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:
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!
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:
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:
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!
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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