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Commands for the New Wireless Hosted Network Feature

Commands for the New Wireless Hosted Network Feature

A Wireless Hosted Network is a virtual wireless access point (AP) that you can create in Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2. Its functionality is provided by an old disbanded Microsoft project code named VirtualWiFi, started nearly a decade ago.

You can specify the network name (SSID) that's broadcasted for the virtual wireless network; however, it must have WPA2-PSK (AES) encryption enabled. The wireless hosted network feature has a built-in DHCP server, so users are automatically assigned IP addresses.

To use the Wireless Hosted Network feature, your wireless adapter must be configured with drivers certified for Windows 7. When a support adapted is detected, Windows automatically adds a connection to the Network Connections window, named Microsoft Virtual WiFi Miniport Adapter.

Here are the commands related to this new virtual network feature:

  • netsh wlan set hostednetwork: Configure the settings for the wireless hosted network, using the following parameters:
    • mode = {allow|disallow}
    • ssid = WirelessNetworkName
    • key = YourDesiredPassword
    • keyUsage = {persistent|temporary}
  • netsh wlan export hostednetworkprofile: Saves the hosted network profile as an XML file, using the following parameters:
    • Folder = PathandFileName</li>
    • Name = WirelessProfileName (as shown in the Manage Wireless Networks window or displayed using the netsh wlan show profiles command)
  • netsh wlan start hostednetwork: Enables and starts broadcasting the wireless hosted network.
  • netsh wlan show hostednetwork: Shows the settings of the wireless hosted network, including a list of connected users.
  • netsh wlan refresh hostednetwork: Sets a new WPA2-PSK encryption key for the hosted network. Simply enter the command and follow it with the desired key.
  • netsh wlan stop hostednetwork: Disables and stops broadcasting the wireless hosted network.

Keep in mind that Windows does not automatically restart hosted networks after a computer resumes from sleep, hibernation, or reboots. You must manually start the virtual network again if desired.

Software developers can also create front-end utilities (such as Connectify) or otherwise make use of the hosted network feature in their applications.

To take full advantage of the hosted network, you can configure the computer to share its Internet connection (using the Internet Connection Sharing [ICS] feature of Windows) with users that connect to the virtual AP.

To enable ICS, bring up the Network Connections window, right-click the connection that's connected to the Internet and select Properties. Then select the Sharing tab, check the Allow other network users to connect through this computer's Internet connection, choose the Hosted Network Connection from the drop-down list box, and click OK.

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