How to share internet connection from Windows 8.1 via Wi-Fi enabled laptop?

In my earlier post, I blogged about how to share internet connection using a small USB Wi-Fi adapter here. The device is small and cheap. It is best suited for sharing internet connection from a desktop computer to other wireless devices such as laptop and phones.

Today, let's talk about how to share internet connection on your Wi-Fi enabled laptop to other devices. Basically we want to create an Access Point (AP) on our laptop that other devices can connect to to access internet.

On earlier versions of Windows we could create ad-hoc wireless connections between computers but it is no longer possible in Windows 8.1 using a visual interface. We have to rely on the good old command prompt to do so.

What you need for this example:
1. An internet connection to a Wi-Fi enabled laptop
2. Other Wi-Fi enabled devices such as another laptop or mobile device

Step 1: Create a virtual Wi-Fi network on Windows 8.1

  • Run Command Prompt as an "Administrator"
If you are not sure where to find "Command Prompt, press the Windows Start button and type "Command Prompt".
The results are displayed on the right hand side. Right-Click on the command prompt icon and click "Run as administrator". This is because, to execute the following commands you need administrative privileges. So, make sure you have administrative privilege.

  • Type the command "netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=wifiname key=password" and press enter. Here, "wifiname" = preferred Wi-Fi SSID name and "password" = password to authenticate.
  • The following result is displayed.
  • We have just created a virtual Wi-Fi network adapter which will be our access point. 
  • Do not close the command prompt window yet.

Step 2: Start the access point
  • Type the command "netsh wlan start hostednetwork" and press enter
The virtual wireless adapter is now started and shown in the Network and Sharing Center.

Step 3: Configure network share to the virtual network adapter we just created
We have created the Virtual Network Adapter and is started but it does not have internet access yet. Because we need to share the present internet connection to this adapter. To do so - 
  • Open Network and Sharing
    • Press Windows Key on keyboard and type "Network and Sharing Center"
    • OR Right-click on the network icon in taskbar and click "Network and Sharing Center"
  • Click on "Change adapter settings" on the left sidebar. 
  • Notice a new network adapter we created. It's name may be something like "Local Area Connection *n" where "n" is some number.
  • Right-click on your present network adapter (the one with the internet connection) and click "properties"
  • Click on the "Sharing" tab
  • Check the  "Allow other network users to connect through this computer's Internet connection" to share the internet conencttion available on this adapter
  • Select the virtual adapter we created from the dropdown
  • Click ok and exit.
Till now, we have created a virtual network adapter and shared internet to the virtual network adapter.

Step 4: Check
Here I used an Android Phone (4.4.2) to test the new network.
  • Open settings on the Android Phone
  • On "Connections" tab, tap on "Wi-Fi"
  • Wi-Fi is enabled
  • The new Wi-Fi we created is visible
  • Tapped on it to connect
  • Entered the password we set in the command prompt earlier
After this it obtains and IP Address from the virtual adapter and gets connected. 

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