Creating a Windows 8 WiFi hotspot

Windows 8 supports ad hoc networks and WiFi sharing, but not through a GUI interface.  To setup the WiFi adapter on a Windows 8 system to act as a hotspot:

  1. Open an administrative command prompt (Administrator: cmd) via the Win + X shortcut.  You can also type cmd on the Start Screen, right-click and select Run as administrator.
  2. Confirm the WiFi NIC supports virtualization.  Run: netsh wlan show drivers.  The “Hosted network supported : Yes” should be listed.
  3. If it says No then try updating the adapter driver.
  4. Configure an ad hoc connection: netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=<ad hoc network name> key=<password>.  This sets up a WPA2 PSK network.
  5. Start the network: netsh wlan start hostednetwork
  6. If step 5 fails with a hosted network couldn’t be started and a message about not being in the correct state, go into the Device Manager, and find the Microsoft  virtual NIC under Network adapters.  Disable it, then re-enable it.
  7. Open up the Network Connections and right click on the connection with Internet connectivity.  That’s probably “Local Area Connection”.  Select the Sharing tab, and enable Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection.  For the Home networking connection, select the virtual NIC setup by the ad hoc network.  That’s probably something like Local Area Connection*32.  Don’t select the Allow other network users to control or disable the shared Internet connection.
  8. If using something like WireShark for capturing network traffic, select the virtual NIC for the capture interface.  There’s no need to run in Promiscuous mode, and that isn’t well tolerated under Windows 8 anyway.
  9. The ad hoc network will have an adapter IP of 192.168.137.1.  It’s best to make the devices using the hotspot have fixed IPs and then specify192.168.137.1 as the gateway address.  Not specifying IPs results in DHCP, but I’ve never seen the ad hoc gateway successfully act as a DHCP server.  In that case, APIPA kicks in and the hotspot clients have to specify the gateway’s APIPA IP.  Messing with the ICS service under Windows 8 didn’t seem to help the situation.
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