‎[Tutorial] Use your windows 7 to setup a Software Wireless Access Point (SoftAP) to share your PC Internet connection without any extra hardware or software (NOT Ad-Hoc)

     I got my Nexus 7 a few days ago, and it doesn't have a 3g modem in it. That means I cannot use a mobile internet with this device. Tried to create an ad hoc network in my windows 7 pc, and it cannot even detect the ad hoc network. This is already a known problem for android ICS (ice Cream Sandwich) and Jelly Bean.

     After some research, I found out that ICS and JB only can detect "Infrastructure" based WiFi signal. Ad hoc network is using another type of signal that ICS and JB cannot detect unless you root and tweak your phone's wpa_supplicant files. In which they are known to cause abnormal behavior of the OS itself.

     So, I call myself an IT professional and a hacker. How can I surrender to such a small problem! There must be a solution somewhere. Again, after some research, I realized that Windows 7 actually provide 2 drivers for a network card. Basically 1 of it is what you use everyday, as a client that receive service from an AP. The other 1, is the driver to make your wireless network card an wireless access point itself! (SoftAP)

“On Windows 7 and later, the operating system installs a virtual device if a Hosted Network capable wireless adapter is present on the machine. This virtual device normally shows up in the “Network Connections Folder” as ‘Wireless Network Connection 2’ with a Device Name of ‘Microsoft Virtual WiFi Miniport adapter’ if the computer has a single wireless network adapter. This virtual device is used exclusively for performing software access point (SoftAP) connections and is not present in the list returned by the WlanEnumInterfaces function. The lifetime of this virtual device is tied to the physical wireless adapter. If the physical wireless adapter is disabled, this virtual device will be removed as well.”

OK! SO THEY HAVE THIS HANDY FEATURE BUT WHY I NEVER SEE IT?

ANSWER: Basically there is no native GUI to do all this, so you have to use command prompt to do all this.

Following will be the step by step guide to setup a SoftAP using your windows 7 without any additional application. If you want to use an application to do this, there are some out there in the market, 1 of it i think is good is called Connectify, I never tried it though so I won't comment on it.

Basically, to setup an SoftAP, then share ur PC internet to this SoftAP and then make sure devices that connect to this SoftAP takes 5 major steps:

1) Setup the SoftAP
2) Share the Internet to SoftAP
3) Startup the services required for Internet Sharing
4) Start your SoftAP
5) make sure your device connect properly to the SoftAP

and here we GO:
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1) Setup the SoftAP

i) Run cmd.exe as administrator and enter the following command. Substitute "ssid" with the SoftAP name u  desired and "passphrase" with the password to connect to the SoftAP u desired, both without the quotation marks. This will create the required “Microsoft Virtual WiFi Miniport adapter” and also set up your hostednetwork.
   
netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid="ssid" key="passphrase" keyUsage=persistent

Run cmd as Administrator
The command and its appropriate output if success (Click to enlarge)
Microsoft Virtual WiFi Miniport Adapter will shown if success (Click to enlarge)
     Voila, first step is done, your SoftAP interface is now available, next up we will need to do the Internet sharing.
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2) Share the Internet to SoftAP

i) Open network and sharing centre
ii) Click Change Adapter Setting
iii) Select the adapter that are connected to the internet, "Right Click" -> "Properties"
iv) Click on "Sharing' tab
v) Check the checkbox that says "Allow other network users to connect through this computer's Internet connection". In the dropdownbox, select the SoftAP (In my case, Wireless Network Connection 5)
Click to enlarge
vi) Step 2 DONE!

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3) Startup the services required for Internet Sharing

This step is the most technical step of all the steps

i) Run services.msc. (Type services.msc in start menu and you will have it)
ii) Find the following item in the list and start them IF THEY ARE NOT (Right click -> Start):

**If you want these services start after you restart computer, change their properties to Automatic**
--
Application Layer Gateway Service
Network Connections
Network Location Awareness (NLA)
Plug And Play
Remote Access Auto Connection Manager
Remote Access Connection Manager
Remote Procedure Call (RPC)
Telephony
Windows Firewall
--
**If you want these services start after you restart computer, change their properties to Automatic**

Click to enlarge
iii) After all services are started, Step 3 is done

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4) Start your SoftAP

This step is easy, the command to start/stop the hostednetwork is “netsh wlan start|stop hostednetwork” and it needs to be run as adminstrator. Since you will have to start/stop the hostednetwork every time you start/stop your computer, I would advice you to create desktop shortcuts for there commands and set them to run as administrator.

Shortcut to start hostednetwork
Shortcut to stop the hostednetwork
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!! After run "netsh wlan start hostednetwork"

_________________________________________________________________________________
5) make sure your device connect properly to the SoftAP

Now, the setup of this AP is successful. In order to connect to this SoftAP, I find it best to use static IP, else it will have quite some connection problem. The setting is as following:

**Set this in the device you want to connect to the SoftAP**
--
IP: range from 192.168.137.2 to 192.168.137.254
Subnet mask: 255.255.255.0
Default gateway: 192.168.137.1
DNS: 8.8.8.8
alternate DNS: 8.8.4.4
--
**Set this in the device you want to connect to the SoftAP**


_________________________________________________________________________________

By using this method, ANY devices including android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) and Jelly Bean (JB) devices that can't detect ad-hoc signal can now share Internet of your PC!

BY THIS POINT, THIS TUTORIAL HAS ENDED. THIS METHOD WORKS TOTALLY FINE IN MY CASE. GOOD LUCK.






Comments

I know this is an old blog, but I just wanted to let you know you have saved the day for me.

I was trying to use ad-hoc for connecting my Nexus 7 tablet to wifi only to find out later it was by design not to connect to it.

My RealTek cheap wifi adapter, like only $9.00 cheap, always had this option in it's GUI software to enable SoftAP. I had no idea what is was for or why my wifi device had this sibling virtual wifi device next to it all the time in the device manager. I disabled the virtual wifi thinking it was some trash generic driver that Windows installed that just would not go away without a fight. Now I know what it was used for.

While I was literally one tickbox check away from enabling SoftAP I choose to go your route preferring less 3rd party software running on my machine. It worked like a charm. Thank you!
Aniket Kesarkar said…
Hey Thanks Budy..!!
Aniket Kesarkar said…
Hey thanks Buddy !!
Sreekumar Sasi said…
not applicable to windows phone :(
Viet Nguyen said…
I did step one and the wifi mini port did not show up.

I typed everything in CMD as admin and got the same results as you. What am doing wrong?
David Al-Hajjar said…
Fantastic tutorial!! However, the infra is broadcasted from the same Wifi adapter as where the internet connection is. I have another spare internal Wifi apapter, how do I have have that adapter broadcasting the AP, so the other can be dedicated entirely on the internet connection. Thanks.
Tommy Wong said…
@Viet Nguyen, pretty sure this still works..I have no idea what went wrong with your case w/o further technical info

@David, I'm pretty sure when you are typing the command in cmd, you can specified which wireless card you want to enable the miniport. After that you can connect to the wifi using the 1 that do not have mini port, bridge the connection to the wifi card that have the mini port enabled, not 100% sure that will work, but it seems logical to me. You can try that out.
TevitaVaka said…
please help, I have done all the steps and they are all ok except the last step by starting the softAP when i input the command it says "The hosted network couldn't be started, A device attached to the system is not functioning"
Ryno Terblanche said…
Great work! Thanks dude!
perlhaqr said…
Worked for me too. Thanks for the tutorial! Well written and detailed.

(I'm a computer jock too, but from the Unix side of the fence, so I need instructions like this any time I want to do anything not completely basic under Windows. :D )
Cau Quach said…
Thanks.
Great tutorial.

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