Setting up a PC as a wireless router using ICS

UPDATE 04/10/2011: Added images for Windows XP – I don’t own a later version of Windows so I’m afraid I can’t provide information or images for any other operating system.

Also, here are a few links for Software Access Point software you may be able to make use of:

http://download.cnet.com/Virtual-Access-Point/3000-18508_4-10957727.html

http://www.connectify.me/

UPDATE 09/02/2009: I get a lot of traffic to this page.  If this is what you were looking for, please leave me a comment for this page saying whether it helped you or not, and I can try and optimise it for search engines a bit better! Thanks

Well after much headache, heartache and pain and a hell of a lot of time, I have finally configured my home network correctly. Without the expense of having to purchase a wireless router just to use a measly 2.0Mb broadband connection, I decided that I would turn that PC into a wireless router of its own using Windows and Internet Connection Sharing (ICS). I bought a USB Wireless Dongle (many of which are available from eBuyer.com and places like that) which has some sort of softAP (Software Access Point). If you know that the dongle doesn’t have the ability to start and run a softAP, then there is no point in reading further. You will need to be able to use the software bundled with the dongle / wireless card and that it has the function of being able to emulate being an access point.

After setting up and installing the wireless card, set up the wireless Access Point using the software that came with the card – the default is likely to be set to station. I would also suggest turning on some sort of encryption WPA or WEP encryption (as you don’t want people stealing your bandwidth). WEP uses a Hexidecimal key (this would consist of a random series of numbers 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 and the letters A,B,C,D,E,F – bear in mind that whatever you use as the key, you must remember otherwise you won’t be able to connect stations to the access point) but isn’t recommended as much as WPA for obvious security flaws.

Once that’s done, we can go about configuring the rest of the machines. In Network Connections (the place where you can see all of your connections [Start -> Connect to.. -> Show All Connections]) right click on your Internet connection (this is likely to be a LAN connection which is the connection via an Ethernet cable to your router), and click [Properties]. Once there click on the [Advanced] tab, and check the box that says you want to use ICS (Internet Connection Sharing). You may get a few warning messages once you’ve turned it on, but this is just to check that you actually do want to turn it on.

Internet Connection Sharing - Allow other users to use this computer's Internet connection

Internet Connection Sharing - Allow other users to use this computer's Internet connection

Now that’s setup here’s the important part. The wireless connection (which will either be disabled or enabled just without a connection) needs to be set up according to the following IP addresses. The configuration is available through the properties of the TCP/IP settings [in Network Connections, right click on the connection -> Properties -> underneath the section labelled "This Connection Uses The Following Items:" scroll down and double click on the item that reads "Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)"].

IP Address: 192.168.0.1
Subnet: 255.255.255.0
Default Gateway: LEAVE BLANK

DNS: THE DNS OF YOUR INTERNET CONNECTION – e.g. 192.168.1.2 – check by double clicking on your Internet connection, and viewing the status [Double click on connection and select the tab labelled "Support"] – either that or type “ipconfig /all” at the command prompt [Start -> Run.. -> type "cmd" and click OK].

Internet Connection Sharing - Static IP address for the Wireless Access Point

Internet Connection Sharing - Static IP address for the Wireless Access Point

The configuration of this connection HAS to be as above for Internet Connection Sharing to work correctly, and for all other computers to be able to use that computer.

If you want to set up static IP’s for other computers on the network, they can have IP addresses from 192.168.0.2 to 192.168.0.255, a Default Gateway and DNS of 192.168.0.1 (the address of the wireless connection on the Access Point computer).

Internet Connection Sharing - Static IP address any client that needs to access the Access Point

Internet Connection Sharing - Static IP address any client that needs to access the Access Point

If you have any further difficulties with these instructions, please feel free to leave a comment and I will attempt to help you :D

More info:
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1522642,00.asp

UPDATE: 19/05/2009: Technology Savvy People might be interested in this:
http://www.engadget.com/2009/05/18/microsofts-virtual-wifi-will-make-windows-7-wireless-adapters-d/


48 Responses to “Setting up a PC as a wireless router using ICS”

  1. [...] Anyone else finding setting up a wireless network in the home having trouble configuring, I have for the benefit of myself and my future use I have written a small document that specifies configuration of turning your PC into a wireless router if you don’t have a wireless router, and a wireless card.  I set this up for my home on Windows XP (because my family wouldn’t know how to get on with Ubuntu just yet).  You can see it here. [...]

  2. I would like to see a continuation of the topic

  3. Man i hav comlpetely failed to set this Up, My PC is connected via cable to the internet and I hav a wireless card in it too, i want to be the wireless router/gateway for any other client, what application do i hav to install??

  4. Frank, Try this

    http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/wireless/2003/10/31/WinXPUnwired.html

  5. hey im just bought a GN-AR14G router n wirelee.the thing is i cant connect the internet using lan but the wirelee is ok..
    so can u plse help me by guving me a step by step to setup the the setting in my pc ?
    please !!!

  6. What USB Wireless Dongle did you use? Id hate to buy one that doesnt have the right software. Thanx for the tut tho it will be very useful to me when I get the dongle

  7. thanx for your helpful article. This actually helped in doing the required.

  8. Great article. While wireless routers are pretty cheap these days, they aren’t always a viable solution. I have a friend who can only get internet through a 3G USB dongle, so this seems the ideal solution for her.

  9. still confused. What I need is:

    Computer1= Wireless Access Point
    Computer2= Client, that can see the desktop of Computer1

    thanks
    gpscruise@SPAMMYgmail.com

  10. Sounds good, I will try. We are in the campo in spain, so I need the dongle on a pc outside to get a good signal. The latest 7Mb dongle doesnt work or I would buy a wireless router, the old dongle has 2 usb leads – 1 for power and this works quite well.
    thanks for the info

  11. Awesome guide, thanks so much! Works great, and the IP settings were definitely the most important part.

  12. EXCELLENT SITE!!
    I need your help with this configuration:

    *Host Windows 7 with a wireless card for internet access.
    *Client computers XP professional
    *Router Lan/Wifi

    Probelem #1. As soon as the host connects to the network (regardless if Lan or wifi) the wireless card disconnects the internet. So can’t even test it

    Prob #2 Windows 7 has diferent menus for the network than Xp and frankly, I get confused setting up the ICS.
    Please help me.

  13. Hi. I connect to the internet via a proxy server at my workplace. I use a tunneling software to maximize my internet connection (yea, that actually works wonders). I created an ad-hoc network and shared my LAN connection so I can use my iPhone while I am not at my computer. The problem I have is that Safari seems to be the only one that uses the credentials entered for the wireless network (in the settings app). Nothing else is able to connect. Cydia prompts for credentials but locks up even after I enter my username and password.
    With the aid of the tunneling software, my proxy is set to 127.0.0.1:8080 What I’d like to know now is how do I use this same spoofed proxy on my device.
    Thanks in anticipation

  14. Great informative article, lot of home users can setup the home internet sharing hotspot so much easier with the security concerns.

  15. hi i have a dongle gsm dongle which i use for my internet and also i have a linksys wireless-N Gigabit Router which i want to connect with my computer so that i can share internet with other PCs,how can i setup?or what do ineed to install so that i can connect to my PC to share internet with other device like laptop or decorders?
    please help me!

    Pio.

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  18. how to make my pc a wireless router?

  19. Hi, I follow all these steps and could not get it to work yet. One thing I noticed is that the laptop can not get a proper connection to the new Wifi network created as you mention. It seems that it is connected but with errors. The phone discover the access point but cannot connect to it.
    Any one else had these problems?

  20. I don’t have wifi router, can I use my android mobile as router for my PC!!
    Plz help me I want to know..

  21. wrt12on wifi router usb dongle is at&t 4g connect force windows vista laptop. how do i connect to my router from my usb broadband internet connection? i’ve done it by accident so i know it’s possible but i rebooted and reset my properties. step by step i think it was bridging connections somehow rather than ics. any help setting up my network form usb to ethernet to wifi router? much appreciated.

  22. i m using a broadband internet connection in my pc. the cable goes directly to the LAN card. Now i want to use a wifi connection on my mobile. What should i do now? Have i should purchase a wireless router?

  23. I will follow the steps literally and see that my PC gets to use a wireless router which is at present linked with cable for the internet.

  24. I will follow the steps literally and see that my PC gets to use a wireless router which is at present linked with cable for the internet.

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  27. I hav an ipod touch and want to use my computer internet as the wifi for it, is it possible to do this by following these steps to set up the internet sharing on my computer?

  28. hi,
    I have two pc without wireless card ,
    internet device usb
    router tp link Wireless dual band gigabit router (2 printer connected to this router via usb cable)
    both computer connected to this router via Ethernet cable

    how to share internet .
    net should be shared each computer and i need to use mobile via WIFI

    is it possible
    then how

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  33. i have xp basd desktop.the default internet connection is a wired broadband service connected through the LAN port. I have a wireless 3g usb dongle and a wi fi enabled phone.i was trying to connect the phone through the dongle via ICS.but when i enable ICS, LAN settings are changed…as a result….original internet connection gets disconnected….what should i do…??to make it work

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  35. i have cable based lan internet connection in my pc which have no wifi capability not i have wifi dongle/router, only i have a micromax 3g usb dongle/bluetooth dongle , now tell me may i use this internet connection to my samsung galaxy young smart phone by any means, if it is not ossible then suggest me a cheapest way to solve my problem… thanking you…

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