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:
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.
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
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].
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).
If you have any further difficulties with these instructions, please feel free to leave a comment and I will attempt to help you
UPDATE: 19/05/2009: Technology Savvy People might be interested in this: