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Setting up a 'HotSpot' WiFi Access Point

HotSpot setup
To avoid having to do it 'manually', check out this list of applets that share your internet connection.

Why would you need a Hot Spot / Access Point ?

A1. Setting up a 'hot spot' allows WiFi devices (eg smart phones etc.) to link to the Internet or 'communicate' (share files etc) with other WiFi enabled computers when you have no WiFi Router, or when your WiFi Router is 'out of range'. The main uses are :-

1) 'Backup' and 'iTunes sync' between iPads & Android tablets / smart phones and your PC without needing to use a 'sync cabe'

2) Connecting to the Internet via the PC (which is itself connected to the Internet using an Ethernet cable or a 'dial up' modem, or 3G/4G mobile link)

This especially useful in hotels that allow free Ethernet cable connection (for your laptop) but charge you through the nose to use their WiFi. Since your smart phones can't be connect using a cable you have no choice but to pay up - or use the $$$$ expensive 'G3' / 'G4' mobile connection. So set-up your own Hot Spot and connect via your laptop and avoid their charges

3) Accessing files on, or controlling other WiFi connected devices (such as the Raspberry Pi) when 'outside the home LAN' (i.e. when there is no WiFi Router 'in range' - or when your home Router is configued in a 'high security' mode that prevents device to device access)

4) A group of computers can be connect together to play a 'real time' computer game without impacting your 'normal' Internet access

Ad-Hoc wireless networking is available on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. Virtual WiFi, which is much easier to setup, is available on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008.

What are the limitations of 'Ad-hoc' mode ?

Security is limited to none or WEP, the SSID can not be 'hidden' and (when ICS = Internet Connection Sharing is used), the IP addresses are 'fixed'

Whats needed ?

First, you need to 'take control' of your WiFi Hardware, instead of allowing the laptop manufacturers own 'simple' (i.e. crippled) application to 'override' Windows control.

a) Start Menu -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Network Connections, highlight the 'Wireless Network ..' and 'right click' to select "Properties" from the popup menu.
Select the "Wireless Networks" tab. CHECK: "Use Windows to configure my wireless network"This step should let windows take over control of your wireless card. If you have trouble, you may need to uninstall the easy to use wireless software supplied by your laptop's manufacturer. Make sure you don't uninstall the wireless driver itself!
Answer: Infrastructure mode wireless networking bridges (joins) a wireless network to a wired Ethernet network. Infrastructure mode wireless also supports central connection points for WLAN clients.A wireless access point (AP) is required for infrastructure mode wireless networking. To join the WLAN, the AP and all wireless clients must be configured to use the same SSID. The AP is then cabled to the wired network to allow wireless clients access to, for example, Internet connections or printers. Additional APs can be added to the WLAN to increase the reach of the infrastructure and support any number of wireless clients.Compared to the alternative, ad-hoc wireless networks, infrastructure mode networks offer the advantage of scalability, centralized security management and improved reach. The disadvantage of infrastructure wireless networks is simply the additional cost to purchase AP Hardware.Note that home wireless routers all feature a built-in AP to support infrastructure mode.

How to enable Internet Connection Sharing

Why can't my phone etc. see the Internet after the laptop 'goes to sleep' ?

You need the MS fix ICS after sleeping patch

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