Hidden Win7 App Turns PC into WiFi HotSpot, Sort Of

Dennis Faas's picture

An unfinished feature has been discovered lurking within Windows 7, which would allow a regular laptop computer to be transformed into a wireless access point. The "secret" WiFi feature is not a foreign or accidental creation, however. Microsoft crafted "Virtual WiFi" in an effort to "virtualize" one wireless card as separate adapters for several different devices.

Original efforts to forge ahead with "Virtual WiFi" were halted in 2006, when the project was discontinued. However, the work has apparently made a grand re-entrance with Windows 7, now known as Native 802.11 Virtual Wireless Fidelity (Virtual WiFi) object identifiers (OIDs). (Source: computerworld.com)

About a year ago, Microsoft was set to promote this new feature as part of a complete Win7 package. In spite of this, the driver support was never finished. Many identify the presence of a low-level code within the feature, but the driver-level components are not present. Another stumbling block for the success of the prospective app is that there is no setting that allows it to be activated.

In a strange way, it is the first "half app" released as part of a new operating system.

Turning "Half App" into Something Meaningful

Nomadio, which specializes in military consulting and development, has piggybacked off of the new Win7 WiFi feature to create a program called "Connectify."

Connectify is different from the Internet connection sharing that Windows supports via an "ad hoc" network connection. True, Windows Internet connection sharing allows Windows computers to share a single connection, but Connectify allows users to join another wireless network and still run the Connectify Hotspot on the same WiFi card. (Source: networkworld.com)

The idea is a lifesaver for those "pay-as-you-go" WiFi hotspots, prevalent in high-end coffee shops. With Connectify, you can pay for the single connection and still have other devices, such as an iPhone, connected to the Internet all sharing one connection.

While the Connectify beta is free to download, Nomadio is expected to charge users once the complete version is released.

The tentative release date is currently set for about six weeks from now.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet