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Connect Android to Ad-Hoc Wifi Network

This is a really simple and completely free way to connect your Android phone or tablet to your wi-fi desktop computer or laptop. This guide can also be used to allow more than one device of any type to connect to an ad-hoc network.

A lot of Android users would like to receive an Internet connection through their wireless network onto their device. This means that you share your computer’s Internet via wi-fi so your phone can use that instead of its own 3G or data network. Pretty good idea to save on mobile data.

The proper way would be to buy a hardware access point or router to which your Android device can connect. But if you don’t already have a wifi router I prefer the poor-man’s solution which I’ll describe here.

Usually this would be done by creating an ad-hoc wi-fi network on your laptop (or computer) and sharing the Internet which your laptop currently receives through a modem or LAN cable. Then you just search for wi-fi from your Android phone or tablet, and Bob’s your uncle. Not quite…

You see, for some strange reason Android devices can’t currently connect to ad-hoc networks. Pretty lame, seeing that those pesky iPhones can. Knowing them, Google is working on it for future Android versions.

Luckily, some clever guys found a work-around. And it’s pretty simple too. I got it set up and working in less than 10 minutes. I’ll tell you how to create a wi-fi network for your Android phone or tablet in just a bit.

But first we should look at some important things. The most important thing for this guide is that you have Windows 7 on your laptop, notebook or desktop computer. If you have a previous Windows version, you might as well stop reading here. No jokes. Widows 7 has additional features for wi-fi networks that will be used in this guide, which isn’t available in previous versions. I’ll repeat: It will definitely NOT work on Windows Vista or XP.

Next, you should update your wireless card’s drivers. Usually your updates can be found through Windows Update, otherwise you can check the manufacturer’s website for support.

We haven’t even started, yet we’re nearly done!

We’re going to download a neat little program called Connectify. Point your computer’s browser to www.connectify.me and choose the free download (you don’t need the paid version).

Once you downloaded that bad boy, install it by following the easy steps. Now reboot your computer (very important).

After Windows gracefully loaded, we can start using Connectify. First ensure that you aren’t currently connected to another wi-fi network with the same network card. If your wi-fi card can switch on or off, ensure that it’s on.

Now open your spanking new Connectify application and see the plan come together. This software makes your wi-fi card act like a wireless access point (geek: WAP).

We need to do this as an alternative for an ad-hoc network. The difference between a WAP and an Ad-Hoc network is that a WAP can accommodate multiple devices at one time, and an ad-hoc network only connects two devices with each other (much like connecting two computers by laying a cable between each). Android only connects to a WAP at the moment.

We are basically tricking the Android phone or tablet into thinking that the wi-fi network is actually an access point or router.

Inside Connectify you really only have a few settings to look at. It’s really simple to set up.

You don’t need to specify a new Hotspot name, you can keep it “Connectify-Me”. Enter a new password (8 characters or more) and remember it. You’ll need it later on.

Under Internet you can choose the device from which you currently receive your Internet connection for your PC. In my case its a LAN cable, so I’ll select “Local Area Connection”. Yours might be through a USB modem device.

For the Advanced features you can leave the default values. Now click on the magic “Start Hotspot” button.

The software will switch to the “Clients” tab and wait for devices to connect. Now grab your Android device frantically and go to settings -> Wireless and network -> Wi-Fi Settings and turn your wi-fi on.

It will scan for new networks and hopefully display your new network (called “Conectify-Me”. Choose to connect to it and enter your password.

It may display “Authenticating” and “Obtaining IP Address” messages first. And BOOM!! It will say “Connected”.

Now test your new-found freedom by opening up the browser on your Android device and see if it loads a web page. Your phone or tablet will always show a wi-fi icon when it is properly connected to a wi-fi network.

Connectify Access Point

FYI: I set up this fake Wireless Access Point on a very old laptop which barely runs Windows 7 properly. It’s an Acer 3054 WXMi with a Radeon Xpress 1100 chipset and a built-in Atheros wireless network card. The Android device I used was an un-rooted, straight out of the box Samsung Galaxy S2 running Gingerbread without any modifications. It should work on any other Android device too.

If you can’t get it to work, note that not all wireless network cards support this functionality. Like I said earlier, update your drivers. Ensure that your Internet is working on your computer, and double-check each of the settings mentioned here.

If you found this guide useful, let me know via the comments field.

Now you can download like a boss without paying expensive 3G prices. The way it should be.

And that’s my 2 cents.

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