Maybe you’ve sometimes used a phone as a personal hotspot, but did you know you you can go the other way?
Sharing your computer’s internet connection with your phone or other mobile device might at first sound like an unhelpful function, but there are times when this is a valuable capability.
One such example was on my recent trip out of state. While the hotel did have wifi, it used a captive portal login that made connecting a pain on some devices, and absolutely impossible on other devices, like a Nintendo Switch that couldn’t present the hotel’s login webpage. Still other devices like my Chromecast, are also frequently impossible to use on a wifi network that uses this type of authentication.
By just connecting my laptop to the hotel wifi then creating a hotspot myself, I was able to use all my devices effortlessly and without ever logging into the hotel wifi more than once. I was also able to use my Chromecast, media sharing, and more across all my own devices. I even shared my hotspot with my travelling companions so they could use their own gaming platforms and tablets without messing with hotel logins. They were even able to cast videos to our room TVs.
While hotspot capability has been around in one form or another on Windows for years, until recently it took more than a few keystrokes in a command terminal to turn it on. So much so I had to keep a OneNote cheat sheet to reference when the occasion would arise:
Today however, there’s a far (far far) easier option. In fact, it’s just a simple on-off switch like any smart phone is liable to have.
You can configure the hotspot in the Settings app under Network and Internet, then Mobile Hotspot. If you’ve never used it before, you’ll need to pick a hotspot network name (SSID), and a password. The full steps are here, although do note that the “turn on remotely” option currently only supports remote devices running Windows, so there’s no ability to automatically engage your hotspot from your iOS or Android device yet.
Once configured, however, you can turn it on and off even faster. Just open the Action Center (where your notifications go) and click the Hotspot icon at the bottom:
Beyond the hotel use case, this could also be valuable in situations where wifi is absent but a wired network connect is available, and one could share the wired network via a Windows PC. Unlike installing a wifi router or software, this solution makes no permanent changes to the network and does not require administrative rights to the PC.