How to Make Your Laptop a Wi-Fi Extender

Transform your computer into a wireless repeater

What to Know

  • Use apps like MyPublicWiFi or Connectify to repeat the signal. Those same programs can create a Wi-Fi bridge.
  • Share Wi-Fi: Windows Settings > Network & internet > Mobile hotspot choose method for sharing (Wi-Fi, ethernet, etc).

This article describes two ways to make your laptop act as a Wi-Fi extender, either by repeating the wireless signal without changing the login details, or by creating a new network from your laptop to share the Wi-Fi signal with other devices.

How Can I Increase My Laptop Wi-Fi Range?

There are two methods to help to answer this question:

  • Use a program which repeats the signal. This boosts the Wi-Fi signal to broaden the overall network reach, similar to how Wi-Fi extenders work, but without needing real Wi-Fi range extending hardware. If your house is too big for one router to cover it effectively, this technique should help.
  • Windows' built-in Mobile hotspot feature builds an on-demand Wi-Fi hotspot, complete with a different SSID and password than the primary network. This is useful in a situation where you're paying for a single connection for your laptop (like in a hotel or airplane), but you want to extend the Wi-Fi capabilities to your phone. Or, if guests want to use your home internet, but you don't want to share your real Wi-Fi details.

Repeat the Signal

We'll use a program called MyPublicWiFi to show this is done, but there are others that work similarly, like Connectify with Hotspot MAX.

  1. Download and install MyPublicWiFi. It's built for Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7.

  2. From the network tab at the top of the program, choose WLAN Repeater.

  3. Choose the correct internet connection from the menu (there's probably just one).

    Before finishing with the step below, there are other options you can toggle from the security tab, like bandwidth control, an ad blocker, and URL logging.

  4. Select Start Hotspot.

    MyPublicWiFi WLAN Repeater options with Start Hotspot highlighted

Share Internet Access

Windows 11 and Windows 10 make building a Wi-Fi hotspot incredibly easy. The option is in the Mobile hotspot area of Settings.

  1. Open Settings. The fastest way to get there is with the Win+i shortcut.

  2. Go to Network & internet > Mobile hotspot.

    Windows 11 network and internet settings with Mobile Hotspot highlighted
  3. Select the button next to Share my internet connection from if you need to change that option. For example, maybe you'd rather share the Ethernet connection rather than the Wi-Fi signal.

  4. If you're on Windows 11, there's another option next to Share over, which lets you choose Wi-Fi or Bluetooth as the sharing technique.

    Windows 11 mobile hotspot settings with Share Over and Wi-Fi highlighted
  5. Open Properties > Edit (Windows 11) or just Edit (Windows 10), if you want to change the default network properties, like the network name and password.

    It's these details other devices will need to know when they connect to the network.

  6. Select the button next to Mobile hotspot, at the top of the window, to turn it on.

Can I Use My Laptop as a Wi-Fi Bridge?

A Wi-Fi bridge is handy in specific circumstances, like if the devices that will use the shared connection will need to access other devices on the network. The alternative, without a bridged network, isn't ideal if, for example, you have a Roku plugged in to your TV—if the Roku is on the bridged network, but your remote/phone isn't, then the two won't be able to communicate with each other.

One program popular for such a scenario is Connectify Hotspot. You need to pay for Hotspot MAX to use Bridging Mode.

The MyPublicWiFi program, mentioned above, works as well. Use the Multifunctional Hotspot tab to find the bridging option, and then choose the network adapters to be used to make the bridged connection.

FAQ
  • How do I set up a Netgear Wi-Fi extender?

    To set up a Netgear Wi-Fi extender, plug in your Netgear Wi-Fi extender, press the Power button, and then connect your computer or mobile device to the extender's Wi-Fi network (the default SSID is NETGEAR_EXT and the default password is password). Launch a web browser, enter 192.168.1.250, select New Extender Setup, and follow the prompts.

  • What is a Wi-Fi extender?

    A Wi-Fi extender spreads your Wi-Fi signal so you can use the internet in more areas of your home or office. You want the extender to be close enough to the router to be able to extend its signal.

  • What is the best Wi-Fi extender?

    The best Wi-Fi range extenders include several models by Netgear and TP-Link. You'll need to compare features and prices to find the best Wi-Fi extender for your needs.

  • How do I reset a Netgear Wi-Fi extender?

    Plug in and power on the extender, and then locate a button labeled Reset or Factory reset on the side or bottom panel. Find a straightened paper clip or something similar, and then press and hold the Reset button for around 10 seconds. Release the clip when the power LED blinks.

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