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QUICKVIEW: Connectify turns your Windows 7 PC into a real WiFi HotSpot
Posted by Arne Hess - on Friday, 04.12.09 - 16:05:35 CET under 08 - Reviews - Viewed 18254x
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I know, Apple OS X supports it out of the box but finally also Windows 7 somewhat supports it - being an access point - thanks to Connectify. Back in May, Engadget reported that Microsoft is going to put a "Virtual WiFi" adapter into Windows 7, a technology that would allow a single wireless network adapter to act like two. Basically it means that your W-LAN adapter can connect to WiFi around (your home or business WiFi or a HotSpot) while at the same time the same W-LAN adapter acts as an access point and allowing to share the WiFi with other W-LAN enabled devices. That said, a Notebooks can connect to a HotSpot with costs and sharing this Internet connection with others free of charge.

However, while it seemed Microsoft was ready to launch its Virtual WiFi-technology with Windows 7, for some reasons VWiFi doesn't made it into Windows 7 (or maybe the core code made but not a user front-end). Because here comes Connectify into the game. It seems that the developers of Connectify found the hidden code and released Connectify for Windows 7, which currently available as a public Beta. As a matter of fact, Connectify does exactly what Microsoft's Virtual WiFi was designed for: Sharing a WiFi connection back as a real access point - and not just as an ad-hoc connection. However, in addition to sharing a WiFi connection back, Connectify can share virtually any IP connection as a wireless access point: From LAN to W-LAN to WWAN (e. g. UMTS or HSPA connections).

All it needs to make your Windows 7 PC, Notebook or Netbook an access point is a compatible W-LAN adapter (unfortunately most Intel adapters aren't supported yet) and Connectify which is currently available free of charge. After the installation, Connectify recognizes available Internet connections and lets you configure your (virtual) WiFi network name and the WPA2-PSK passphrase.

That's it, from now your PC can share its Internet connection through either WiFi.

Final Conclusion

Connectify is a very handy tool when a free WiFi is required for either colleagues or additional mobile devices. For instance you could set-up a WiFi hotspot for your co-workers where you share your HSPA Internet connection with them in a meeting. Or you share a hotel WiFi with your mobile devices (quite often, hotel W-LANs requires a login where only one device can log-in the same time). For instance, last month - when I was in Seattle - I used Connectify on my Netbook to create my personal hotspot to get Internet access with my smartphones and my Zune HD. And my Novatel Wireless MiFi, HTC HD2 or my Apple Airport Express weren't an option at all. The MiFi and HD2 would use HSPA (which is quite expensive during International Roaming) while the Airport Express requires a LAN connection to get access to the Internet. In this case, I simply had to fire-up my Netbook and all mobile devices (from Windows Mobile to Android to webOS to Zune) automatically connected to my Connectify hotspot.

If you want to try it out as well - Connectify runs on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, both in either 32 or 64 bits. However, Windows 7 Starter Edition is not supported, as it lacks some of the Windows features Connectify utilizes.

Cheers ~ Arne


 
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