This post will explain how you can make Windows 7 as an inexpensive access-point wireless hotspot without the need to purchase any additional equipment. Before Windows 7 release, you can create ad-hoc wireless network. Unfortunately not all devices can be connected to this ad-hoc wireless network. Using Windows 7, now you can make inexpensive access-point wireless hotspot.
Using the method I will explain below, you only use the wireless network card installed on your laptop or desktop out-of-the-box. No additional equipment that you need to create this kind of wireless hotspot. Although this method works, but the signal strength (network coverage) that broadcasted directly from the network card is certainly shorter than what can be broadcasted from a special equipment. Therefore the usage of this wireless hotspot is limited to home network, or any other places where its coverage is not too far.
Follow the following steps to make Windows 7 you as an inexpensive access-point wireless hotspot:
First, you may need to update wireless network driver of your laptop or desktop with the latest version for Windows 7. Usually the manufacturer has provided an updated version of the driver that can be downloaded from the manufacturer website. But this does not always guarantee that the drivers provided by the manufacturer is the latest driver that can take advantage of the ability of Windows 7 in conjunction with the ability to create access-point wireless hotspot.
This update is required so that the existing wireless network device on your laptop or desktop can support access-point. For example, I use an Acer 4935G laptop equipped with Intel® PRO wireless driver version 188.8.131.52. This particular version does not support access-point, so I need to download the latest version of the driver, specific for Windows 7, version 184.108.40.206 that I downloaded directly from Intel’s website. To determine whether your driver supports access-point mode please see the list at the following website: http://www.connectify.me/docs/supportedcards.html.
Once downloaded, you need to install it. Intel wireless network driver package is already equipped with the installer, so it is easy to install it.
Second, download the Connectify freeware application. This application can take advantage of the special ability of wireless network card on your laptop or desktop and make it as an access-point wireless hotspots. Once downloaded, of course you need to install it. Installation is very easy, just double-click the file and follow the installation steps.
Third, follow the Easy Setup Wizard in Connectify. This wizard will guide you on how to establish your wireless hotspot, provide a name and password, then run it. The following figure shows the screen capture of Connectify running on my laptop:
Done! You are finished making your Windows 7 as a wireless access point hostspot with a very low cost. The next step is to try this hotspot connection with your other laptop or your WiFi-capable mobile phone. With the wireless hotspot already set up, you do not need more than one internet connection for your home. Your wife and children at home can use the same Internet connection you use.
And if you have a small business, you can show off by adding cool facility: free hotspot. Of course bear in mind that the coverage area of this hotspot is limited to certain distance, which is suitable if business room is small.