Wi-Fi

Create a Wi-Fi Access Point using Connectify

Blogger Paul Mah checks out Connectify, a free application for Windows 7 that allows you to take any Internet connection and share it via Wi-Fi.

Those of us who have ever traveled with laptops will be familiar with this problem: The cost of Wi-Fi or wired Internet access at hotels is typically exorbitant, and gives you only a single user login that doesn't facilitate any sharing. This is often frustrating, should your room mate also own a laptop, or if traveling in a group.

On top of this, most smartphones these days have Wi-Fi capabilities, which can be used to either access e-mails or download files; Wi-Fi access for these devices can yield tremendous savings in long distance data rates. And we haven't even mentioned the many gadgets with Wi-Fi only access, such as the iPod Touch, the initial models of the Apple iPad, or dedicated Internet tablets such as the JooJoo.

Carrying a small wireless router will help resolve the issue, of course. However, that is one more device to carry, and who wants to be stuck with lugging around yet another piece of hardware and its associated power adapter? In addition, this solution won't help share (non-free) Internet connectivity at a cafe.

How does Connectify work?

Enter Connectify to help alleviate the above situations. The free software application "virtualizes" the wireless adapter so that it can be used concurrently to connect to an access point (AP), while also simultaneously serving as an AP. It depends on internal code residing within later versions of Windows however, and hence will only work on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 (or later). Windows 7 Starter Edition is also not supported, as it lacks some of the features Connectify utilizes.

Being able to operate in standard AP mode will require that the wireless device is supported; otherwise, only Ad-hoc mode will be available, though its ability to connect to an AP simultaneously is not affected. Pretty much all the newer devices are supported though, so that shouldn't be an issue. You can check out the full list of supported devices here.

Download, install, go

Setting up Connectify was a pretty straight forward affair -- a matter of downloading the installation package here (smaller than 1MB) and installing it. Configuration consists of setting a Wi-Fi name and password. Internet access can be defined via a simple pop-up applet, and ranges from wireless, LAN, or basically any other network on your workstation. In the screenshot, you can see the Connectify applet running in "advanced" mode.

I have tried tethering my BlackBerry smartphone for Internet connectivity, and was able to easily share the Internet access via wireless to my iPod Touch without any hiccup.

Though Connectify 1.0 came out only late last year, a new version, Connectify 1.1, was released a couple of weeks back. Besides various bug fixes, the new version sports enhancements such as wireless cloning, and the ability to save WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) data to a flash drive to quickly configure other clients to use the Connectify AP.

Conclusion

One suggestion when making use of Connectify would be to use the same network name (SSID) for both Connectify and your home router. Assuming the same passphrase and security settings, wireless devices will be able to seamlessly "roam" between Connectify and your home network -- even when the machine running Connectify is switched off.

Connectify seems robust, and performed flawlessly when I used it. For me, it is a must-have install for my Windows 7 laptop.

About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

20 comments
jambres
jambres

can you please make this software compatible with a windows xp operating system

krmdelacruz
krmdelacruz

Per checking the best connectify that you'll have to use is the 1.0 version, all the pro version of 3.0+ has it all.

ambientNRG
ambientNRG

brilliant - spent two hours following tutorials that are meant to create a usable ad-hoc wireless network that i could then use to connect my ipod touch, but got nowhere. this app got everything up and running within minutes (now at version 3)

freenumber
freenumber

While using Comodo firewall, it detected a secret VPN connection to Comcast Tallahassee 69.254.163.41 when I used Connectify. Now, I wonder why they do that?

ha_dongnai09
ha_dongnai09

Hi , Very glad to know this software , i need it indeed, however, i would like to tell you my experience with it and long for your instruction: I used laptop with window 7 downloaded Connectify and it worked well with my Blackberry 8900. But my other laptop with window XP SP2 could not connect the Connectify hotspot eventhough it recognised the name of wireless network in the list. The notification is " Wireless network connection: The network may no longer be in range. Please refresh the list of availabkle networks, and try to connect again". Would you please advise me what should i do next ? Thank you . hao912@gmail.com

mark
mark

Sounds like a good feature. However, it does open up the potential security risk of every Tom, Dick & Harry setting up WAPs to corporate LANs.

mushtaq_naik143
mushtaq_naik143

Thanks for this post, ya this really works nice i have tested the same on my laptop and connected my phone and other two laptops through this Hotspot and this works fine. I used my laptop as Access Point and shared the resource with other machines....Really this will reduce the H/W burden, no need to pick a AP just need laptop with Windows 7 installed :)

scandura
scandura

I use computers a lot but not other wireless devices. Hence, I want to make sure I understand what Connectify can (and cannot) do. Specifically, am I correct that I can log in from ANYWHERE(?) into my home router/internet connection? What are the limits? Forexample, I'm traveling at sea with limited wireless (and dramatically overpriced) Internet connectivity. Still possible? I guess I'm unclear on what is actually happening. How it works.

gdunsby
gdunsby

It worked perfectly on my Lenovo although only in Ad-hoc mode

Angel_Tech
Angel_Tech

I was surprised to see in the 'network to share' dropdown menu, LAN as an option. I will try it out with the LAN option.. we run through a proxy so Im curious to see how this tool works through that.. I'll post again after testing.. thanks for sharing.. Update: I cant tell it works beautiful.. Even though i had to set the proxy in the 'client' computer, I think it's a good option. Our Wireless is accessible only to laptops with a certificate to authenticate. This tool allowed me to have a 'outside' laptop connected using wifi with no problems.. of course I still had to enter my credentials (username/password) but just being able to connected to the wireless network is a big plus... :) Note: I used a desktop (Win7)as the Host, wired connected to our LAN a wireless usb dongle to use it for the Hotspot feature (Tenda brand, chinese brand I think). For the client I used a laptop with Vista and MacOS x installed. I tried it with both and it worked.. of course the proxy is still effective about blocking some internet sites :)

paulmah
paulmah

The security aspect is probably a consideration, though I'm not sure how security controls can be implemented on Connectify. Ideas, anyone?

Daniel.Chavarro
Daniel.Chavarro

What you are talking about is something different than what is being talked about in the article. What the author is mentioning is sharing internet connection when say only one person can get it.. For example the hotel scenario. Only one person can used the wired connection at a time, so using connectify you could basically use the wireless adapter and turn it into a broadcaster for others to connect wirelessly. "The free software application ?virtualizes? the wireless adapter so that it can be used concurrently to connect to an access point (AP), while also simultaneously serving as an AP".

oldbaritone
oldbaritone

That someone listed as "IT Department Manager" would be happy about an end-run around wireless security like this. [i]"Our Wireless is accessible only to laptops with a certificate to authenticate. This tool allowed me to have a 'outside' laptop connected using wifi with no problems."[/i] Why would an IT manager violate their own company's security procedures that way? I'm sure the certificate control was put in place for a reason.

basil.cinnamon
basil.cinnamon

Sounds great. Surely someone is ginning up something similar that will do the same trick under XP. Anyone know of such an app?

ernesto.bec
ernesto.bec

Looks like CNet dropped the download. They do not have any more download links. Where did you guys.

Angel_Tech
Angel_Tech

I wouldn't say happy is the right term.. but in my own experience, I can tell it's good (and sometimes necessary) to test this kind of tools to test how secure your network is.. better if it's done by someone you can trust than someone you dont know.. we run XP in all our buildings and sometimes people think that just because something runs in a different OS (Win7), that won't affect us. It doesn't work like that all the time.. and you're right, certificates have a reason to be used. Good pointing that out, I agree with you. Cheers,:)

paulmah
paulmah

This application will never work in XP. This is because the code relies on new code that was added only in Windows 7 in order to virtualize the WLAN. According to some initial reports of Connectify (Sorry, can't find the links now), they only had to add a 'front end' and some other code to make Connectify possible.

Editor's Picks