Though the VirtualWiFi project disbanded before the feature was fully implemented, Microsoft has included some of the underlying functionality in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. Microsoft coined the name, wireless Hosted Network, for this new feature.
The wireless Hosted Network feature uses the VirtualWiFi technology along with a software-based access point (AP) feature. Thus, it lets anyone with a supported Wi-Fi adapter and driver to become a wireless AP for other Wi-Fi users, while also having the ability to connect to another wireless network. It also includes a DHCP server, so users automatically receive an IP address.
Manually create a virtual AP with netsh
If you want to experiment with the wireless Hosted Network feature with text commands, click the Start button, enter “cmd” and hit Enter. Once the Command Prompt window appears, you can enter the following to set the network details:
netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=YourVirtualNetworkName key=YourNetworkPassword
Of course, replace the SSID and key placeholders with your desired network name and WPA2-PSK encryption key.
Before you enable the Hosted Network, you can configure the real network adapter to share its Internet access using the Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) feature of Windows. This way people connecting to the virtual AP will receive Internet access. You can leave the Command Prompt open so you can start the Hosted Network later.
To enable ICS, navigate through the Control Panel or Network and Sharing Center to bring up the Network Connections window. Then right-click the network adapter that’s connected to the Internet and select Properties. Then select the Sharing tab, check the Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection, choose the Hosted Network Connection from the drop-down listbox, and click OK.
Now return to the Command Prompt and enter the following to enable the Hosted Network:
netsh wlan start hostednetwork
To manually turn the Hosted Network off, enter the following:
netsh wlan stop hostednetwork
To see the Hosted Network details (see Figure 3), including the MAC addresses of connected users, enter the following:
netsh wlan show hostednetwork
To change the WPA2-PSK key, you can enter the following:
netsh wlan refresh hostednetwork YourNewNetworkPassword