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
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