I’ve written an extensive article on Windows 7’s capabilities as far as virtual discs and virtual operating systems are concerned but Windows 7 even has virtual WiFi capabilities!
Here’s a scenario: let’s say you got a wireless network setup at your place and occasionally you need to allow some guests or friends access to the Internet, for that you need to give them or enter for them your primary wireless network’s password & settings. But I don’t really like doing that. So what do you do? Either enter the password or buy another WiFi router and setup a new network (which would be rather dumb). Windows 7 has a solution to this – Virtual WiFi.
Windows 7 by default comes with a feature that will let you turn your PC into WiFi Router, a virtual one at that. In simple terms allowing you to be connected to two wireless networks at the same time with your PC being the access point.Yesterday, Microsoft MVP and developer Chris Pietschmann released a tool on Codeplex that can help you overcome the scenario I mentioned by creating a virtual WiFi network quicly & easily, give them that password and you’ve isolated your primary WiFi network’s credentials. A bit of tinkering with your router settings and you can even set restrictions I guess. A couple of days ago Long Zheng found that Intel had updated it’s WLAN drivers to make use of this functionality and updating to these drivers would add a new adapter in your Network adapter list. Screen shot:
You’ll need to download the drivers for 32bit & 64bit for this tool to work. This tool harnesses this capability and makes it a simple GUI based process to setup & manage such Virtual WiFi networks. Needless to say the project is aptly titled – Virtual Router. From the project’s description that even explains all the mumbo-jumbo I just spoke:
Virtual Router turns any Windows 7 or Windows 2008 R2 Computer into a WiFi Hot Spot using Windows 7’s Wireless Hosted Network (Virtual Wifi) technology
So once you download & install the tool, you’ll see this window:
Enter the details that you wish you to and click on “Start virtual router”
You should now see the entry in your Connection Manager, screen shot:
The rest is… well like any normal WiFi connection. Devices see the connection and can connect to it. You can run the command ipconfig /all to get the MAC address of the virtual adapter.
PS: fyi, I’m aware about Connectify, I didn’t like it & I prefer Virtual Router to it. :)