A few months ago it dawned on me that it would be very useful if my Acer Windows 8.1 laptop could act as a wifi hotspot, so I googled (using Ixquick) to see if someone had come up with a way to achieve that. Sure enough, there were a number of ways of doing this. On my laptop, some worked, some didn’t, some worked but the free version only ran for 90 minutes.
Here is a useful list of software.
Connectify installed and ran perfectly, but the free version requires re-starting every 90 minutes and puts ‘Connectify-‘ at the beginning of the SSID which wasn’t exactly what I had ideally hoped for.
VirtualRouterPlus wouldn’t start.
Wifi Hotspot Creator doesn’t see my wifi hardware, unless I right-click the icon and run it as administrator. Then it reports that there was a problem starting the connection.
MyPublicWifi didn’t work, user able to connect but unable to access the internet just like with many other ‘solutions’.
Maryfi came up with errors when attempting to start the hotspot, appears to be specifically aimed at Windows 7 and I am running Windows 8.
Virtual Access Point (Virtual AP) has a 15 day trial period for the free version. Not what I want.
At this point I have given up trying other software and have decided to use Connectify for a while to evaluate ideas and concepts, and the 90 minute timeout is bearable. As a matter of interest, the Connectify download is something like 10 MB whereas the others are between one and three, suggesting that Connectify is significantly different to the rest.
Watch this space for more info, such as whether daisy chaining two or more wifi laptops is feasible, etc.
mHotspot has just released a Windows 8 version, and it works nicely. It creates a hotspot as expected, gives you full freedom for the SSID, doesn’t seem to time out, and for the internet source I have used Ethernet and Wifi. So if you’re going to a Christmas BBQ at a friend’s place where there is only Ethernet and no Wifi, take along your laptop and an Ethernet cable and you will become very popular.