Thursday, July 1, 2010

Turn Your Laptop into a Hotspot

Happy National Wi-Fi Week!

Actually, it’s not really a national thing yet, but here at berryjooks headquarters we like to kick off the summer vacation season by celebrating those little invisible radio waves that bring us all of that Internet goodness we crave when we’re unplugged and roaming.

We’re going to share a couple of tips with you this week, and we’re going to start with something simple, wirelessly sharing a single Internet connection between multiple computers.

There are two types of Wi-Fi connections; infrastructure and ad-hoc. An infrastructure connection is when you connect to the Internet via a Wi-Fi enabled router or a WAP (Wireless Access Point). An ad-hoc connection is a peer to peer (laptop to laptop) wireless connection that runs solely over the laptop’s Wi-Fi radios, no external hardware is involved. This can be a great tool for file sharing amongst a group when there’s no network available, or if there is a wired Internet connection available, you can take it a step further and enable Internet sharing on one of the laptops and use it as a WAP or Hotspot.

I had a friend ask how to set this up at their vacation cottage the other day, and rather than try to give them a tutorial, I did a quick Google search and found the excellent video below on CNET. It walks you through set up on Windows XP, Vista and Mac OSX, and it even discusses how some PC’s are set to shut down their radios when a wired connection is present and how to get around this.

Note: This video was made before the release of Windows 7, but the Vista instructions will work for 7 also.

Pretty neat, huh?

That's it for now. Later this week I’m going to show you how you can dumb down wireless routers and use them as WAPs to increase your wireless coverage in a large home or office, so stay tuned!

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