One of the biggest frustrations when you’re travelling is the less than compelling experiences that are typical with internet connectivity in hotels and conference venues – high cost, difficulty and/or extra costs to connect more than one device (laptop plus mobile phone, for instance), restrictive connection type (such as cable only: no use if you have an iPad or other tablet), etc.
Just before my US trip earlier this month, I discovered Connectify, a perfect solution to such dilemmas that lets you get online to a single internet connection with a wifi-capable Windows 7 computer and share that connection seamlessly and securely with wifi-enabled devices, whatever their platforms.
It worked from the get-go during my Las Vegas trip: start my netbook with the wired internet connection that my hotel provided, load up Connectify and voila! an instant wifi hotspot in my hotel room that enabled both my wife and I to get online via our various devices, she with her netbook and iPhone, me with my Android devices.
What it gave us was freedom to do what we wanted to do do with whatever device we chose, easily and with no fuss whatsoever: it just works. It was a similar picture for me at the Ragan conference in Amsterdam last week: wired-only connection in my hotel room; repeating the Vegas hotspot experience meant I could relax in bed tweeting from my mobile device if I chose to.
So how does Connectify actually work? Undoubtedly there is some clever technology in the background that makes your PC become a wifi hotspot (PC World magazine has details of that); the firm behind the program develops solutions for the US military and intelligence communities.
For users like you and me, it probably suffices to know just this:
- Download and install the Connectify application on your Windows 7 computer.
- Launch it, set your desired hotspot name and create a password.
- Select which internet connection you want to share and enable the hotspot.
- Connect your devices via wifi and get online.
That really is all there is to it.
(If you don’t see the Connectify video embedded above, watch it at YouTube.)
Connectify is available in two versions: free and paid. The paid version – Connectify Pro, under £20 in the UK – offers some additional features including the ability to share wifi from 3G/4G networks, drag-and-drop transfer of files of any size (you can do this with the free version but the feature is limited), and limited support for Windows XP and Vista computers.
I’m using the free version which is just fine if all you really want to do is get online with your multiple devices.
For getting connected on your terms, whether for business or personal, Connectify could well be the best thing since sliced bread.