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Windows 7 to Turn Your Wi-Fi Card Into Two

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 36 comments

Windows 7 will turn your single Wi-Fi card into two. Magic!

One of the things that we love most about Windows 7 right now is the much-improved taskbar. But as much as we love it, it’s not allowing us to do anything radically different than from before. Much of what we’ve reported about Windows 7 centers around small tweaks and changes that make us enjoy our computing experience more, but now we’ve learned about something that could change the way that we use our portable computers.

According to istartedsomething.com, Microsoft has been researching since 2002, a technology that would allow a wireless adaptor to appear as more than just the single piece of hardware that it is.

Windows 7 will allow through clever virtualization software a single Wi-Fi card to appear as two. For the way that most of us use Wi-Fi today, this doesn’t sound like a big deal – but with two ‘virtual’ adapters, now we can connect to two hotspots at once.

The revolutionary part comes in when you want to use one virtual Wi-Fi adapter to connect to a hotspot and the other one to share the connection with other laptops. This could be useful for paid connections at public places such as hotels. Only one paid-internet pass would be needed, which can then be shared through the second virtualized adapter. You could even take it a step further by using the second adapter as a repeater.

The feature is already integrated into Windows 7, but the reason why we’re not all running virtualized adapters now is because there needs to be specific drivers written to take advantage of the feature.

Microsoft’s documentation reads:

“On Windows 7 and later, the operating system installs a virtual device if a Hosted Network capable wireless adapter is present on the machine. This virtual device normally shows up in the “Network Connections Folder” as ‘Wireless Network Connection 2’ with a Device Name of ‘Microsoft Virtual WiFi Miniport adapter’ if the computer has a single wireless network adapter. This virtual device is used exclusively for performing software access point (SoftAP) connections [...]. The lifetime of this virtual device is tied to the physical wireless adapter. If the physical wireless adapter is disabled, this virtual device will be removed as well.”

Support for virtual wireless adapters is supposed to be part of the Windows 7 driver certification program, so hopefully we’ll be rocking dual Wi-Fi soon.

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  • 1 Hide
    leafblower29 , May 19, 2009 8:51 PM
    Quote:
    but with two ‘virtual’ adapters, now we can connect to two hotspots at once.


    Cool! I always wondered how that could be done.
  • Display all 36 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    Zoonie , May 19, 2009 9:13 PM
    I think this is great. Any useful feature is a good feature!
  • 4 Hide
    tenor77 , May 19, 2009 9:24 PM
    Wi-Fi Mitosis? Where's my tin foil hat?????

    Awesome idea, but you've still got a bottleneck in data transfer rates. Still hard to knock. Don't like it, don't use it.
  • 0 Hide
    ses27 , May 19, 2009 9:30 PM
    didn't OLPC do this with there system
    Computers chaining to each other to get to hot spot
  • 6 Hide
    Harby , May 19, 2009 9:31 PM
    hellwigSo you're saying this is pretty much only useful for cheating businesses out of money by stealing internet access for your friends? How many people in your hotel room need to access the internet at one time anyway? And if you're on a business trip, shouldn't your employer cover the cost of internet access if its necessary for business. And what hotels are you staying at that charge you for internet access? Airports, truckstops, etc... might be another matter, but hotels?Ah, now there's a good, law-abiding use. Rather than wire a WAP to another part of your house (why are Linksys WAPs more expensive than their routers?), use the computer that sits inbetween, assuming its on all the time.


    Take a chill pill, are you a hotel owner or something?
  • -3 Hide
    kelfen , May 19, 2009 9:46 PM
    hellwigSo you're saying this is pretty much only useful for cheating businesses out of money by stealing internet access for your friends? How many people in your hotel room need to access the internet at one time anyway? And if you're on a business trip, shouldn't your employer cover the cost of internet access if its necessary for business. And what hotels are you staying at that charge you for internet access? Airports, truckstops, etc... might be another matter, but hotels?Ah, now there's a good, law-abiding use. Rather than wire a WAP to another part of your house (why are Linksys WAPs more expensive than their routers?), use the computer that sits inbetween, assuming its on all the time.

    theres something called security you should look it up; aka password on wireless connection
  • 1 Hide
    pharge , May 19, 2009 10:25 PM
    I wish I can have 2 physical WiFi cards (G/N)on my laptop and double my WiFi speed...lol

    Guess that will never happen...>_
  • -1 Hide
    wkcar , May 19, 2009 10:55 PM
    So theoretically, if I'm connected to a network that limits bandwidth to like 1.5 MBit/s per connection, can I create a virtualized card to connect to that same network to have twice the speed to download files/surf the net? or is this just limited to using the network and creating ad-hoc connections at the same time?
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , May 19, 2009 11:06 PM
    FINALLY!! I have been trying to figure out how this very concept could be implemented! I am looking forward to using win7 even more now. With my A/B/G/N wireless adapter I should in theory have more control over the wireless radios to use for surveys and other such tasks.
    On a more darker note... now I can properly deploy my 'Leech-Box' at the apartment complex. 50mb down ftw! XD
  • 1 Hide
    twisted politiks , May 19, 2009 11:43 PM
    hellwigSo you're saying this is pretty much only useful for cheating businesses out of money by stealing internet access for your friends? How many people in your hotel room need to access the internet at one time anyway? And if you're on a business trip, shouldn't your employer cover the cost of internet access if its necessary for business. And what hotels are you staying at that charge you for internet access? Airports, truckstops, etc... might be another matter, but hotels?Ah, now there's a good, law-abiding use. Rather than wire a WAP to another part of your house (why are Linksys WAPs more expensive than their routers?), use the computer that sits inbetween, assuming its on all the time.



    almost all decent hotels charge for internet nowadays, because they know people will pay for it. last time i stayed at a hotel they charged me $40/24-hours for sub par dsl connection, that was shared btw. so i really dont think they are "just paying off" their internet connection, unless they are dumb enough to pay for outrageously expensive T1.
  • 0 Hide
    bachok83 , May 20, 2009 1:59 AM
    it would be nice if Microsoft add the support to Windows Media Player that one can play music on say 'notebook' and Media Player streams the sound to another PC (entertainment system, where ur speakers are hooked up).
  • 0 Hide
    joex444 , May 20, 2009 2:30 AM
    bachok83it would be nice if Microsoft add the support to Windows Media Player that one can play music on say 'notebook' and Media Player streams the sound to another PC (entertainment system, where ur speakers are hooked up).


    Maybe I'm not reading you correctly, but they have. You have two PCs networked together, on one you enable media sharing (something built into Vista and thus Win 7) with your collection of music. On the other, you will see both the source PC and a media device for that PC -- this latter one contains the source PC's music. You simply play the audio files on the PC connected to the speakers, and that decodes it. It sounds like you wanted the source to decode and then stream the sound, an impossible feat; it can stream the encoded files for the host to decode and send to the entertainment system however. This is only slightly more complicated in XP, if you haven't used Vista.
  • 0 Hide
    hemelskonijn , May 20, 2009 3:51 AM
    This could potentially be awesome since with some nice software you could create a huge mesh network specially in area's that have loads of laptops.

    Imagine sitting in the grass half a mile from college playing world of warcraft thanks to all the people in between reading their email.

    The software would have to be really complex and awesome though and even so it would require a lot of people to take part in the network to actually make the above scenario possible.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , May 20, 2009 5:16 AM
    Oh, this is just great!

    "Welcome to the Man-In-The-Middle Attack Wizard. Click on the NEXT button to begin the network card configuration."

    Just what we need at airports and cafe's now.
  • -8 Hide
    ossie , May 20, 2009 8:23 AM
    Wow! m$ has di$covered something that was available in hostAP & co., for how many years?
    TH on m$ a$$ licking tour... actually, how high is m$ ad revenue right now?

    A $0ft damper for the overenthu$ia$tic m$ fanboy crowd:
    "On Windows 7 and later, the operating system installs a virtual device if a Hosted Network capable wireless adapter is present on the machine."
  • 2 Hide
    gesha , May 20, 2009 11:01 AM
    @ossie

    get a life
  • 0 Hide
    rodney_ws , May 20, 2009 1:04 PM
    I don't see how this will cheat hotels/hot spots out of anything. I'm sure they already limit bandwidth to a certain level... and it's not like this would increase that cap. It'd just be splitting that cap among multiple clients.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , May 20, 2009 1:49 PM
    There is so many things wrong with this...
    1) Man-in-the-middle
    2) Reliability
    3) Ping
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