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 (opens in new tab), 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) (opens in new tab)".
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.