Can I Use My Laptop as a Wireless Router?
Yes, you can! To set up a Mac or Windows laptop as a wireless router, you can use an app that will do it all for you or set it up manually within the operating system. To make your laptop a hotspot, it needs to use your Wi-Fi adapter. Therefore, you cannot access the Internet using the same device. However, you can use a USB Wi-Fi adapter so that you have two (one for the hotspot and one for the Internet.) Regardless, ethernet is the best option to use if you can, mainly because it’s faster and more reliable as a source.
Using A Laptop as a Wired Router in Windows 10 and Windows 8
If you use Windows 10, you can turn your laptop into a WiFi hotspot with ease, thanks to the pre-included settings. The Anniversary Update added the ability to share your network connection, which was a welcome addition. Here’s what you do.
- Open the Settings menu in Windows 10.
- Select Network & Internet -> Mobile hotspot from the left menu.
- Toggle ‘Share my internet connection with other devices’ to on.
- Turn on the Wi-Fi on the other device and search for networks.
- Join the network created by your laptop. The network name is listed in the “Share my internet connection” window.
- Type the network password on the other device, which is also listed on the “Share my internet connection” window.
You should now be able to access the internet using your laptop as a Wi-Fi hotspot.
If you use Windows 8, you can still create a Wi-Fi hotspot, but it takes a little more configuring.
- Navigate to Control Panel -> Network Connections.
- Right-click your Wi-Fi adaptor and select Properties.
- Select Sharing and check the box next to “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection.”
- Open the command prompt as Administrator.
- Type the following: netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=”<YOURSSID>” key=”<PASSWORD>” YOURSSID is the network name. PASSWORD is the network password.
- Press Enter.
- Type the following: netsh wlan start hostednetwork
- Press Enter.
- Type the following: netsh wlan show hostednetwork to check that everything is functioning correctly.
You should now be able to join that Windows 8 network on your other device. Search and connect, as usual, entering the SSID and password when prompted.
Windows 8 or Windows 10 Hotspot Not Working?
If you try the above steps to use your Windows 8 or Windows 10 laptop as a wireless router and it fails to work, there could be several reasons. Here are the most common windows hotspot problems.
Problem #1: Bad network cable connection
A cable can look goods on the outside but be damaged on the inside, especially since the wires are fragile and thin, and the ends can come loose or wear out.
Problem #2: Old Router
An old router that is barely compatible with your laptop’s Wi-Fi hardware and drivers can disconnect or not connect at all whenever you use a second Wi-Fi adapter for your internet source.
Problem #3: Tethering from Your Smartphone
When using your Android or Mac smartphone as a tethering device in windows 8 or 10, it does not get identified as an internet source under certain applications or drivers. Yeah, it works, but some aspects of Windows do not recognize the USB ethernet as a valid internet connection, even though it is to some degree. This is because tethering apps used like pdaNet and EasyTether do not offer automatic IP addressing or managing multiple IPs as the app’s Wi-Fi and phone’s hotspot functions do. So, Windows gets confused due to communication and data exchange restrictions between the two. After all, tethering is really designed to connect to one device only.
It is important to note that you CAN share your ethernet connection when using third-party app options. For instance, pdaNet offers Wi-Fi direct (an actual hotspot using your phone’s data signal), Wi-Fi Share (Beta), that automatically sets up a hotspot in your connected laptop using the existing tether connection, and Bluetooth internet functions.
For Wi-Fi sharing with Samsung smartphones, see the article on how to use Wifi-Hotspot on Samsung Galaxy S9 or S9 Plus .
Use an Apple Laptop as a Wireless Router
If you want to use a MacBook or MacBook Pro as a WiFi hotspot, you can. The limitations found in Windows 8 and 10 also apply for Apple laptops, which is requiring an ethernet connection for the Internet and your Wi-Fi adapter for the hotspot. Here’s how to do it.
- Select the Apple logo and then System Preferences.
- Select Sharing and then the words “Internet Sharing” from the list on the left. DO NOT click the box yet. Click the words instead.
- Select Ethernet as the source and Wi-Fi in the “To computers using” box.
- Select how other devices will connect to your Mac on the next line.
- Return to the Sharing -> Internet Sharing and check the box.
- Click Start in the popup window that appears.
- Click OK within all prompts if applicable.
- Scan for available networks on your other device and use the network name and password from Step 4.
Both Windows and Mac operating systems support multiple Wi-Fi adapters, but you may experience problems when using this method. You would need to manually configure both Wi-Fi adapters with different IP addresses and use one for local access only. This tells the OS to select one for internet traffic and one for local IP traffic.
If you’re using Apple, you would also need to place the internet-enabled WiFi adapter topmost, so it prioritizes it.
Aside from using an app or third party program to enable wireless hotspot routing, these are the only ways to get the job done.