Have you ever needed a mobile hotspot? For example, suppose you are at a hotel whose WiFi system uses a captive-portal login that limits the number of connections or that charges extra for additional connections. Or maybe your kids are having a party and you don't want to give out your WiFi password to a small army of cellphone wielding teenagers. Whatever the case, you'll be glad to learn that you can easily turn your Windows 10 system into a mobile hotspot. Let's take a closer look.
Of course, your Windows 10 system has to have a WiFi adapter and a broadband connection. The broadband connection can be through either Ethernet or WiFi. If you are using a laptop as your mobile hotspot, then you should be good to go, as all current laptops have built-in WiFi adapters.
You can turn a desktop PC into a mobile hotspot with an inexpensive USB wireless adapter, such as the Belkin N300 Micro Wireless USB Adapter or a PCI wireless card, such as the TP-Link N150 Wireless PCI-Express Adapter. Both of these adapters can be found on Amazon. You should also be able to find these, or similar wireless adapters, at your local computer store.
SEE: Mobile device computing policy (Tech Pro Research)
Setting up the hotspot
Setting up a mobile hotspot in Windows 10 is easy. To begin, press the [Windows] key and click Settings. When Windows Settings appears, click Network & Internet and then select the Mobile Hotspot tab, as shown in Figure A.
You'll find the Mobile Hotspot tab on the Network & Internet page in Settings.
If your Windows 10 system is simultaneously connected to your broadband by both Ethernet and WiFi, the first thing you need to do is select from where you want to share your internet connection. Using the Share My Internet connection from the dropdown list, choose either WiFi or Ethernet, as shown in Figure B. (If you don't select this option first, it will be unavailable once you turn on the Mobile hotspot.)
If you have both Ethernet and WiFi, you can select from where you want to share your internet connection.
To continue, click the toggle to turn on the Mobile hotspot. When you do, your mobile hotspot will be fully operational.
SEE: 20 pro tips to make Windows 10 work the way you want (free TechRepublic PDF)
Customizing the hotspot
By default, Windows 10 assigns an SSID or network name and a password to your hotspot. However, if you wish, you can create a custom name and password. To do so, click the Edit button under the default name and password. When you see the Edit Network Info prompt, shown in Figure C, you can enter your custom name and password.
You can assign a custom name and password to your hotspot.
Connecting to the hotspot
From your other devices, you'll find your Windows 10 mobile hotspot just like you find any WiFi connection. For example, from another Windows 10 system, your hotspot will appear on the wireless network list as shown in Figure D.
The mobile hotspot will appear as a wireless access point on the wireless network list.
Monitoring the hotspot
It's important to keep in mind that your Windows 10 hotspot can handle only a maximum of eight connections. From the Mobile Hotspot tab on the system that's sharing its internet connection, you can see all the systems currently connected to the Mobile hotspot, as shown in Figure E.
You can see all the systems that are currently connected to the Mobile hotspot.
In addition to monitoring your hotspot from the Mobile Hotspot tab, you can find a minimalist view of the number of systems connected on the Mobile Hotspot tile in Action Center, as shown in Figure F.
You can perform a quick check on your hotspot on the Mobile Hotspot tile in Action Center.
Turning off the hotspot
When you are done using your Mobile hotspot, you can disable it. To do so, click the Mobile Hotspot toggle to turn it off. When you do, your mobile hotspot will be disabled.
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What's your take?
Now that you know how easy it is to set up a Mobile hotspot with Windows 10, are you likely to take advantage of this feature? Share your thoughts with fellow TechRepublic members.
Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.