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I'm trying to play a video game with my friends that requires a local wifi network that allows UDP broadcasts. The dorm wifi doesn't allow UDP broadcasts, so I'm trying to set up my laptop as a hotspot. Windows 10 by default allows you to share an internet connection over wifi, but you must have an internet connection to do so. Sharing the wifi connection results in a lot of problems such as constant disconnects, and I don't have access to an ethernet connection to share. Is there some way I can set up a wifi network without actually sharing an internet connection?

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    It might be easiest to purchase an inexpensive wifi router and set up a basic network that way. Apr 4, 2017 at 18:34
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    Nadellas Windows is so stupid, trying to make it comfortable by assuming you never want to have a local hotspot without internet. Same for most other things, like always and under all circumstances making new audio devices primary, and not option to disable that behavior. Software trying to make clever assumptions with no way out is the worst. Sorry for the rant, but don't, just don't! Ill buy a Mac if I want to change 80% by a click of a button for 20% impossible to archive. Aug 17, 2021 at 11:57

3 Answers 3

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Two resolutions. First being easier, second being overly complex that even I don't want to approach as it requires programming.

Resolution One: You use a hostednetwork if your wireless adapter is capable. (Usually they are capable.)

1.) Open an elevated command prompt. Win+X and choose CMD (Admin) OR type in "cmd" or "command prompt" into Windows Search by typing into Start Menu and then right click "Command Prompt" and select "Run As Administrator"

2.) Check if your system is capable run this command: netsh wlan show drivers. Scroll down to Hosted network supported. If it saysYes you are in luck; if No there is no easy alternative and don't continue.

3.) Run the following command to allow and set up your hostednetwork but look below first.

netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=%ssid% key=%pass% keyUsage=persistent

Replace %ssid% with your Wifi or "Hotspot" Name or SSID. E.g. ssid=MyGreatHotspot. Replace %pass% with your Wifi or "Hotspot" Password. It must be 8 characters long at a minimum. E.g. key=strongPasswordsAreWEAK.

4.) After that run the command, netsh wlan start hostednetwork, to start the "Hotspot" broadcast. Right now you can play without internet connection after all devices connect. Remember to check IP addresses of all your individual devices in order to connect to each other. The hotspot's IP Address usually is "192.168.137.1".

If you want to share your internet connection or for further reference, continue on:

5.) Open Run (Win + R) or by searching for Run and enter in ncpa.cpl, then press Enter. A new adapter has shown in the screen it should say something along the lines of "Microsoft Hosted Network Virtual Adapter". (Optional if you're OCD, rename that one if its says "L.A.N Connection* 15" or rather to like "Hotspot"). Right click the Internet Connect Source you want to share internet from and choose "Properties." Go to the "Sharing" Tab and checkmark or toggle on "Allow other network users to connect through this computer's Internet Connection." Apply, OK to save changes.

6.) You should be all set! :)

If you want to stop the hostednetwork, in an elevated command prompt you run the command: netsh wlan stop hostednetwork

Resolution Two: This is taken from this post from user Linard Arquit

In case writing your own application is a possibility, have a look at the WiFi Direct API, which offers a legacy mode. Enabling the legacy mode will create a SoftAP with the specified SSID and password. However, specifying no password doesn't seem to be supported.

Have a look at the IoTOnboarding sample to see the legacy mode in action (and to have a better 'documentation' than what Microsoft officially provides): IotOnboarding/IoTOnboardingService/OnboardingAccessPoint.cs

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  • Works for Win 8.1 too, you just need to wait a little for the hotspot to actually provide even the internet connection. And it might not work for multiple devices in the beginning so it needs a little bit of tweaking until you find the sweet spot where each of them is connected and has the shared connection (to the outside network) available.
    – KeyWeeUsr
    Jan 10, 2019 at 9:43
  • By the way, the elevation in only required for mode=allow and it needs to be done once, the rest are non-privileged commands, can even create shortcuts for them May 9, 2019 at 2:43
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If you are still using windows 10, then just open "Microsoft Store" from Start Menu. Find the app named as "Hotspot Lite" from there and just install it. Now open the app and configure the settings if you want or not. Done!!

Thinking about money? Don't worry. It's free for windows 10 users!!

Already Done? Ok then, now you are able to create a hotspot network without any net connection. Cheers!!

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    Works well for those using MS store. I deleted that piece of crap.
    – chx101
    May 29, 2019 at 19:49
  • Using windows 10 this works for me.
    – Giddy Naya
    Mar 14, 2020 at 13:44
  • Doesn't work for me, still uses the hotspot function
    – Emile
    Mar 27, 2020 at 9:19
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    This app might have been OK back then, but now it displays ads over the form for entering hotspot name and password. After I "X" the ads, they come back in a couple of seconds. I don't like such a behavior.
    – Pontiac_CZ
    Dec 15, 2020 at 17:42
  • same ad nonsense for me. it works only without internet connection, then the ads are not shown and the local IPs can still be reached Aug 17, 2021 at 11:50
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This workaround requires a smartphone with internet access for the first time.

  1. From Smartphone, enable Mobile data and Wifi Tethering
  2. Connect Laptop to Smartphone via wifi
  3. Configure and enable Mobile Hotspot from Windows settings
  4. Now disable mobile data and tethering from Smartphone
  5. Done. Now you can connect anything using Laptop Mobile Hotspot, including the smartphone itself (smartphone acts as a client)

I came up with this, because:

  1. Install Connectify, OSToto, or any third party software, don't work
  2. Run NETSH doesn't work
  3. I do not want to downgrade the Intel driver

My system is: Intel Wireless AC-9560, Windows 10 Home 1809.

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    It will disconnect after it detects not Internet Connection
    – chx101
    Nov 23, 2019 at 10:01

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