What is the best way to set up WiFi on mom’s desktop while home for the holidays?

David D September 23, 2013
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My mom does not need a WiFi router for anything. But when Thanksgiving comes, and family is in town, grand-kids and grown-kids have their laptops and iPads.

What’s the best way to set up WiFi while there?

Anything other than just taking a WiFi router, setting it up, then taking it down? If that is the way to go, any advice/suggestions?

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  1. Dalsan M
    September 24, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    If there are going to be several people connecting wirelessly, then setting up a wireless router temporarily would probably be best. Trying to broadcast Wi-Fi from a computer to several other devices would be more difficult, and the range would be relatively short compared to a wireless router. Just make sure to get a decent router and set it up for decent security, ie. WPA2 with a strong password, the firewall is on, and probably disable the broadcast of the SSID (drive-by hackers or people wanting to steal Internet access may be higher during the holidays, so it is best to take precautions). You can set up the router at any time before going to your mother's house so all that has to be done is plug the router in, connect the cables, and pass out the network information.

    If you wish to try to create an ad-hoc network for temporary use, here is a guide for Windows based computers (the computer creating the network must have a wireless adapter installed in order to work): https://windowssecrets.com/newsletter/setting-up-a-temporary-ad-hoc-network/. There is much more work involved, and would have limitations to what can and cannot be done. Some devices do not behave well with ad-hoc networks.

    I would check out your mother's computer and see what may be shared over the network, and make adjustments accordingly. Family or not, you do not want anyone to access personal information or private files.

  2. Oron J
    September 24, 2013 at 10:10 am

    I don't quite see the problem. Does she currently have a WiFi router? If so, you could either leave it working (with a nice, secure password, of course) or disable the WiFi on the router and enable it during Thanksgiving (assuming the first people to come can do that).

    If she doesn't currently have a WiFi router, you could connect a WiFi Access point to the router and add WiFi that way. There are special WiFi access points which are made for that purpose (e.g. TP-Link N45QL) but many routers can double up for that role too.
    Another possibility would be to share WiFi access via her computer. If she doesn't have a WiFi card (by the sound of it, she doesn't), you can buy a USB WiFi adapter for a few dollars from eBay and plug it in, they work very well. You then need to run Internet Connection Sharing (see http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows-vista/using-ics-internet-connection-sharing for details), or Connectify (http://www.connectify.me/, which costs some money but is easier to use and more flexible. The problem with this approach is that her computer will need to be up and running at for others to access the internet.

    Personally I think the best route is to set her up with a wireless router. It's so much simpler than the alternatives, and will cost little more than the other options, if at all.

    Happ Thanksgiving!