You might sometimes find yourself with just one internet connection point–a single wired connection for your laptop at the hotel, for example, or your smartphone tethered over USB to your computer. But what if you have other devices that need internet access, such as your Wi-Fi-only tablet or your friend’s or family member’s laptop? The good news is you can share your laptop’s wired or mobile broadband internet connection wirelessly with other devices. The bad news is, with Windows 10, it takes a bit of trickery in the command prompt to turn your computer into a Wi-Fi hotspot. ~ August 18, 2015
To share your computer’s internet connection, you’ll need to open the command prompt in administrator mode and type in a few commands. The instructions below were adapted from the excellent guide on NirmalTV, which offers screenshots of the process.
- Open the command prompt in administrator mode by right-clicking on the Windows Start button and selecting “Command Prompt (Admin)“. Alternatively, you can use this keyboard shortcut: Windows key + X (Win+X) then select the Command Prompt (Admin) option.
- When the “Administrator: Command Prompt” window opens, type the following command: netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=[networkSSID] key=[password]. Replace the “networkSSID” and “password” fields with the name you want for your new Wi-Fi hotspot network and its password (you’ll use these to connect other devices to your computer’s Wi-Fi hotspot). Then hit Enter.
- Next, type in the following command to start the network: netsh wlan start hostednetwork and hit Enter. This enables and starts the ad-hoc wireless network connection.
- Next, head to your Windows’ network connections page (type in “network connections” in the search field in the taskbar in Windows 10 and click on “View network connections” or navigate to the Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network Connections).
- Right-click on the network connection that is your computer’s source of internet access (e.g., the ethernet connection or the 4G broadband connection).
- Choose “Properties” from the context menu.
- Go to the “Sharing” tab and check the box next to “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s internet connection”
- From the dropdown list, select the Wi-Fi connection you just created.
- Hit OK and close the properties window.
You should then see your Wi-Fi hotspot in Windows 10’s network and sharing center. From your other devices, select the new Wi-Fi network in the wireless settings and enter the password you set to connect to it.
These command prompt steps for setting up an ad-hoc network aren’t as user-friendly as having a built-in method with a graphic user interface, but it’s what we have so far in Windows 10 and will do in a pinch.
If you’re using an older version of Windows or are on a Mac, you can accomplish this “reverse tethering” in other ways:
- Use Internet Connection Sharing (e.g., when you have a laptop wired to a router or modem and want to share the connection via your Wi-Fi adapter or a second Ethernet port)
- Use Internet Sharing on Mac OS X
- Use Connectify, a free app that shares a single Wi-Fi connection wirelessly (so you don’t need a second network adapter). It requires Windows 7 or above.
Finally, to stop sharing your internet connection over the new Wi-Fi hotspot you created in Windows 10, enter this command in the command prompt: netsh wlan stop hostednetwork