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Laptop as a Wi-Fi hotspot

I have a couple of desktops and a laptop is lying around as well. The laptop is quite under powered and pretty old. I rarely use it. I connect one of the desktops to the LAN for internet. Actually I switch LAN cables between the desktops based on the need. Well, this is my use-case and there could many other versions that require either a network router or a switch to share internet between computers. Though switches are not expensive, the hassle of wires running around the workstation is pretty irritating. Routers are still expensive.

So here is a very simple and inexpensive way to share the internet between all you computers.

To start with, I have Windows XP on the laptop, Vista on one of the desktops and 7 on the other.

Step 1. In the laptop, go to Control Panel > Network Connections

Step 2. Now lets make a wireless connection and activate it. Right click on the Wireless Network Connection. Select Properties and go to the “Wireless Networks” Tab.

Step 3. In the Prefered Networks, click on Add. Now type in a name you want to identify your network as. Select “Network Authentication” as shared and Disable “Data Encryption“.

Step 4: In the connection tab, check the “Connect when this network is in range” option. Now click ok. The wireless connection is activated.

Step 5. On the Network Connections window, right click on “Local Area Connection” and choose Properties. In the advanced tab, check both the options as in the sceenshot below. This is to lets your computer share its network connection.

All done. All you have to do is to switch on other laptops or desktops and connect to this wireless network and start surfing the web.

Let me know if you face any problems or if you are stuck in any of these steps.

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