Usually, everyone has just one internet connection at home. What if you want to share that internet connection with across all your desktop and laptop computers, your Wi-Fi enabled mobile phones (like the iPhone), media players (like the iPod Touch), video game consoles (like the PS3/Xbox), digital photo frames and any other wireless devices that you may have at home?
Yes, having a wireless router is the easiest solution. Set up a wireless network with the help of a router, connecting it to your modem and then to all your wireless devices. What if you don’t have a router? Or your existing router just conked? Don’t buy a new one, it’s really not needed!
Build a Wireless Home Network Without a Router?
A lot of people don’t know that if you run Windows 7, Windows Vista or even Windows XP, it is possible to build your own wireless network at home or office without using a wireless broadband router or a wireless access point, saving some money. In this tutorial we will show you step-by-step how to build this kind of wireless network, also known as ad-hoc.
Note that if you have any old desktops you might need to buy a wireless network card for each computer you want to connect to your network and to the Internet wirelessly. But most new desktops and laptop computers are already equipped with internal network adapters so you are ready to go without a router.
In order to build your own wireless network you will need the following:
- A broadband Internet connection;
- A wireless network card installed on each computer that you want to connect to your wireless network;
There are two types of wireless network cards available: USB and add-on. Usually add-on cards are more stable. Add-on cards for desktops are provided for the PCI slot and add-on cards for laptops are provided for the PC Card (PCMCIA)
Below is an example image for PCI wireless network card for desktops
And a USB wireless network card would look like this
As for the laptops, you would need a PC Card add-on wireless network card similar to this
Once you have everything ready, you can now create a Wi-Fi network.
Create a Wi-Fi Network without a Router
To set up an ad-hoc network in Windows Vista, go to Network and Sharing Center from the control panel, select “Set up a connection or network” and choose “Set up a wireless ad hoc (computer-to-computer) network“.
Now give a name to your network. The default security type should be WPA2-Personal. Let it be like that because WPA2 is much better than WEP when it comes to wireless network security. Choose a security passphrase, click on save network if you intend to use this network again, and hit next.
Turn on Internet Sharing in the next screen and now your other home computers can connect to the ad hoc network just like they would connect to any regular wireless network. Setting up a ad-hock network in Windows XP is similar with just a couple more steps intermediate steps involved, but ensure that you are using Windows XP SP2 or SP3 for it to work.
Check out this video tutorial which demonstrates how to turn your Windows XP/Vista into a wireless hotspot via ad-hoc networking
Virtual Wi-fi for Windows 7
Windows 7 users though, can make use of ‘Virtual Wi-Fi‘ feature present within their OS. Check out our detailed article on How to Turn Your Windows 7 Laptops Into Wi-Fi Hotspots using Connectify?
To set up Ad Hoc networking, your main computer needs to have an Ethernet based Internet connection as well as a Wireless (WLAN) network adapter. In the case of Virtual Wi-Fi, the Ethernet card is optional so you can turn a laptop into a hotspot even if your laptop itself is connected to a Wireless network and not to an Ethernet cable. Also, Computers and other wireless devices in ad hoc networks must be within 30 feet of each other but there’s no such restriction in the case of Virtual Wireless networks.