The best way to turn a wired Ethernet connection into a Wi-Fi signal that a group can share is with a wireless router, but sometimes that's just not possible.
What if you're stuck in a hotel room on the road? Or if you want to create a wireless network at midnight when all the stores are closed?
All major operating systems let you turn your computer into a Wi-Fi access point if it's equipped with built-in Wi-Fi, a Wi-Fi card or a Wi-Fi USB dongle. All you need is a Wi-Fi capability and a little know-how.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Open System Preferences in your dock or via the Apple menu. Click to open "Sharing" preferences.
Click on "Internet Sharing." In the "Share your connection from" drop-down menu, choose "Ethernet." In the "To computers using" box below that, choose "AirPort." AirPort is Apple's brand for Wi-Fi hardware and is synonymous with Wi-Fi.
Click on the "AirPort Options" button. In the subsequent dialogue box, click to activate "Enable encryption (using WEP)." Type a network password in the "Password" and "Confirm Password" fields. You want to do this so only those people to whom you tell the password can use your connection.
Click to put a check in the box next to "Internet Sharing" in the list on the left side of the panel. If asked, click the button to turn on your AirPort card. Click the "Start" button to start the network and close System Preferences.
Mac OS X
Click to open the "Start" menu, then click to open the Control Panel. In the Control Panel, click on "Network Connections."
Right-click the Ethernet network connection with which the computer accesses the Internet and click "Properties."
Click on the "Advanced" tab of the "Properties" dialogue box. Click to mark the box next to "Allow other network users to connect through this computer's Internet connection." Click the "OK" button to close the dialogue box. If a "Local Network" message box pops up with an explanation, click the "Yes" button to proceed.
Right-click on your wireless connection in "Network Connections." If the connection is disabled, you need to enable it. Right-click again if necessary and choose "Properties" in the right-click menu.
Select the "Wireless Networks" tab in the "Properties" dialogue box. Click the "Add" button in the "Preferred networks" region of the dialogue. This opens a dialogue box called "Wireless network properties."
Select the "Association" tab of the "Wireless network properties" dialogue. Type your choice of name for your Wi-Fi network in the "Network name (SSID)" field and check the "This is a computer-to-computer (ad hoc) network" box.
Ensure that the "The key is provided for me automatically" box at the bottom of the dialogue box remains unchecked.
Choose "Open" in the "Network Authentication" drop down menu and choose "WEP" in the "Data encryption" drop down menu.
Type your choice of password in the "Network key" and "Confirm network key" fields.
Click the "OK" button to save changes and close the "Wireless network properties" dialogue box. Click the "OK" button on the wireless network adaptor's "Properties" dialogue box.
Windows XP Service Pack 3
Download and install a free copy of Connectify.
Look for the Connectify logo in your notification tray and open it.
Give your network a name in the "WiFi Name" field. Type your choice of password in the "Passphrase" field. Choose the Ethernet connection you wish to share in the "Internet" drop down menu. Note that you can also share an incoming wireless connection.
Press the "Hotspot On" button to start sharing.
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