Windows 7 = Wi-Fi Hotspot

by Jim Guld, www.GeeksOnTour.com:

“…any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Arthur C. Clarke

Connecting a Single Computer

For the RV traveler, Internet connectivity is a lifeline.  Connecting even a single computer to the Internet can be a daunting experience.  Everything needs to be configured properly for it to work.

There are three ways for RV travelers to connect to Broadband Internet.  Satellite, Wi-Fi and Cellular (see Internet on the Road video for an overview.)  Each has its own good and bad points.  Nothing is perfect. 

Connecting your computer is getting easier with cellular data cards and tethering cell phones.  Plug it in and be browsing and emailing in no time.  Last week we wrote about using a Motorola Droid Cellphone from Verizon to tether your computer to the Internet.

Connecting Multiple Computers with a Hardware Router

How about if you want to connect two or more computers to the Internet?   You could buy a router and configure it to make your own hotspot.  This is the way many cellular and satellite users do it.  A router will not work to share public Wi-Fi hotspots.  The Droid is not yet supported on the popular cellular router – Cradlepoint.  But, there is a way if you have Windows 7.

Connecting Multiple Computers with a Software Router

Since the Droid could not connect to a router, I started researching other options and found Connectify.  Now you can turn a Windows 7 laptop into a Wi-Fi hotspot for other laptops and mobile devices to share. 

Connectify is a free and easy to use software router for Windows 7 computers. With Connectify, you can wirelessly share any Internet connection: a satellite modem, a cellular card or tethered cell phone, even another Wi-Fi network. Other Wi-Fi enabled devices including laptops, smart phones, music players, and gaming systems can see and join your Connectify hotspot just like any other Wi-Fi access point and are kept safe and secure by password-protected WPA2 Encryption. 

Because Connectify is free to download and use, you can save money on multiple Wi-Fi connections while on the road and still get all your devices online.  You can join a Wi-Fi network and run the Connectify hotspot on the same Wi-Fi card.  Now you can easily get that wireless printer working!  You don’t need Windows 7 on your other laptops, just the one running Connectify.

Installation is quick and easy, and once complete, you can access Connectify from the icon in the Taskbar.

 

Connectify works with all Wi-Fi cards under Windows 7. Any card can do “Ad Hoc” mode, and Windows 7 certified cards can also do “Access Point” mode.

The main difference between the two modes is that Access Point mode allows you to share a Wi-Fi connection from the same Wi-Fi card that you are using to access the Wi-Fi network. Ad Hoc mode needs the Internet connection to come from another card (Ethernet, cellular or a second Wi-Fi card in your computer).

Connectify only works with Windows 7 Home and above, Starter Edition is not supported.

Some cellular wireless broadband providers’ hardware disallows the use of their device.

You can download the installation package here.  It is less than 1 Meg.

Find all the supported devices here.

www.GeeksOnTour.com

Computer Education for Travelers

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