Make your laptop a WiFi HotSpot

Why need a separate WiFi router when we can make our WiFi enabled laptops a decent & secure WiFi HotSpot?

There are 3 options available to make our very own laptop a WiFi router and connect our iPhones, Blackberries, iPads, Kindle and all WiFi enabled device connect to laptop and share it's internet with adequate security!

Option 1: Extremely Simple - Use Connectify
Option 2: Very Simple - Use Network Settings
Option 3: Simple - Use DOS Prompt

Pre-revisit: Computer must be WiFi enabled (must have WiFi card) & should have Intel's latest 32-bit and 64-bit drivers. (Most of new machines with Win 7 all ready have it installed. But worthwhile checking it since all chip set may not support it)

Option 1 : Download Connectify OR Virtual Router and install it on Win XP / Win 7 machine. Once installed, it will ask for username / password you want to secure the WiFi with and you are done. Restart your machine and you will see a new WiFi hotspot on scan to which you can connect via username and password.

Isn't this extremely simple?

Option 2: 

Step 1 : Right-clicking on the network icon in the system tray. Once you are there, find the link for "Set up a new connection or network". You'll be prompted with a wizard that allows you to connect to VPNs, dial-up, or create a new ad hoc wireless network, which is what we want to do. You can easily use an ad hoc network to share files back and forth between two computers, but today we'll be using it for sharing the internet connection.

Step 2: You'll need to give your network a name and choose some security options—remember that WEP is extremely easy to crack—and you'll want to make sure to use at least a decent sized key even for WPA2. The really important option on this page is to remember to check the box for "Save this network".

Step 3: At this point your ad hoc network should be running and ready to start connecting your devices, but you'll want to hold off just a minute.

Step 4: You'll notice that the ad hoc networks that you create get added to the quick-select wireless network list—when you disconnect from your ad hoc network, it's the same as stopping it. Connecting to the network is the same as starting it back up; this way you can quickly switch back and forth between connections with just a few clicks.

Step 4: The last step is enabling connection sharing through your regular network card, which will allow anybody connected to your ad hoc wireless to use your internet connection. To do so, you'll want to head into the Network and Sharing Center, click the "Change adapter settings" link on the left, and then find your network connection in the list—it's very important that you only enable internet connection sharing on the adapter that is actually connected to the internet. In this case, my internet access at work goes through my Local Area Connection OR through the access point mapped to Internet Access, so I've enabled it there.

At this point, you should be able to connect any wireless device to your new ad hoc network and access the internet, or even share files directly with your laptop.

Option 3: 

Step 1: Click Start, type CMD, right-click the Cmd.exe link and select "Run as Administrator".
Now type the following command:
netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=MyNet key=MyPassword
and press [Enter].

Replace "MyNet" with the name you'd like to use for your custom network, and "MyPassword" with a password that's a little harder to guess.

Still at the command line, type

netsh wlan start hostednetwork

and press [Enter] to fire up the virtual adapter.
Step 2: Now click Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Centre > Change Adapter Settings, right-click your internet connection and select Properties. Click the Sharing tab, check "Allow other network users to connect...", choose your virtual Wi-Fi adaptor - and that's it.

Any nearby Wi-Fi enabled device should see a new network appear with the SSID you defined above. They'll be able to connect to it using your password, and can then immediately share your internet connection.

While it's worth knowing how to do this manually, if it's something you do often then you'll probably prefer a simpler solution.

Quick update: Found an interesting link to find top 10 Wi-Fi extenders. You might want to check the site out to know more! Have fun reading...