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Suppose I have a desktop PC and several portable devices (a laptop, tablet, phone, etc.). I want the desktop to access the internet directly through an ethernet connection and then I want to wirelessly broadcast this signal to my other devices.

Basically, ethernet goes into desktop - and something sticks out from one of its USB ports that broadcasts a Wifi signal to all the other devices. Is such a 'something' available?

(A Wifi router would be the ideal solution if it weren't for the fact that I stubbornly want my desktop to be connected via ethernet and not wireless - also assume that the desktop has only one ethernet port.)

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

All consumer grade wireless routers these days have a built in switch with at least 4 ports, you can still use ethernet to plug the computer into one of the switch ports on the router and have all your portables on wireless.

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You can try and do the following.

  1. Buy a ethernet hub, a cheap one to split your ethernet to two ports.
  2. Connect one port to the internet and the other to a wireless router
  3. Setup the wireless router to act as an access point.
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Might not work if you try to connect 2 machines to the ISPs modem. Most will only allocate 1 IP address for you. – sakkaku May 29 '11 at 20:04

As long as your wireless USB card supports AP mode, there are several software options on the Internet to make it act as an access point for the rest of your mobile devices, tunneling the outbound traffic through the Ethernet interface.

  • For GNU/Linux, FreeBSD and friends, you have hostapd.
  • For Windows, as someone already said, Connectify works just fine.

Hope it helps.

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You can use a wifi AP and a switch : it will be better, but also you can use a switch and wireless AP - you split your internet and LAN by VLAN tagging

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