Mar 142010
 

I was on business trip for few weeks and that meant that my home wireless network was missing my devices. More importantly, my devices were missing my network. Hotel did have wired Internet, but that solved only laptop connection. My phone was still Internet-less.

Fortunately, few months before that trip, I installed Connectify. It was small router program that requires Windows 7, it was in beta, I had no use for it – naturally I installed it and even updated it regularly. All that without even testing whether it works. Sometimes I surprise my self.

Program’s interface is quite simplistic. Almost every configurable setting is visible on main program screen. Mostly you just need to select password and which device has Internet to share and you are good-to-go. It is quite surprising that you can share your active wireless connection. Performance will go down a little (since your card will need to serve both as wireless client and wireless router) but it will work.

Security settings are limited to WPA2/PSK. No weak WEP but also no RADIUS authentication or anything more advanced. Since this would be probably overkill for most of uses, I cannot hold that against it.

What I miss the most here are statistics. You only get information which devices are connected and on which IP address. There is no information about their current resource spending. I was connected to Internet over 3G USB stick and I shared this connection with two friends. We had limited bandwidth and we were downloading way to much data. It was pain-in-the-ass to find which computer was “leaking” data.

As final conclusion I can only recommend this program. Once you set it up (not a big task to do) you can just forget about it. Prerequisites are not quite clear – Windows 7 and “better” wireless network card (although almost all newer Intel or Broadcom cards will do). But if it works once, it will work every time.

P.S. If you were wondering what black magic are they doing in order for this to work, you can check Virtual Router source code. It is open-source project based on same API functions that became available with rise of Windows 7.

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