easier. We’re going to use a nifty built in tool called netsh to work the digital alchemy for us.
I’ll introduce you to netsh in a moment but first I need to set the stage:
I’ve segmented this article into two glorious Acts.
- Act I: Creating the Virtual Wireless Network
- Act II: Sharing the host internet connection
Let’s start the play
Act I: Creating your virtual network
We’re going to use the command prompt to make a virtual wireless network that we’ll broadcast to anyone who wants to connect to the internet through our laptop.
Press Windows Key + x + a to open the command prompt with administrator privileges then type the following command.
netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=Kimchi key=ilovek1mch1e
My wife is Korean and therefore has a penchant for Kimchi. Actually, all Koreans love this stuff – and I’m also particularly fond of the spicy briny taste so I thought I’d pay deference to all my kimchi lovers out there with a delicious SSID.
The above command sets my Wi-Fi hotspot name to Kimchi and sets the network password to ilovek1mch1e.
The window should inform you that the hosted network mode has been set to allow. Then after about 40 seconds you’ll see the following messages:
- The SSID of the hosted network has been successfully changed.
- The user key passphrase of the hosted network has been successfully changed.
Now just like that we’ve got our very own virtual adapter – we just need to flip it on.
Easy enough. Go ahead and type this:
netsh wlan start hostednetwork
At this point, our laptop is actively broadcasting our wireless network to all devices within range.
Go ahead and whip out your iPad, Kindle or smartphone and browse for Wi-Fi networks. You’ll see your freshly minted Wi-fi network sitting there with a strong wireless signal.
So everything is good except if you connected to your Wi-Fi network you won’t have internet access because we haven’t shared your laptops internet connection yet.
Let’s do that next.
Act II: Sharing your network connection
Press the Windows Key + r and enter the following command to open the adapter properties window:
In the Network Connections window, you’ll see your new virtual adapter happily sitting there waiting to give you the world.
Pay attention to the Local Area Connection name because we’ll need to select that when we share the internet connection of our original WiFi network.
In my case, you can see Kimchi is called Local Area Connection* 19.
Okay – so select your original wireless adapter that is currently connecting you to the internet. Right click that and choose Properties.
Visit the Sharing tab and make sure Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection is checked.
Then under Home networking connection select the name of the virtual adapter you created earlier.
Also, I would uncheck Allow other network users to control or disable the shared Internet connection because it’s an unnecessary security hazard.
Click OK and your done.
If you want to see how many users are connected to your network open an elevated command prompt as you did earlier and type:
netsh wlan show hostednetwork
In the graphic below you can see under Hosted network status the number of clients is set to zero.
Then I connected my Galaxy S4 to Kimchi and ran the command again.
Now there’s one connected client (highlighted in white below) and you can see its authenticated MAC address.
And here’s what it looks like from my phone:
That’s all there is to it.
Incidentally, if anyone knows of a way to disconnect connected clients from a Windows PC that would be an invaluable tip. I did some research but couldn’t find anything.