I was reading the many differences between Access Point, Bridge, Ad-hoc or hot spot networks, and as you may tell from the title I'm a bit confused. From my understanding based on the their difference Access Point is the best solution for me since it has the least amount of speed penalty for the devices that connect to it.

The Problem:

I have a Netgear WNDR3800 router in my leaving room. I have a desktop computer running Windows 7 in my bedroom connected via Ethernet cable to that router. I have poor wifi signal in my bedroom and I would like to boost it with the least amount of speed penalty since I like to stream media from my desktop to my wirelessly connected laptop over the network. In order to boost the signal I can buy an Access Point and place it in the bedroom. However, I have only one wire going from the router to the bedroom and if I connect it to the Access Point then my desktop will loose the wired connection.

Instead of buying an Access Point, is it possible to buy a desktop wifi adapter and have it serve as an Access Point to boost my wifi signal?

I know you can bridge the ethernet connection with the wifi adapter to create a new network? is it the same? Also, you can do ICS in windows?


I've used it for a long time with on Windows 7. See the top answer in this post: Internet connection sharing over WIFI without modifying LAN adapter IP address

I've created two batch files, one for setting up the wifi, and one for teardown. The first one:

netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=<YourSSID> key=<YourPassword> keyUsage=temporary
netsh wlan start hostednetwork 

The second one:

netsh wlan stop hostednetwork

I just run the batch files as admin - and everything works.

P.S. On Windows 8 however I have a little trouble with this.

Edit: You should enable internet connection sharing in your Ethernet connection, to be used by the new virtual connection (your wifi).

  • Thanks, I will give that a try. It also mentions Connectify software which I'm also tempted to try. (Here is some additional information about Hosted Networs link follow the links in the comment) Edit: @David Schwartz makes a good point regarding general performance with this type of solution.
    – HerpDerp
    Dec 6 '12 at 19:33
  • @HerpDerp: I've used Connectify for a while, but the newer version's shareware scheme is annoying - especially when you can do it yourself with a couple of lines. As for performance - I guess be sure to try with an 802.11 n adapter.
    – hannanaha
    Dec 6 '12 at 19:47

Don't do that. Just buy a cheap wireless router and use that as an access point. They have built-in switches, so you can add wired ports as well.

Don't use the Internet/WAN port, since this device will only be used on your LAN. Make sure to disable the DHCP server, as you don't want to two DHCP servers on the same LAN.

  • Yes, that will be a solution. However, an extra router is an overkill for what I'm trying to do. Also, trying to reduce the amount of cable management and cost.
    – HerpDerp
    Dec 6 '12 at 17:43
  • 1
    It seems like everything is a priority. In the question, it seemed like speed was your top priority. Now you say doing it right is overkill and you want to minimize cabling. You can't have everything, you have to decide what's most important. Using a desktop as a router/switch/AP will provide horrible performance if the desktop is also acting as a desktop at the time. Dec 6 '12 at 17:54
  • IMO, configuring a desktop as WiFi point is an overkill :) Any cheap wireless router would certainly do much better job plus would provide 3 additional (most come with 4 wired ports) wired ports in case one wants to download something big on another laptop occasionally. A decent desktop wifi adapter would probably cost about the same as a cheap router.
    – amit_g
    Dec 6 '12 at 18:02
  • @sep332: Actually, routers are cheaper because they are produced in much higher quantities. And he needs an additional wired port anyway. Dec 6 '12 at 18:04
  • 2
    @HerpDerp: Yes, some provide AP mode, some don't. Performance will be terrible. Desktop adapters that do provide AP mode typically do all AP functions in software, and desktop machines that are being used as desktops make lousy network routers because the same CPU is handling video and audio when it's busy and switching to low power modes when it's not, all of which makes latency atrocious. WiFi adapters also tend to have fewer, and poorer, antennas that routers do, and for a variety of other reasons just don't work as well as something meant for the job. Dec 6 '12 at 19:01

Buy a repeater and that will solve the issue. There are many different models and they support both 2.4 and 5GHz depending on model.

Many have several ethernet ports as well


Instead of making your PC a wifi AP, try setting up an ad-hoc network and sharing it. Setting up an ad-hoc wifi network is under "Network and Sharing Center" (or just open the start menu and type "ad-hoc"). Then turn on internet connection sharing for your main ethernet port through you wifi adapter. Detailed instructions here http://lifehacker.com/5369381/turn-your-windows-7-pc-into-a-wireless-hotspot

  • Is Ad-Hoc network equivalent to an Access Point in performance? I don't know enough to be able to answer that question myself.
    – HerpDerp
    Dec 6 '12 at 18:52
  • It depends on your driver (some might have slower defaults for 802.11g or even b compatibility). Ad-hoc usually gets slow when you have a lot of devices, but since you just have 2 talking to each other it should be fast.
    – sep332
    Dec 6 '12 at 18:58
  • "Access Point mode is also faster, allowing speeds up to 54 Mbps in 802.11g, whereas Ad Hoc is generally limited to the 11 Mbps of the older 802.11b standard." source
    – HerpDerp
    Dec 6 '12 at 19:19
  • Keyword being "generally". Different drivers have different settings. Some chipsets work just fine in ad-hoc mode, e.g. superuser.com/a/308273/34856
    – sep332
    Dec 7 '12 at 3:39
  • Thank you, I will play around with it over the weekend and see what are the differences in speed.
    – HerpDerp
    Dec 7 '12 at 14:47

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