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Could you help, please? I have tried (seemingly) everywhere and I get no answers. Like many people, I live in an apartment building, which provides wireless access for which each computer (not apartment or user) has to pay (monthly) to access the Internet. I use a (wireless) Belkin USB Adapter, to access the service. There is no set-up procedure or any special actions required - you just login to the network using the login details provided every month. I use Windows 7, but in my time here, I have used XP Pro, Vista and even Linux (Ubuntu).

Is it possible for me to use modern equipment (say, an all-in-one) to accept the signal and then re-broadcast it in my apartment- thereby creating another (wireless) Lan just for my family? Also, I can now add some security to the network, which is non-existent, now.

I would LOVE to know just what is inside the Belkin (and similar) adapter (I can't find out from the internet) as that would help me to understand requirements, etc, a little more, i.e does it contain a router, modem, switch ... etc) in this very small package.

At the end of the day, what I need is to have more than one computer on the internet at the same time from the one (single) source that I have.

Thanks very much, in anticipation. Mike

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2 Answers 2

There are many devices, called wireless repeaters or wireless range extenders, that can do this. Not all devices marketed as such can do what you need, though. Essentially, the device must act as a router for your home network, and act as a client on the apartment network. Some range extenders are only capable of repeating the original wireless signal, which doesn't help you. Look for a range extender that indicates it supports being a DHCP server to make sure it will fulfill your purpose.

There are several other methods by which you can accomplish this. Many garden variety wireless routers have two antennae, and third-party firmware like DD-WRT can be used to configure the router to act in this manner. (This is usually cheaper, and standard routers are generally easier to find in local stores. If you decide to buy one for this purpose, make sure it supports DD-WRT.) You can also have a computer with a wireless adapter that is connected to the apartment wireless network that subsequently shares that connection via Ethernet cable with your own wireless router, or via a second wireless adapter in the computer.

While you will be able to encrypt your wireless connection, this will only be effective in preventing unwanted access to your personal wireless network and securing connections between computers connected to it. Connections to the Internet via the apartment network will still have to be sent in the clear.

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Hello, Patches - thanks so much - great answer! I did wonder if I could connect my usb adapter to a switch? I have a good quality switch but of course it cannot accept a USB connector. Thanks again - you have helped me a lot! Mike –  Mike Mar 21 '11 at 6:45
    
@Mike: You can't connect it directly to a switch but you could plug the computer with the USB connector into the switch and it can share the connection with the other computers on the network. Here are instructions for Windows and Mac. –  Patches Mar 21 '11 at 8:29
    
Oh - you mean a connector from the ethernet port of my computer to the switch - then the other computer(s) from the switch)? Brilliant and so simple! You are the man, Patches - I thank you! –  Mike Mar 21 '11 at 8:58

As well, I've heard that some WLAN adapters support both connecting to an infrastructure (regular) connection AND creating a wireless connection, but I don't quite know how well or if it does work. Best bet I'd say would be in Linux, but that's just my guess. I know 100% you'd be able to share it through the Ethernet connection, now just if you could plug in a wireless adapter to that…Google time!

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