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Turn any PC into a Router!

Turn any PC into a Router!

Need to extend your wifi range on the cheap?  You could buy a wifi extender or just turn an always on PC into a router with this free software I found over at LifeHacker.com.  Setup is ridonkulously simple.  Just plug in a cheap ($5-$10 these days) wifi USB adapter.  If you’ve got hard wired connection all the better but I got this to work with a PC that was connected via WiFi as well.  So the PC wound up having 2 WiFi adapters: one to connect it to the network and the other to broadcast a new Wifi network using the free software Virtual Wifi Hotspot for Windowsy 7 & 8.

The software is stand-alone meaning you don’t have to install anything. Just run it when you need it.  First time you run the software it launches a helpful “first launch” web page w/ instructions and vid. You can scope that here.  But really you don’t need it, it’s so easy:

Configuration of Virtual Wifi Router

Just name the network you’re creating, set a password (b/c really the default 1234578 isn’t the most secure) select which connection you want to share, and hit start.  That’s it!

success

Once the app starts you’ll see a little notification that it has started and is working.  Now you can easily connect to the new Wifi network on any device:

connect

As you can see in the pic above my main network (lovingly called POSNetwork b/c often it’s a P.O.S.) has a much weaker signal than my new MarcsExtendedWifi network.

You’d think that having to route your traffic through a PC would slow down your connection, but in my testing for downloads this is more than offset by the stronger WiFi signal.  Here’s what I got connecting to my regular / old Wifi router:

Connection on my main WiFI got only 356kb/s download.

But look below and you’ll see connecting to my Extended WiFi w/ a stronger signal got me 2.5mb/s.  That’s a LOT faster!

My connection on the Virtual WiFi Router got me 2.5mb/s

So bottom line, if you’ve got an always-on computer with a decent connection and want to extend your wifi range on the cheap, this is a great solution!

 

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