Monday, March 08, 2010

Create Wireless Hosted Networks in Windows 7

This new feature, wireless Hosted Network, is introduced by Microsoft in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

The wireless Hosted Network feature uses the VirtualWiFi technology along with a software-based virtual access point (Virtual AP) feature. It allows the creation of wireless AP with a supported Wi-Fi adapter and driver, while also having the ability to connect to another wireless network. It also includes a DHCP server, so users automatically receive an IP address.

  • Supported WiFi adapter
  • Using certified WiFi drivers for Windows 7. 
You can check this by looing at the network connection (detail mode). You should see an adapter called Wireless Network Connection that using Microsoft Virtual WiFi Miniport Adapter.

Follow the steps below:
  • Start "cmd" in "Administrator mode".
  • To create the hosted network:
netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=[Your-AP-Network]  key=[Your-WPA2-PSK-AES-Password]
  • Replace the SSID and key placeholders with your desired network name and WPA2-PSK encryption key. Note that Microsoft requires all wireless Hosted Networks to use WPA2-PSK (AES) encryption. 
  • Optional. If you want to allow Internet access for other users, enable ICS. See how to enable ICS here if it is disabled.
  • To start/enable the Hosted Network:
netsh wlan start hostednetwork
  • Optional. To manually turn the Hosted Network off, enter the following:
netsh wlan stop hostednetwork
  • Optional. To see the Hosted Network details (see Figure 3), including the MAC addresses of connected users, enter the following:
netsh wlan show hostednetwork
  • Optional. To change the WPA2-PSK key, you can enter the following:
netsh wlan refresh hostednetwork [New-WPA2-PSK-AES-Password]
Now others should see the Hosted Network appear in their list of available wireless networks. They can connect like normal and enter the encryption key when prompted.

Keep in mind that wireless Hosted Networks do not automatically restart after the computer resumes from sleep, hibernate, or restarts. However, if used, a third-party, such as Connectify, utility might initiate a reconnection.