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Windows 7 Turn Laptops into Wi-Fi Hotspots

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 39 comments

Connectify takes control of Windows 7's Virtual Wi-Fi feature and turns the laptop into a hotspot.

PC Advisor reports that Philadelphia developer Nomadio has discovered an unfinished Windows 7 feature (Virtual Wi-Fi) that can turn a laptop into a Wi-Fi hotspot. That means other devices in the near vicinity can access the Internet without the need for special tunneling software. The company has now exploited the uncovered treasure and created a free application called Connectify, released just last week.

Microsoft's research group originally began development of Virtual Wi-Fi years ago; the feature would take a network card and virtually split it into several, separate adaptors. However, Microsoft halted its development back in 2006, but apparently never removed the feature from the operating system. Now it appears in Windows 7 as "Native 802.11 Virtual Wireless Fidelity (Virtual Wi-Fi) object identifiers (OIDs)".

Alex Gizis, CEO of Nomadio, told PC Advisor that driver support for Virtual Wi-Fi was never finished. With that said, the driver-level "stuff" isn't present, however the "low-level code" is still intact. There's also no application or setting to turn the feature on. Naturally, this is where Connectify comes in.

But Gizis was quick to point out that the software differs from Internet connection sharing. "For one thing, it shows up as a real wireless access point," Gizis said. "Two, internet connection sharing has issues. It returns to the default settings every time you shut down a connection. And three, you can join another wireless network and still run the Connectify Hotspot on the same Wi-Fi card."

Head to the official Connectify website to learn more about making your Windows 7 laptop an Internet hotspot.

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  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , October 31, 2009 12:05 AM
    Didn't Toms already cover news of this 'feature'?
    I remember reading an article about it, cause my first thought was 'Hey, now I can use the virtual wifi to conquer my apartment complex' various routers, and combine their connections to get better throughput :3
  • -1 Hide
    HibyPrime , October 31, 2009 12:06 AM
    And three, you can join another wireless network and still run the Connectify Hotspot on the same Wi-Fi card.

    This is the money maker here. Any laptop can now be used a signal extender, basically.

    Possibly even more important, you don't need a wireless router if you have a desktop near the modem, just plug the modem directly into the PC, and boom, WiFi router.
  • -4 Hide
    makotech222 , October 31, 2009 12:19 AM
    just because its connected doesnt mean it emits a wireless signal. you need a wi-fi card to do that lol
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , October 31, 2009 12:32 AM
    It reminds me of software that enables people's wifi cards to connect to multiple wireless networks,and adhoc computers!

    Didn't you need one network card for an 'adhoc' network, and one other to connect to the internet, or can you with one and the same card be connected to a wifi, while sending wifi signal to the pc/laptops?
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , October 31, 2009 1:50 AM
    How can someone discover something that was already discussed previously concerning Windows 7, not only here, but on other websites?

    One 802.11 adapter (Built in or Wi-Fi card)
    = 1 Wi-Fi adapter
    + 1 Virtual Wi-Fi Adapter which can act as an access point.

    The only new thing here is the Connectify software from Nomadio.
  • -4 Hide
    ossie , October 31, 2009 2:22 AM
    HostAP (hostapd) is available for ages on penguins. m$ can't ever get something right, especially on established standards... Maybe only if they could impose a new "widely accepted standard" (about 85% of luser base)?
  • -9 Hide
    Atticah , October 31, 2009 2:30 AM
    how much is the laptop?
  • 0 Hide
    tektek , October 31, 2009 3:38 AM
    MS will eventually sue him .. of course let him bring out the news.. hype it up.. make millions from sales.. so he can eventually bring it back to them .. then again.. they did create it.. this will be fun to keep track of.
  • -1 Hide
    Neog2 , October 31, 2009 5:55 AM
    DUDE this was released and talked about months ago in the RC Beta.
    It was the big thing and if i remember the orginal article i read
    said that all windows 7 new wifi adapters had to support mutiple
    connections. It was to allow mesh networks. I forget what microsoft
    calls the actual term. But Its on there knowledge base, and was on
    the net months ago. Atleast 2 months ago.
  • 0 Hide
    Drag0nR1der , October 31, 2009 11:49 AM
    tektekMS will eventually sue him .. of course let him bring out the news.. hype it up.. make millions from sales.. so he can eventually bring it back to them .. then again.. they did create it.. this will be fun to keep track of.


    Somehow I don't think they will, I cant think of any instance where they slapped a devloper for increasing the functionality of windows, after all they never stopped software like tweakUI, object desktop, mermory managers and other windows optimisation/customisation apps which tapped in to 'features' or code unavailable through the standard interface. Besides if the code was part of any sent as part of a developer kit then I dont think they even have recourse to.
  • 0 Hide
    jkcajkca , October 31, 2009 12:23 PM
    how much is the laptop?

    dude... are you even reading??????
  • 1 Hide
    jkcajkca , October 31, 2009 12:24 PM
    Atticahhow much is the laptop?


    dude... are you even reading??????

    *forgot about the citation there
  • 0 Hide
    Regulas , October 31, 2009 12:54 PM
    I wonder if this will be exploited to create a security vulnerability for people using WiFi and 7. Sitting there in a coffee shop and a hacker can exploit you through the hot spot hole.
  • -1 Hide
    victorgolf , October 31, 2009 6:25 PM
    I saw it a disable it, and it did not affected the real connection
  • -1 Hide
    cookoy , October 31, 2009 9:50 PM
    if others connect to the internet through your virtual wi-fi, can the data traffic be saved and looked at later on?
  • -1 Hide
    oczdude8 , October 31, 2009 11:41 PM
    HibyPrimeAnd three, you can join another wireless network and still run the Connectify Hotspot on the same Wi-Fi card.This is the money maker here. Any laptop can now be used a signal extender, basically.Possibly even more important, you don't need a wireless router if you have a desktop near the modem, just plug the modem directly into the PC, and boom, WiFi router.

    well, your desktop would need a wireless adapter...
    might as well spend that money on a router so you dont have to have you pc on to use ur laptop.
  • 1 Hide
    False_Dmitry_II , November 1, 2009 4:04 AM
    You can do this in about three clicks in ubuntu linux. Although you may need to use the ethernet for the actual internet connection.

    I'd be wary about lag when bouncing a signal using the same device like that anyway.
  • -2 Hide
    ano , November 1, 2009 5:53 AM
    ossieHostAP (hostapd) is available for ages on penguins. m$ can't ever get something right, especially on established standards... Maybe only if they could impose a new "widely accepted standard" (about 85% of luser base)?


    i have never seen a reasonable Linux fan in my life! what is wrong with you people?! why are so angry about microsoft?!!

    what's the problem here? what is wrong about this news?! if you can, if you know anything about operating systems, please enlighten us!
  • -3 Hide
    ossie , November 1, 2009 12:03 PM
    anoi have never seen a reasonable Linux fan in my life! what is wrong with you people?! why are so angry about microsoft?!!what's the problem here? what is wrong about this news?! if you can, if you know anything about operating systems, please enlighten us!

    Maybe because they got rid of the gamer/drm o$ idiosyncrasies, and are sick of wintarded m$ fankiddies... Microsuxx "networking" is a prime example.
    Half a year ago, m$ marketingdroids, and media ad pu$hers, drummed about the wonderful new virtual Wi-Fi "feature, not a bug", as the latest and greatest achievement in $even's networking, to just drop it dead (apparently years ago, but magically resuscitated, and again left unfinished) in the final version of vi$hta sp2+lipstick.
    "Since 2002, Microsoft Research has been exploring a fascinating idea to virtualize the WiFi adapter, turning a single piece of hardware and radio into virtually (pun) unlimited adapters. Years after the project was seemingly abandoned, it is now uncovered Virtual WiFi technology has been baked into the Windows 7 networking foundations."
    There is no such blatant false advertising in the penguin world...
    After you'll use a *nix system, you'll never ask stupid questions again.
  • -2 Hide
    littlec , November 1, 2009 10:42 PM
    I concur ossie is a moron/hater. I have no practical use for this myself, in fact I am concerned at the potentials to exploit this feature.
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