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How to Turn Your Computer into a Wi-Fi Hotspot

How to Turn Your Computer into a Wi-Fi Hotspot

When you find yourself with just one internet connection point—a single wired connection for your laptop at the hotel or your smartphone tethered over USB to your computer—you can share that single internet connection with other nearby devices. You may have a Wi-Fi tablet, or you may be with a friend who'd like to get online. With Windows 10, you can share your laptop's wired or mobile broadband internet connection wirelessly with other devices. However, it takes a bit of trickery in the command prompt to turn your computer into a Wi-Fi hotspot.

How to Share an Internet Connection in Windows 10
To share your computer's internet connection, you'll need to open the command prompt in administrator mode and type in a few commands. 

  1. Right-click on the Windows Start button and click Command Prompt (Admin) to open the command prompt in administrator mode. 
  2. Type the following command:  netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=[yournetworkSSID] key=[yourpassword]. Replace the [yournetworkSSID] and [yourpassword] fields with the name you want for your new Wi-Fi hotspot network and its password. You use these to connect other devices to your computer's Wi-Fi hotspot. Then press Enter. 
  3. Type the following command to start the network: netsh wlan start hostednetwork and press Enter to enable and start the ad hoc wireless network connection. 
  4. Go to your Windows' network connections page by typing network connections in the search field in the taskbar in Windows 10 and click on View network connections or navigate to the Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network Connections. 
  5. Right-click on the network connection that is your computer's source of internet access—the Ethernet connection or the 4G broadband connection, for example. 
  6. Choose Properties from the context menu. 
  7. Go to the Sharing tab and check the box next to Allow other network users to connect through this computer's internet connection. 
  8. From the drop-down list, select the Wi-Fi connection you just created. 
  9. Click OK and close the Properties window.
You should see your Wi-Fi hotspot in the network and sharing center in Windows 10. From your other devices, select the new Wi-Fi network in the wireless settings and enter the password you set to connect to it.

To stop sharing your internet connection over the new Wi-Fi hotspot you created in Windows 10, enter this command in the command prompt: netsh wlan stop hostednetwork.

Sharing a Connection in Earlier Versions of Windows
If you're using an older version of Windows or are on a Mac, you can accomplish this reverse tethering in other ways:
  1. Use Internet Connection Sharing when you have a laptop wired to a router or modem and want to share the connection via your Wi-Fi adapter or a second Ethernet port. 
  2. Use Connectify, a free app that shares a single Wi-Fi connection wirelessly, so you don't need a second network adapter. It requires Windows 7 or later.
Turn Your Cell Phone into a Wi-Fi Hotspot
Thanks to your smartphone's data plan, you've got internet access wherever you go. If you'd like to share that internet access wirelessly with your other devices, such as your laptop and other Wi-Fi capable gadgets (such as tablets and portable gaming systems), your phone likely has that feature built in. Here's how to turn your cell phone into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot on Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry.
I have previously detailed how to use your Android phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot and how to do the same with the iPhone, but never covered the two other major mobile operating systems, Windows Phone and BlackBerry. Since a lot of professional users own BlackBerries and Windows Phones, this article will sum up those instructions, and I'll recap in short the Android and iPhone instructions just so everything's in one place.

Note that besides these phone settings, you'll also probably need a tethering option on your mobile data plan.

Turn on the Wi-Fi Hotspot Feature on Your Android Cell Phone
Smartphones and tablets running Android 2.2 and above have a built-in Wi-Fi data sharing feature. With it, you can share your phone's data connection with up to 5 other devices at once, wirelessly. The precise location of the Wi-Fi hotspot setting might differ depending on your particular phone and OS version, but in general, to enable the Wi-Fi hotspot feature, go to Settings > Wireless & Networks > Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot (it might also be called "Tethering and Mobile HotSpot" or something similar). Tap that, then check or slide the mobile hotspot feature on.

You'll see the default network name for the hotspot and should set a password for the network (as with the iPhone vulnerability, you should choose a unique, long password for your network). Then, from your other device`s, simply connect to the new wireless network you just created.

See the original article for more tips and even how you might be able to do this if your carrier has restricted the Wi-Fi hotspot feature on your phone.

Turn on the Personal Hotspot Feature on Your iPhone
On iPhone, the mobile hotspot feature is called "personal hotspot." Depending on your wireless carrier, you can connect up to 5 devices over Wi-Fi to share your iPhone's data plan.

To turn it on, go to Settings > General > Network > Personal Hotspot > Wi-fi Hotspot and enter your own password of at least eight characters (as noted above, you shouldn't use the default iPhone hotspot password, since it can be cracked in seconds). Then slide the Personal hotspot switch on.

From the other device(s) connect to your personal hotspot as you would a new Wi-Fi network.

Turn on Internet Sharing on Windows Phone
On Windows Phone, this mobile hotspot feature is called, simple, "Internet Sharing" (don't you love how everyone has different names for the same things?). To start sharing your Windows Phone's cellular data over Wi-Fi, flick left to the App list from the Start screen, then go to Settings > Internet Sharing and turn the switch to on.

In the Internet sharing screen, you can change the network name, set the security to WPA2, and enter your own password

Turn on Mobile Hotspot on Your BlackBerry
Finally, BlackBerry users can share their mobile internet connection with up to five devices by going to Manage Connections > Wi-Fi > Mobile hotspot. By default, BlackBerry will require a password to secure the connection.

You can go to Options > Network and Connections > Mobile Hotspot Connections > Options to change the network name (SSID) and security type, and control, even more, details about the network, including wireless band (802.11g or 802.11b), allow or disallow data exchange between connected devices, and automatically shut down the network. See BlackBerry's help page for more details.

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