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share your wifi connectionHow many WiFi devices do you own? I own three myself – my iPad, iPod, and Android smartphone – but only my smartphone is capable of reaching the Internet without a WiFi connection. If I didn’t own a wireless router or I was someplace that only offered a plug-in connection, I would be out of luck with these devices.

That’s not the case with Virtual Router. Virtual Router essentially turns any Windows 7 (or Windows 2008 R2) computer into a WiFi hotspot using Windows 7’s Wireless Hosted Network (Virtual WiFi) technology. It’s really simple to set up and it works well, so if you’re looking for a way to create a secure wireless hotspot using your laptop, you’re in luck.

What Is Virtual Router?

Virtual Router is a free, open source software based router for PCs running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2.

Using Virtual Router, you will be able to wirelessly share any Internet connection, whether it’s WiFi, LAN, cable modem, cellular, or even dial-up, with any WiFi-enabled device, like laptops, smartphones, netbooks, iPods, iPads, wireless printers, etc. These devices will connect to Virtual Router just like any other access point, and the connection will be secured using WPA2 encryption, which is considered the most secure type of wireless security.

Virtual Router can be used anywhere. It’s completely free, has no ads, and it does not track your web traffic. As I just mentioned, the wireless network created or shared with the program uses WPA2 encryption, which cannot be turned off. This feature is actually built into Windows 7 and 2008 R2’s wireless hosted network API to ensure maximum security.

How Does It Work?

As I mentioned earlier, Virtual Router “makes use of” Windows 7’s Wireless Hosted Network aka Virtual WiFi technology”. Okay, so what’s that?

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Since 2002, Microsoft has been looking for a way to virtualize the WiFi adapter, turning a single piece of hardware and radio into virtually unlimited adapters. Years later, all that research worked its way into Windows 7’s networking capabilities.

In essence, Virtual WiFi works very similarly to how virtualization works for operating systems. There is a transparent sharing of limited hardware resources to many operating systems. Virtual WiFi, therefore, is a software layer that abstracts the wireless LAN card hardware into multiple virtual adapters. The result is an operating system that acts like you have multiple WLAN adapters working independently, even though you only have one.

How Do I Use Virtual Router?

share your internet connection

Using the application is extremely simple. Just head over to Virtual Router’s homepage and click the Download button off to the right. Download, install, and run the application to start using it.

When you open Virtual Router up, you’ll see the first and only window you’ll need to start broadcasting a wireless signal.

share your internet connection

You can change the network’s SSID to whatever you’d like it to read when users locate the connection on their devices, and you can set the password to anything you like, as long as it’s at least 8 digits.

share your internet connection

Then all you have to do is select which connection you would like to share from the drop-down menu (Local Area Connection or Wireless Network Connection) and click the Start Virtual Router button to start your connection.

share your wifi connection

Now you should be able to see your newly created connection on your WiFi devices. Just type in the password you set and you will officially be connected to the Internet.

For such a simple program, Virtual Router really comes in handy at times. I was very impressed with how easy it was to use and how well it worked. What do you think of this application?

Image Credit: Macs Peter

  1. SHASHI KUMAR
    December 22, 2015 at 6:35 am

    CAN I SHARE INTERNET FROM MY WINDOWS XP (2002 VERSION ) TO ANDROID MOBILE? PLEASE TELL ME HOW CAN I TRANSFER

  2. Alex Georgiev
    November 6, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    Hello, the program works fine with Win7, I have used cmd scripts before using it, but I have a small issue. When I use the internet from the Wifi dongle, some programs on my phone won't work /they need to sync huge data/.
    i guess such programs see that there is a virtual router and thus no connection could be made.
    May I make the virtual router "Transparent" (so no hops are counted?)
    Thanks in advance.

  3. immi
    May 7, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    *Confusions Confusions*

    By Multiple adapters I assume more than one WIFI Connection that client devices can opt from.. Right?

    How can we turn a single RADIO into multiple adapters?
    Won't there be any sort of interference among the signals from different adapters?
    Or does this feature has any advanced settings where frequency range for each of the virtual adapter is selected(like its done in Physical Radios with more than one antenna)? Also, is the hardware(WIFI Radio) capable of supporting multiple adapters at a single time??? I mean there are some Antenna Limitations.

    Please comment.

    *A Confused Telecommunications Engineering Student*

    Thank You.

  4. umesh
    May 6, 2015 at 8:24 am

    y cant play youtube videos on my android phone while using internet of my PC with the help of virtual router manager?

  5. siva
    April 15, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    the group or resourse is not in the correct state to perform the requested operation

    i am getting this message sir pplz help me

  6. Prolay
    April 3, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Sir,
    As i have installed Virtual Router Manager v.1.0 on window 7 (ultimate) to share my desktop usb dongle internet with my smartphone but its not working........... Though i don't have any wifi... Showing message below: (Can not manage virtual Router. The service is not running..) What may b the prblm??? Please help me...

  7. Khalfan
    March 27, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    Just a wonderful little program !!

  8. BM
    February 8, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    This software is great! I used it with a wireless usb adapter (TP-Link TL-WN725N) to turn my Win7 PC wired-LAN internet connection into a wifi network. Successfully connected a windows phone8 device to the hotspot. Very simple to install and set-up, and I like the fact it displays a list of connected devices. Bye-bye hardware router.

  9. curi
    January 30, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    to select shared connections it is showing none only even i have connected with internet

  10. khin phone
    January 13, 2015 at 5:55 am

    Does it works with Widows Xp ?

  11. Steve
    January 6, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    there is more to it then these instructions and I am no dummy. I have windows 7 and the connection doesnt allow for my chrome book to access the connection. Are there more specific instructions that I could use to trouble shoot why?

  12. Sadart
    December 25, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Late over here but thanks a million times. Getting of my router which is glued to a cheating network today and the guide here has got my devices still connected to my modem -sweet network- connection.

  13. Faunce Cynthia Marie Zepeda
    May 18, 2011 at 5:26 am

     omg thank you so much! i have been looking for something like this for a while and i love it! i have a broadband usb and i wanted to connect my ps3 to my laptop's internet, since a bridge wasnt working with an ethernet cable, i sorta just gave up. but then i came across this article and, well, thank you so much!

    • Steve Campbell
      May 18, 2011 at 12:45 pm

      Thanks, Faunce. Happy to help! 

  14. jimmy
    April 30, 2011 at 7:05 am

    Does it works with Widows Xp ?

    • Tina
      April 30, 2011 at 11:37 pm

      Jimmy,

      I'm afraid Virtual Router is available for Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 only.

      • Steve Campbell
        May 1, 2011 at 10:40 pm

        Thanks for your help, Tina!

  15. Bill G
    February 27, 2011 at 5:11 am

    Mike says: Virtual WiFi is different from Internet Connection Sharing for example you can use a single (physical) WiFi Adapter to do both connect to one network and share to or create another.

    But that CAN be done on a mac as well -- I can share wi-fi with wi-fi. Single adapter doing both things.

  16. Zaiman Noris
    February 24, 2011 at 2:34 am

    better interface than connectify.

  17. Kieran Madden
    February 23, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Interesting article, although having followed this ( http://www.blogsdna.com/5506/how-to-setup-virtual-wifi-in-windows-7-without-any-extra-software.htm ) I'm not sure what this software does that can't be done with a couple of fairly easy commands in Command Prompt though - and once this has been done, I think it has to be undone for this software to work properly.

    Anyway, I'm trying to use virtual wifi so my PC can act as a wireless VPN router between the Internet and my PS3. My plan is to run an SSL VPN using OpenVPN on my PC, connected to the internet using my main wifi adapter. My PC would then connect to my home network - namely my PS3 - via a wifi adapter.

    Trouble is, I can't even get internet connection sharing working without the VPN running, never mind with it running. Does anyone have any ideas? I'm running Windows 7 64-bit and an old ASUS P5DH motherboard with onboard Realtek RTL8187 wifi adapter.

    I did manage to get sharing working using a PPTP VPN, but it's too slow - and it was different as the item to be shared was the VPN itself, not the wireless network adapter. I wonder whether the system (or the aged wifi driver/hardware) doesn't like the same device basically being shared between itself?

  18. Kieran Madden
    February 23, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    Interesting article, although having followed this ( http://www.blogsdna.com/5506/h... ) I'm not sure what this software does that can't be done with a couple of fairly easy commands in Command Prompt though - and once this has been done, I think it has to be undone for this software to work properly.

    Anyway, I'm trying to use virtual wifi so my PC can act as a wireless VPN router between the Internet and my PS3. My plan is to run an SSL VPN using OpenVPN on my PC, connected to the internet using my main wifi adapter. My PC would then connect to my home network - namely my PS3 - via a wifi adapter.

    Trouble is, I can't even get internet connection sharing working without the VPN running, never mind with it running. Does anyone have any ideas? I'm running Windows 7 64-bit and an old ASUS P5DH motherboard with onboard Realtek RTL8187 wifi adapter.

    I did manage to get sharing working using a PPTP VPN, but it's too slow - and it was different as the item to be shared was the VPN itself, not the wireless network adapter. I wonder whether the system (or the aged wifi driver/hardware) doesn't like the same device basically being shared between itself?

  19. Bill G
    February 22, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    MacOS X (and even system 9!) has that built in -- just share your internet connection however you wish in the Sharing preference panel. Nothing to download -- it just works out of the box.

    • Mike
      February 22, 2011 at 9:18 pm

      Simply sharing the connection [as in Mac OS X Sharing Preferences] from one adapter to another is possible at least since Windows XP. All you have to do is select both Adapters and create a Network Bridge.

      Virtual WiFi is different from Internet Connection Sharing for example you can use a single (physical) WiFi Adapter to do both connect to one network and share to or create another.

      • Steve Campbell
        February 22, 2011 at 9:48 pm

        Appreciate the clarification, Mike. Users should find this information helpful. Thanks!

      • Bill G
        February 27, 2011 at 4:11 am

        Mike says: Virtual WiFi is different from Internet Connection Sharing for example you can use a single (physical) WiFi Adapter to do both connect to one network and share to or create another.

        But that CAN be done on a mac as well -- I can share wi-fi with wi-fi. Single adapter doing both things.

    • Steve Campbell
      February 22, 2011 at 9:49 pm

      Your last name isn't Gates, is it Bill? ;)

      • Bill G
        February 27, 2011 at 4:13 am

        Not unless Mr. Gates secretly runs a mac in his basement :-) (Hey, I run several OS's, why not him?)

  20. Mike
    February 22, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Simply sharing the connection [as in Mac OS X Sharing Preferences] from one adapter to another is possible at least since Windows XP. All you have to do is select both Adapters and create a Network Bridge.

    Virtual WiFi is different from Internet Connection Sharing for example you can use a single (physical) WiFi Adapter to do both connect to one network and share to or create another.

  21. Mike
    February 22, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Just wanted to add that Windows 7 actually supports some Virtual WiFi types by default.
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd815243(v=vs.85).aspx

    The research done by Microsoft for Virtual WiFi is pretty cool. Some of the possible scenarios are using a single WiFi Adapter to
    - connect to multiple different Wireless LANs (I think they limited it to 2)
    - connect to one Wireless LAN and share the connection creating a Virtual AP
    - share any other connection (e.g. wired) by creating a Virtual AP

  22. Mike
    February 22, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    Just wanted to add that Windows 7 actually supports some Virtual WiFi types by default.
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-u...

    The research done by Microsoft for Virtual WiFi is pretty cool. Some of the possible scenarios are using a single WiFi Adapter to
    - connect to multiple different Wireless LANs (I think they limited it to 2)
    - connect to one Wireless LAN and share the connection creating a Virtual AP
    - share any other connection (e.g. wired) by creating a Virtual AP

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