How To Turn Your Windows 8.1 Or Windows 10 Device Into A WiFi Access Point

If you used Windows 7 or Windows XP, you know that these operating systems allow you to create ad hoc wireless connections between computers. You could use those connections to create a wireless network between multiple computers or to share the Internet connection that was available on one of them. If you use Windows 8.1 or if you just migrated to Windows 10, then you might have noticed that this can no longer be done, at least not using a visual interface. However, with the help of the Command Prompt and a few commands, you too can turn your Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 laptop or hybrid device into a WiFi access point. Here's how:

What You Need In Order For This To Work

To use your Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 laptop or hybrid device as an WiFi access point for other devices, it must have at least 2 network cards installed and one of them must be a wireless network card. One of them must be connected to the Internet.

We've tested multiple scenarios, and the ones that worked great include:

  • One laptop using its Ethernet connection for Internet access and its WiFi adapter to broadcast - use a network cable to connect your laptop to the Internet and the wireless network card for the access point that's sharing the Internet access with other devices.
  • One laptop that is connected to the Internet through a mobile USB modem and broadcasts the wireless network through its WiFi adapter - many users will have a USB mobile modem available with 3G or 4G connectivity. They can use it for Internet access and use the wireless network adapter for creating the access point and sharing the Internet access with others.
  • One laptop and two wireless network adapters, one connected to the Internet and the other acting as an access point - you won't find this situation too often, as laptops and hybrid devices don't come with two wireless network cards installed. However, you can install a wireless USB adapter and use it to create the access point.

Step 1. Create A Virtual WiFi Network

To begin, we'll need to open Command Prompt with administrative privileges and use a command to create a virtual wireless network that is broadcasted by your device.

connect, wireless, network, access point, command prompt, Windows 8.1, Windows 10

To show you how this is done, we will create a wireless network called Hotspot. The password for this network will be "7Tutorials".

Inside the Command Prompt window, type the following command:

netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=Hotspot key=7Tutorials

Notice that the name of the network is set using the SSID parameter and the password is set using the KEY parameter. Obviously, you can set your own values for them.

To create the access point, press Enter. If all goes well, you should see that the hosted network has been set.

connect, wireless, network, access point, command prompt, Windows 8.1, Windows 10

Now you have created a virtual adapter that can function as a wireless access point for other computers and devices in your area. However, in order for it to work, you need to take one more step: turn this virtual adapter on.

Do not close the Command Prompt. Keep it open and enter the following command:

netsh wlan start hostednetwork

connect, wireless, network, access point, command prompt, Windows 8.1, Windows 10

Then, press Enter.

The virtual wireless adapter is now started and shown in the Network and Sharing Center.

connect, wireless, network, access point, command prompt, Windows 8.1, Windows 10

You can connect all your devices to the newly created wireless network. However, it has no Internet access. If you stop at this point, when you connect other devices and computers to the newly created access point, you can create a network between them and use it to share files and resources, but they won't have any Internet access.

Step 2. Allow Internet Access For The Devices That Are Connected To The Virtual WiFi Network

Open the Network and Sharing Center. Notice that the virtual network adapter you just created is displayed as active, but it has no Internet access at this time.

connect, wireless, network, access point, command prompt, Windows 8.1, Windows 10

Click or tap the connection of the physical network adapter that currently has Internet access. In our case, it is an Ethernet connection.

connect, wireless, network, access point, command prompt, Windows 8.1, Windows 10

This opens the Status window for the selected network adapter. Click or tap Properties.

connect, wireless, network, access point, command prompt, Windows 8.1, Windows 10

In the Properties window, go to the Sharing tab.

connect, wireless, network, access point, command prompt, Windows 8.1, Windows 10

In order to give others Internet access to the virtual WiFi adapter that we created earlier, check the box near "Allow other network users to connect through this computer's Internet connection".

connect, wireless, network, access point, command prompt, Windows 8.1, Windows 10

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About the Author: Codrut Neagu
Codrut is a Senior Editor on Digital Citizen. He has studies in IT, telecom and law. He's passionate about technology and he is fluent in working with several operating systems, including Windows and Linux. He likes to test security products and he feels like at home when digging through the registry, optimizing things or having fun on Telnet.