How To Share Your Windows Internet Connection With Any WiFi Device using Virtual Router
How 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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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