Free app lets Windows users share Internet connections

A free application recently released turns Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 into wireless routers, letting users share Internet connections.

The new Virtual Router software, developed by a Microsoft MVP and released at the CodePlex site, enables wireless router capabilities for Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2.

Typically, router hardware would need to be present to share an Internet connection, but Virtual Router can create a wireless access point without it.

Virtual Router might come into play when just one Internet connection is available. It might be used at conferences, for example, or while visiting someone else's home.

Virtual Router supports any Wi-Fi-enabled device, allowing it to connect wirelessly regardless of the type of Internet connection. The connection could be through a LAN, a cellular network, Wi-Fi access point, cable modem and even dial-up modem.

The software defaults to the current WPA2 protocol for secure wireless connectivity, and that protocol can't be turned off. The developer of Virtual Router says that WPA2 encryption is built into the Wireless Hosted Network APIs in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 as a security precaution. Users can name their Windows wireless network and set a password.

Virtual Router is free software available through Microsoft's CodePlex community site, which is a distribution point for open source software for Windows-based systems. The author says that Virtual Router is free of ads, as well.

The Virtual Router application is currently available as a 0.9 beta test version. It can be downloaded at the CodePlex site here.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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