How to Turn a PC Into a Wireless Hotspot

by Kammy Pow

    Windows, Mac and Ubuntu PCs with wireless Internet connections can act as Wi-Fi hotspots by extending their Internet connection to other mobile devices within their range. Internet sharing can be a useful option for computers that sit just outside a router's coverage area. Internet sharing can also be a cost-effective solution for travelers purchasing temporary Internet access for one device, but who would like to extend that coverage to other mobile devices without incurring any additional surcharges. For some operating systems, an Ethernet connection in addition to the wireless connection must be available to tether other mobile devices.

    Enable Internet Sharing on Windows 7 PCs

    Step 1

    Click the "Start" button and click "Control Panel."

    Step 2

    Click "Network and Internet" and then open "Network and Sharing Center." Click on the link for "Change Adapter Settings."

    Step 3

    Right-click the network adapter you use to connect to the Internet and select "Properties."

    Step 4

    Click the "Sharing" tab. Check the box next to "Allow Other Network Users to Connect Through This Computer's Internet Connection." Click "OK."

    Step 5

    Click the "Start" button, type "cmd" in the search box and press "Enter."

    Step 6

    Type "netsh WLAN set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=MyNetworkName key=MyNetworkPassword" (without quotation marks), where "MyNetworkName" is the name you want to call this shared connection and "MyNetworkPassword" is the password you have assigned this connection. Press the "Enter" key.

    Step 7

    Type "netsh WLAN start hostednetwork" (without quotation marks) and press the "Enter" key. This command turns on the virtual adapter.

    Step 8

    Go to your other mobile devices and attempt to connect to the new network.

    Share an Internet Connection on a Mac

    Step 1

    Attach one end of the Cat-5 cable to the port on the Mac and plug the other end into an available data port. Connect to the Internet using the Ethernet port.

    Step 2

    Open "System Preferences" from the dock or select "System Preferences" from the "Applications" folder.

    Step 3

    Click "Internet & Wireless" and then the "Sharing" menu.

    Step 4

    Select "Internet Sharing" from the list and check "Internet Sharing" to turn on the feature.

    Step 5

    Select "Ethernet" from the drop-down list next to "Share Your Connection From." Select "WiFi" from the drop-down list next to "To Computers Using."

    Step 6

    Click the "WiFi Options" button to configure Internet Sharing mode.

    Step 7

    Type the network name and password in the dialog box and click "OK."

    Step 8

    Connect the other mobile devices to the new network, using the network username and password you just assigned.

    Internet Connection Sharing on PCs Running Ubuntu 9.10 and Higher

    Step 1

    Log on to your computer.

    Step 2

    Open "System" from the top bar.

    Step 3

    Select "Preferences" and then "Network Connections."

    Step 4

    Select "Auto eth0" in the "Network Connections" dialog box and click "Edit," assuming that "eth0" is a free ethernet port and you are connected to the Internet via another port. This opens a new tab.

    Step 5

    Click the "IPv4 Settings" tab and change "Method" to "Shared to Other Computers."

    Step 6

    Close the dialog box and restart the computer.

    Step 7

    Attach the second computer to the first using the Cat-5 network cable or connect via the first computer's wireless card.

    Tips

    • For computers running Ubuntu 9.10 and higher, check that masquerading is enabled.
    • When you are done sharing your Internet connection with other mobile devices, make sure you disable the connection so you are able to connect to the Internet again.

    Warnings

    • When you extend Internet capabilities to other computers within range, use WEP security to prevent others from viewing or editing your files over an open connection. Also, turn off Internet sharing when you no longer need to use it.

    Required Items

    • Cat-5 network cable (for Mac or Ubuntu)

    About the Author

    Kammy Pow studied biological sciences at the University of California Irvine. She spent 13 years as a programmer for the financial, medical research, and healthcare sectors. She has been freelancing since 2005 and currently writes health-care related material and pens the occasional review for Southern California altweeklies.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images