In typical fashion, Windows wizard Paul Thurrott once again strikes gold in a recent story from his SuperSite for Windows. Entitled “Use Wireless Hosted Networking to Share an Internet Connection Wirelessly” he explains how to set up and use Internet Connection Sharing in Windows 7 to create a virtual Wi-Fi network on an Internet-connected PC that can be shared with other devices fairly easily. The story explains the steps involved in sharing a Wi-Fi connection through the Network and Sharing center, followed by a sequence of wireless network shell (netsh wlan ...) commands to set up and start a wireless hosted network on the PC with the primary connection.
Even better, he goes on to describe a free utility called Connectify that automates this entire process with its own custom GUI (the command line is all well and good but it’s always easier and less prone to error with a GUI based utility), There is a catch, though, and Connectify can help with that too: this technique does not work with all Wi-Fi interfaces and, in fact, is more likely to work with newer than with older ones (for example my new HP dv6 with its Intel 6200 Centrino interface works fine, but my older Dell D620 with its Intel 3945 ABG does not). Be sure to check out Connectify’s list of compatible/incompatible devices before starting down this road with any particular notebook. It can (and will) save you the effort of trying when the concluded process won’t produce the desired results — namely, a shareable wireless network.
Check out the story, though: it’s definitely worth a read. Road warriors who want to share a Wi-Fi connection with a smartphone or other devices will find it pretty helpful, unless they’ve already purchased a compact, portable Wi-Fi gateway, or their notebook doesn’t sport a compatible Wi-Fi interface.