Connectify turns your laptop into a personal wireless hotspot. Windows makes this possible, but makes you disconnect from Wi-Fi and connect with a wired connection to do it. Connectify actually lets you run a Wi-Fi hotspot while you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network, so you don’t have to get that network cable out.
Have you ever been at an airport or hotel that charges for Wi-Fi on a per-device basis? Do you frequently travel and find yourself entering Wi-Fi network information in all your devices at every coffee shop? Maybe you just want to share your network with friends and send files back and forth, or extend the range of an existing Wi-Fi network without buying additional hardware. Connectify makes this all possible.
Creating Your Hotspot
Connectify has a simple, easy-to-use interface, with one tab for configuring your hotspot and another for viewing connected clients. From the Settings tab, you can set your hotspot’s name and password, select the Internet connection you want to share and start your hotspot.
The basic features are available in Connectify Lite, but Connectify Pro offers more goodies at $39.99. Connectify Lite users are limited to hotspot names starting with “Connectify-“, while Pro users can set any name they want. Connectify Pro can also automatically determine the best Internet connection to share, as well as sharing Internet from a USB dongle or 3G/4G card over Wi-Fi.
Hidden behind the Advanced Settings drop-down, you’ll find settings for changing your network’s encryption and managing its firewall. You can disallow access to the Internet if you only want to permit local file sharing, or disallow access to the local network if you want to share an Internet connection without sharing your local network. These firewall settings are only for Connectify Pro users.
Connecting Your Devices
After starting your hotspot, you can connect to it from all your Wi-Fi-enabled devices. You’ll see each connected device on the Clients tab.
You can right-click a device to disable Internet or local network access for it, even if you’re a Connectify Lite user. You can also use the Rename option to name the device if Connectify doesn’t detect a good name for it.
Services & Connectify Peers
If you’ve used previous versions of Connectify, you’ll find that Connectify 3.3 simplifies the Services feature. Instead of offering an additional Services tab, Connectify displays each service attached to its device in the Clients pane. You can see the services each device is offering, such as Windows file sharing and iTunes music libraries. Connectify Pro users can easily connect to the services from here.
Connectify 3.3 also introduces the Connectify Peers feature. Any computers running Connectify on the local network, whether they’re connected to your hotspot or not, appear in this list. You can browse their services and transfer files.
Drag-and-Drop Wi-Fi File Transfers
New in Connectify 3.3 is an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop Wi-Fi file transfer feature. Drag and drop files onto a device running Connectify in the Clients pane and Connectify will send them a file. They’ll be prompted to accept or deny the file transfer. You can use this to transfer files of any size, but Connectify Lite users are limited to one file transfer per day.
If the other device isn’t running Connectify, Connectify will provide you with a link to a local web page. The other user can connect to the web page, which is running on your laptop, and download the file. The page also provides a link to download Connectify, so you can send files more easily in the future.
This also works with computers not connected to Wi-Fi at all. If you’re running Connectify on your desktop computer, you can drag and drop files back and forth from the Connectify Peers list in the Clients pane.
Extending a Wi-Fi Network
Connectify can also function as a Wi-Fi repeater, extending a wireless network’s range. You can use it to extend Wi-Fi throughout a building or even out into your backyard. Click the Connectify menu button, point to Easy Setup and use the Clone Wi-Fi Settings option to get started.
Select the existing Wi-Fi network you want to extend and Connectify will function as a repeater instead of creating a new hotspot. This feature is only for Connectify Pro users.
Download Connectify to get started and experience Connectify for yourself.