With many people having multiple smart gadgets such as smartphones, laptops, tv and other electronics, having a way to connect all these devices to the internet has become a necessity.
In most cases, users install a hotspot access point that allows devices to access the internet over a wireless or ethernet connection. But what happens if you can only connect your PC to the internet?
Fortunately, whether you are connected via cable, Wi-Fi or GSM modem, Windows 10 allows you to share the connection to your other devices.
This article explores the various methods of sharing internet connection from a connected Windows 10 PC.
Method 1: Using your Windows 10 PC as a Wi-Fi Hotspot
You can create a mobile hotspot in Windows 10 and connect up to 8 devices just the way you connect to normal Wi-Fi while a maximum of 7 devices can connect to a connection shared over Bluetooth.
Step 1: Turning on Mobile Hotspot in Windows 10
Open the Windows 10 settings app by pressing the 'Win + I' keys on your keyboard.
Go to the “Network & Internet” settings and select “Mobile hotspot” on the left sidebar.
Click the toggle button below the title, “Share my Internet connection with other devices” to enable the hotspot feature.
Step 2: Customize the Hotspot Settings
You can choose between sharing your connections over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Ensure that the Wi-Fi radio button is active to share as Wi-Fi.
Switch on the “Power saving” option at the bottom to turn off the hotspot automatically when no devices are connected.
If need be you can change the name and the password for the network. To do so, click the “Edit” button below the network name and password.
On the resulting popup, change the text fields to your preferred name and password then click the “Save” button.
Note: Other users will identify the shared network by the name you have set above so it is advisable to use a name that is easy to identify and set a strong password that is easy for you to remember but hard for others to crack.
Step 3: Connecting Your Secondary Devices
Turn on the wireless connection on the device that you want to share internet connections with. This could be another laptop, your phone, tablet, TV or any other wireless device.
Under the available wireless networks, select the one you created on your PC. Enter the correct password and click connect.
Now you can browse the internet using a secondary device. Navigate to "Settings > Network & Internet > Mobile hotspot" to view the connected devices.
Method 2: Sharing Using Internet Connection Sharing
Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) is a Windows feature that allows you to set your PC as the gateway through which other users or devices can access the internet.
With ICS, you can connect devices running Windows or any other OS using an ethernet cable. Each connected device is automatically assigned an IP address and configured for DNS through the host PC.
Step 1: Opening the Network Sharing Centre
Right-click the network icon located in the notification area, the bottom right corner of your PC screen, and select "Open Network & Internet settings". There are two other ways of doing so:
Right-click the Start button and select “Network connections”.
Open the Windows settings app and open the “Network & Internet” option.
Under “Advanced network settings” click “Change adaptor options”.
Step 2: Enable Internet Connection Sharing
Right-click the network adaptor for the ethernet or wireless connection you want to share and click “Properties” at the bottom of the context menu.
The network properties pop-up will appear. Go to the “Sharing” tab and then tick the option to allow other devices to connect through your PC.
Click the arrow to expand the “Home network connection” options and select either Wi-Fi or Ethernet depending on how you want to share your internet connection.
You can tick the box at the bottom to allow other users to control the shared network and then click “Ok” to save the changes.
Step 3: Connecting other Devices to the Shared Internet Connection
Use an ethernet cable to connect your secondary device to your computer as the gateway or connect to a router with DHCP enabled.
If your PC does not have an ethernet cable, you can use a USB-Ethernet Convert to connect.
Method 3: Sharing Internet Connection using Hosted Network Feature
You can also share an internet connection using the Hosted Network feature which is a component of the Windows Network shell (Netsh).
Step 1: Check Whether Your PC Supports Hosted Network
Open the command prompt and type the following command 'NETSH WLAN show drivers’ and hit Enter.
Look for “Hosted Network Supported” if the status is ‘Yes’ you can now proceed to create a hosted network.
Step 2: Creating a Wireless Hosted Network
Continue in command prompt and type the following ‘NETSH WLAN set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid= “Name-of- Network” key= “Password”’ replacing the text in quotes with the name of the virtual network and a password to access the network.
To activate the network, type ‘NETSH WLAN start hostednetwork' and the hosted network will be set.
Step 3: Enabling Wireless Hosted Network in Windows 10
By default, the hosted virtual network is already enabled in Windows 10 but just in case it is disabled you can enable it in the device manager.
Press the ‘Win + X’ keys or right-click the Start button to open the context menu and select “Device manager”.
Go to the view menu and ensure that the “Show hidden devices” is ticked.
Expand the network adapters and look for “Microsoft Hosted Network Virtual Adapter”. Right-click the option and click “Enable device” in the resulting menu.
If you open the advanced network adapters window, you will find the virtual network listed.
To disable the network, right-click the adapter and click “Disable” on the menu that appears.
Whether you want to connect your multiple devices to the internet through your connected PC or you feel generous to share your internet connection with your friends or family, Windows 10 allows you to do so in just a few minutes.
It is worth noting that the above three options allow you to share the internet even to non-Windows gadgets including smartphones, Android TV or iOS devices. It is also a good practice to use a strong passphrase for the wireless connection to prevent unauthorized access.