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- In both Windows and Mac, you can wirelessly broadcast your Wi-Fi, Ethernet, or cellular data connection as a mobile hotspot. This allows you to connect other devices to the internet.
- To set up a Wi-Fi hotspot in Windows 10, open the Settings app, click on “Network & Internet” and select “Mobile hotspot” from the navigation menu.
- To use the Wi-Fi hotspot feature in Mac, click the Apple menu, select “System Preferences” then click the “Sharing” icon.
Sharing Internet connection from your computer to other devices is quite easy to do thanks to the internet connection sharing feature available in both Windows and Mac. Also, there are free Wi-Fi hotspot apps like Connectify available out there that easily let you share your PC or Mac internet with your other devices. Here’s how the whole thing works.
Hotels and other locations like virtual offices usually provide a single wired Ethernet connection. To share that internet connection with your other computers or mobile devices, use the built-in Mobile Hotspot feature in Windows 10 or the internet connection sharing (ICS) feature in Windows 8 and Windows 7.
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How to share your internet connection on Windows 10
Follow these steps to turn your Windows 10 computer into a wireless hotspot or wired router for other devices:
- Click the Windows Start menu in the bottom-left corner.
- Select Settings to open the Settings window.
- In the Setting window that appears, click Network & Internet.
- On the Network & Internet page, select Mobile hotspot.
- At the top of the page under “Mobile hotspot,” Turn on the Share my Internet connection with other devices switch. If you want something other than the default network name and password, click the Edit button and enter a new network name and password,
- When you are finished, click Save. Your Windows 10 PC is now broadcasting as a mobile hotspot.
Connect your smartphone or devices
Now that you’ve set up your computer as a Mobile Hotspot, you can connect to it via your smartphone’s Wi-Fi menu:
- From any other device, search for the wireless network you just established to verify the connection.
- Android — Swipe down from the top of the screen, tap the Wi-Fi icon, tap the hosted hotspot you just established, enter the password, and tap Join or Connect.
- iPhone — Open your iPhone’s Settings, tap Wi-Fi, tap the hosted hotspot you just established, enter the password, and tap Join.
How to turn your Windows 8 or Windows 7 PC into a Wi-Fi hotspot
Follow these steps to set up a mobile hotspot from a Windows 8 or Windows 7 computer:
- Click the Windows Start menu in the bottom-left corner.
- Select Control Panel.
- Click Network & Internet.
- Click Network and Sharing Center.
- In the screen that opens, select Set Up a New Connection or Network under Change your Network Settings.
- Click the last option to “set up a wireless ad-hoc network.”
- The “Wireless Ad Hoc Network” will startup. Click Next.
- On the Set Up an Ad Hoc Network page, give your ad-hoc network a name, select your security type (WPA2-Personal recommended), and enter a security key.
- Check Save this network and then click Next to save your settings.
In just a few seconds, your ad-hoc network will be ready to use. Click the connection icon in the system tray, you’ll see the new network you just created “Waiting for users.”
- Go to Network and Sharing Center.
- Select Change Adapter Settings to open the Local Area Connection Properties.
- Under Advanced, Check Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection and click OK.
Now you can use Your Windows 8 or Windows 7 PC as a mobile hotspot. Just connect to it as you would to a Wi-Fi hotspot and you’ll have internet access on your other devices in no time.
How to turn your Mac into a Wi-Fi hotspot
Your Mac can also function as a wireless hotspot, allowing you to connect several devices to it and share its Internet connection. This is most useful if your Mac is connected to a wired network interface via Ethernet. Many hotels and virtual offices only provide a single, wired Ethernet connection. If you have several devices that you need to get online with, you can connect them to your Mac and share the Internet connection as if your Mac were a wireless router. It works very similar to the built-in Internet Connection Sharing feature in Windows.
- Click on the Apple icon in the top menu bar and select System Preferences.
- Now choose Sharing.
- Click on Internet Sharing from the list on the left.
- Pick your internet source in the drop-down menu next to Share your connection from, such as “iPhone USB”, “Bluetooth PAN,” or “Ethernet” to share a wired connection.
- Below that, choose from the drop-down option how other devices will connect to your Mac.
- Now turn on Internet Sharing by clicking the checkmark next to Internet Sharing in the left pane.
- Click Start on the menu that pops up to start sharing your Mac’s internet connection.
- If you get any “warning” prompts, read through it and click OK if you agree to them.
Tips on sharing your internet connection on a Mac
- To stop sharing your internet connection, remove the check in the box next to Internet Sharing at Step 6.
- If your host Mac computer goes to sleep or shuts down, all connected devices will be disconnected until the computer is turned on again.
- If you’re using AirPort, you can enable wireless encryption; click on the AirPort Options button and check the option to allow encryption. Although it only uses the inferior WEP encryption (choose 128-bit key length) protocol which is still better than nothing.
How to share your internet connection with Connectify
If you can’t get the built-in Wi-Fi hotspot features in your PC or laptop working, you should try using Connectify Hotspot instead — a free foolproof Wi-Fi hotspot program with tons of options and a nice interface. With Connectify, you can share your Ethernet connection over Wi-Fi, and also share a Wi-Fi connection over Wi-Fi as well.
Note: You can download Connectify for free, but there is a premium version available with extra features that allows you to customize different aspects of the connection to fit your needs. The free version has enough features and should suffice for most people.
How to make a free hotspot with Connectify
Follow these steps to turn your PC into Wi-Fi hotspot with Connectify:
- Download and install Connectify on your computer, then restart the computer to complete the installation.
- Open Connectify, click Try it Out.
- Select Get Started with Lite.
- Select the Wi-Fi Hotspot tab.
- Click the Internet to Share dropdown arrow and choose your Wi-Fi network.
- Click the Network Access dropdown arrow and select Routed.
- In the Hotspot Name text box, enter a new network name. With the free version of Connectify, your network name can only be added after “Connectify-.”
- Enter a secure password for the hotspot.
- Select or leave empty the Ad Blocker checkbox based on your preference.
- Click Start Hotspot. The Connectify icon on the taskbar will change from gray to blue indicating that you can now share the internet connection over Wi-Fi.
Any wireless devices can now connect to your personal hotspot.
Tips for using Connectify
- To see which devices are connected to your hotspot, go to Clients, and then Connected to my Hotspot.
- You can also right-click any device from the list of connected devices to disable its access to the internet, disable its access to the computer hosting the hotspot, or rename how it’s listed.
- If you want to stop sharing the internet connection, locate the Wi-Fi Hotspot tab, and select Stop Hotspot. Your settings are already saved so that you can quickly start the hotspot again in the future when you need it, all you need to do is click Start Hotspot.
- You can also use the Connectify Wi-Fi hotspot tool available in the premium version to extend wireless internet connection in your house. Instead of buying another router or a Wi-Fi extender, put your PC or laptop close to the wireless connection and start the hotspot to increase wireless signal.
About King Osaghae
King Osaghae is the managing editor at TechZerg, meaning that he oversees all the articles TechZerg produces. He’s been writing about tech-related topics and trends since 2018.