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There is a well known app for Windows named: Connectify, used to share a wifi connection between a computer that only has wifi with other devices which requests that connection from the computer.

What's the best alternative for this app on Mac OS X Lion?

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May be it's just me, but the topvoted answer below doesn't seem to help. I couldn't share a wifi internet connection through another wifi connection (like we could do using Connectifiy). When I click on Internet Sharing, the options that I get to share the connection with, are (when sharing wifi connection): Ethernet, Bluetooth, and Firewire –  Atul Goyal Feb 15 '12 at 21:01
    
@AtulGoyal I expanded my answer in a question to cover that point. –  daviesgeek Feb 17 '12 at 22:40
    
Andre, can you please elaborate, or point us to a resource that describes how to share a wi-fi connection using a USB wireless adaptor? Thank you! –  user35092 Nov 21 '12 at 4:26

5 Answers 5

up vote 10 down vote accepted

You don't need to use a separate application. You can share wi-fi without any app. Go to System Preferences>Sharing>Internet Sharing:

internet sharing
You will be prompted to enter a network name and a password (if you choose to). It does also require you to have a hard-wired Internet connection. (If you are wondering why my sharing checkbox is greyed out, it's because I don't have a hard-wired connection)

You can also click on the Airport icon in the menu bar and then click "Create Network..."

Computer-to-computer network

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awesome, it has worked with me .. thank you a million daviesgeek .. you rock ... –  JAHelia Jan 28 '12 at 6:50
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Am I missing something or we can't share a wifi internet connection through another wifi connection (like we could do using Connectifiy). When I click on Internet Sharing as shown in that red box above, the options that I get to share the connection with, are (when sharing wifi connection): Ethernet, Bluetooth, and Firewire –  Atul Goyal Feb 15 '12 at 21:00
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Ok, so this doesn't really answer the question as Connectify allows wifi to wifi sharing. (Basically Connectify doesn't do something by itself, it is Windows (7) that has a Virtual wifi adapter that can be used to create a new wifi connection and using which the wifi internet connection can be shared). –  Atul Goyal Feb 15 '12 at 21:14
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umm.. I'm not sure about that. I mean before Windows included Virtual Wifi Adapter, I would find it difficult to be convinced that it was possible. But, yeah I think it's a feature only Apple can provide on our Macs. 2bh should be easier for Apple to do it, as Windows only had control of software part and they still did it, while on a Mac, Apple got control of both h/w and s/w. More importantly than having control of the h/w and s/w I'm expecting it to be easier for them as it's Apple!!! :) –  Atul Goyal Feb 15 '12 at 21:26
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Sadly - this answer doesn't apply to the question since Mac's version of internet sharing won't re-share the Wi-Fi connection. You need to get internet from a different port to re-share out from Wi-Fi. –  bmike May 22 '12 at 2:27

Mac OS X has an "internet sharing" feature in the Sharing panel in System Preferences.

As several people have already figured out in the question and answers here, it lets you share the connection from one hardware interface via any other hardware interface, but it can't use a single Wi-Fi interface as both the main connection and to re-share. (Windows 7 can do this, thanks to "network virtualization" features added by Microsoft, which essentially allows a single hardware Wi-Fi interface to respond to multiple SSIDs, and that's the underlying feature that Connectify leverages.)

One option that Mac OS X has that isn't quite an answer to this question, but is useful in some of the same situations, is that it can use Bluetooth to create a Personal Area Network (PAN), and its internet sharing feature can share the internet connection from Wi-Fi over the Bluetooth PAN, as documented here.

I've used this successfully to get an iPad to piggyback on a Macbook's Wi-Fi connection, so both were able to access the internet simultaneously in a hotel where I could only get one device on Wi-Fi. I was not able to get an iPhone 4S to connect to the PAN in the same situation, but supposedly it works for iPod Touches. I don't know if other computers (Mac OS X, Windows, Linux or otherwise) are able to join the PAN and use it as their internet connection.

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The above answers a good except for one thing: that you can share wi-fi to wi-fi as long as you have two adapters. I use an extra usb adapter to share the internal wi-fi of my macbook. Works perfectly fine.

Other users have done the same thing, and it worked like a charm. This was after struggling to use two different travel routers that were equipped with "cafe mode" capabilities which were supposed to allow WiFi to WiFi sharing.

After reading Andre's post, I zipped out and picked up the EnGenius EUB9801 wireless USB adapter. This has a driver for Mountain Lion which can be downloaded online. I then used the Sharing capability built into the Mac as described above. I connected to the available WiFi network using the EnGenius (so the input to my sharing is 802.11n) and shared through wireless (the internal "airport" wireless card). Once you have a USB adapter hooked up, WiFi to WiFi sharing becomes possible in this way. And, it's possible to connect multiple devices to the hotspot created by the airport, and to set up WPA2 Personal security (just click on WiFi Options on the sharing screen to set up security and to change your hotspot name if you'd like).

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The network architecture in Windows 7 has been redesigned and is more advanced than being able to just create a WiFi hotspot.

On a Mac, you can create a WiFi hotspot, only if it is from an Ethernet/RJ45, modem (3G/dun/PPP), Bluetooth or FireWire Internet connection as your source. The built-in hotspot will then use either of these source Internet connections and make it available via a WiFi hotspot through the built-in wireless interface. But, if you are connected to the Internet on a Mac via WiFi in the first place, then you cannot use that same built-in wireless interface to create the hotspot. In short, what you are asking does not work on a Mac running OS X. But it does on Windows!

In Windows 7, the OS can "split" a single wireless interface in two (a WiFi card + a wireless router), so the OS and applications can connect to a wireless network with internet, and use the same wireless interface to create a separate WiFi hotspot (on which internet sharing can be enabled and multiple devices connected).

This is very handy if you want to connect only your laptop to the Internet on public WiFi, and the configure the other devices to connect via the laptop's hotspot instead of the public one. I have a proxy & VPN software running on the laptop and the other devices are then invisible to the public hotspot.

Another use for this Windows-only functionality is for software like Connectify that allows you to use your laptop as a wireless access point (AP) when you travel. For example, you might settle into a hotel room, pay for an Internet connection for your MacBook, and then want to share that connection with your iPhone, iPad, and other devices.

Lastly, if you use the "create network" option on a Mac, you can join a wireless network (like ad-hoc mode), but will NOT be able to use your wireless Internet connection. Good for sharing printers and files, but not Internet.

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Luckily, you can install Windows on a Mac and use Connectify. The hardware is fine, it's just a modern driver architecture that's needed for simultaneous wifi client + soft AP. You can also implement such a "full duplex multicast endpoint" by writing an app on any WiFi Direct device like some Android phones and tablets. –  AlcubierreDrive Dec 31 '12 at 4:06

To share a wi-fi connection, click on the wi-fi icon in the menu bar and choose "Create Network". Specify a network name, channel, and security option (non, 40-bit WEP, 128-bit WEP). If you specify one of the WEP security options, you will also set a password. Press "Create" to establish the new shared network, and other computers and devices can join the shared network.

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thank you for your answer –  JAHelia Jan 28 '12 at 6:51

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