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I have a laptop I use as a home server for various purposes.

The WiFi card is just sitting there useless and I thought I could improve my WiFi signal for the other devices by bridging the WiFi to the physical LAN connection somehow (bridge not allowed on right-click though) while having it act as an Access Point (bridge, not NAT so not Internet Connection Sharing).

To make things clear I would like WiFi clients to be bridged (layer 2) to the rest of the house. A DHCP and an internet gateway are naturally already present on the home network and I would like to keep using those for any clients of this WiFi network.

I tried using netshan wlan hostednetwork but I’m stuck at even starting it. I couldn’t figure out how to bridge it either:

netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=server key=*******
The hosted network mode has been set to allow.
The SSID of the hosted network has been successfully changed.
The user key passphrase of the hosted network has been successfully changed.

netsh wlan start hostednetwork
The hosted network couldn't be started.
The group or resource is not in the correct state to perform the requested operation.

Any solution to this?

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  • 2
    Probably not. Windows makes a Hotspot. Try a stronger wireless source in your main router or add a secondary (hardware) wireless access point . I do this.
    – John
    Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 13:36
  • @John I already have 2 other APs and all is fine generally. I am more curious of how to do this on Windows than in dire need of a solution.
    – oxygen
    Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 14:00
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    hostednetwork is deprecated IIRC and may not be supported on newer NDIS drivers. // Check with netsh wlan show drivers.
    – Daniel B
    Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 14:00
  • @DanielB Ouch. Yeah, it says “no wireless network adapters on this system”. I guess its game over. Thanks.
    – oxygen
    Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 14:12
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    Note that you could never really bridge to WiFi devices connected as clients. WiFi specifications prohibit a device from transmitting something over WiFi unless the destination is known to be connected via WiFi. Bridging, by definition, means sending the data unless you know not to, which is not compatible with WiFi client connections. Commented Mar 31, 2023 at 6:36

2 Answers 2

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There is an app on the Windows Store called "WiFi HotSpot (Soft AP)" by TwiDam77 (https://apps.microsoft.com/detail/9N0BHFM56ZLM). I used this and I think it does what you're looking for. It's not been updated in years but it's free.

I used it to plug a USB WiFi dongle into a server to extend my WiFi network and, aside from using different SSID details, clients that I put onto it behaved as if they were connecting to one of my normal APs, getting DHCP, DNS, etc from my router.

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  • Tested it on the latest Windows 10 and it only works if I do NAT (Internet Connection Sharing). That's better than not having a way of doing a hotspot. Doing a Wired and WiFi bridge doesn't help in getting layer 2 traffic between the hotspot and the wired network (tried static IP too). Download/Upload speed was good.
    – oxygen
    Commented Feb 17 at 18:49
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Unfortunately, the days of netsh hostednetwork are over. Microsoft introduced a new model for WiFi drivers and this new model does not support this feature anymore.

Intel says the following:

Newer adapters no longer support these features due to Windows® 10 requirements.

Microsoft has introduced a new driver model for Windows® 10. This model no longer supports Soft AP and IBSS.

All new Wi-Fi devices are required to use this new driver model on machines running Windows® 10.

(IBSS is ad-hoc networking.)

But even older drivers/devices may not support hostednetwork, it’s an optional feature.

I haven’t found anything about Win32 or WinRT APIs that would let you create a custom hotspot (for example with a bridged connection). It may simply not be possible.

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