Sharing Wi-Fi Via Your Microsoft Surface

One of the biggest gripes that people may have is the lack of 3G/4G/LTE connectivity on both versions of the Microsoft Surface. Of course, on Surface Pro you can plug in a dongle and add such connectivity but it can become cumbersome to have a USB device protruding from the tablet or a dongle hanging off the side.

If you’re staying in a hotel then you may have access to Wi-Fi however some will charge you to access the Wi-Fi on a “per device” basis. Personally, I think this is a rort but there is a way around it using your Microsoft Surface tablet (or any other Windows RT or Windows 8 tablet for that matter.

You can actually connect your tablet to Wi-Fi and then share that connection over Wi-Fi. This may sound strange as typically you would associate one physical network interface with one network but Windows RT and Windows 8 include something called “Wi-Fi virtualisation”. This was actually added under Windows 7 but relied upon your Wi-Fi adapter supporting such capabilities. What this does is it overcomes the limitation of the one to one relationship between hardware and a network interface and presents two “virtual adapters” which then share the same physical hardware. It’s a little like how you can run numerous virtual machines on your computer simultaneously whilst only have one set of hardware (CPU, RAM, hard drive, etc). However, these Wi-Fi interfaces have to operate within the confines of one piece of hardware which means that your speeds may drop as a result.

Anyway, how do you enable this functionality?

  1. Open an administrative command prompt,
  2. Type in netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=”MySSID” key=”Mykey” keyUsage=persistent where MySSID is the name of the new Wi-Fi network you want to create and Mykey is the password for the new Wi-Fi network shared from your tablet,
  3. Hit Enter,
  4. Start the new virtual network card by typing netsh wlan start hostednetwork which should then make a new virtual adapter appear in your network interface list,
  5. Go into Network and Sharing Center and click on the Wi-Fi network you want to share. It should list Access Type, HomeGroup and Connections. Next to connections will be the connection type and network name, something like WiFi (SSID) – in my case this says WiFi (Swissotel) but yours will obviously be different but click on that link,
  6. Click the Properties button in the bottom left corner of the new window,
  7. Click the Sharing tab,
  8. Tick Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection,
  9. Click OK,
  10. Click Close.

On your other devices, you should be able to connect them to your new virtual Wi-Fi network which will the reroute traffic via the original Wi-Fi network to which your tablet was connected. However, non-Windows devices may not be able to automatically obtain an IP address (I’ve found that my Asus Google Nexus 7 has had issues) so you’ll need to hardcode an IP address and DNS address in order to get things going.

As it stands, I now have three other devices using the Wi-Fi network without forking out four times the amount – not bad I reckon! 🙂


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    • Bobby on April 11, 2014 at 09:28
    • Reply


    thanks for sharing this useful information here, however i encountered a problem after doing what you said.

    The original wifi hotspot now becomes “This connection is limited” and no longer are able to access internet, thus the shared hotspot can’t go online as well.

    I tried turning on/off, restart, even type “netsh wlan stop hostednetwork”, and makes no difference, it’s stuck at “this connection is limited”

    is there anyway to reset the wifi configuration and make everything works again?

    Thanks for yor time!

    • Bobby on April 11, 2014 at 10:11
    • Reply

    I found out whats wrong, its because the original wifi setting is set to manual ip instead of auto, after I set it to auto, all is good now, thanks for the tips!

    and like you said, android has problem obtaining ip from the shared wifi, i am just wonder what ip address do I have to choose if my shared wifi ip is 169..254.86.183


    1. You should set your devices to use an IP address in the range of 192.168.137.x where x is anything except 0, 1 and 255.

        • Bobby on April 12, 2014 at 01:03
        • Reply

        thanks for your reply Boyd, really appreciate it.

        Let me describe my situation a bit more, because I still can’t seem to get it working

        the original wifi my tablet is connected to gave me an ip address of, withsubnet, gateway

        the wifi i created to share with other devices is called “wifi for share”, if i leave everything auto, i get ip with subnet with no gateway, access type internet, is this normal?

        and i set my phone to use, but it doesn’t seem to work, am i missing anything here?

    • Rachel on September 11, 2014 at 07:20
    • Reply

    Hi Boyd – I tried this as a quick fix when I wanted to use my phone’s internet connection. I no longer need that as am back on home wifi- I disabled and deleted the new local connection I had set up but now I can’t connect to any wifi. It shows as connected with full signal but it is “unidentified network” and won’t connect when I open the browser. Any ideas here to revert this?

    1. You might need to reset your network settings in that case as follows:

      1. Open an administrative command prompt,
      2. Type in netsh int ip reset c:\r.txt
      3. Hit Enter.

      You may also need to reboot afterwards but that should put everything back to defaults and allow you to connect to Wi-Fi normally once again.

    • Rachel on September 11, 2014 at 18:54
    • Reply

    It hasn’t worked unfortunately. In the control panel it is still showing as an Unidentified network – despite showing the name of network and “connected” in the charms bar. When I run troubleshooter it cannot find anything. Any more suggestions?

    1. What happens if you type netsh wlan stop hostednetwork on an administrative command prompt and reboot?

      If that doesn’t work, try netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=disallow

    • Rachel on September 11, 2014 at 20:11
    • Reply

    This still won’t work – I’m not sure what else to try 🙁

    • Rachel on September 11, 2014 at 20:14
    • Reply

    I guess it is the same problem as Bobby was having before but I can’t figure out how to change to auto IP address?

    1. The netsh int ip reset command should have put it back to automatic but you can find directions @ to put it back into automatic IP allocation.

    • Rachel on September 13, 2014 at 20:45
    • Reply

    Perfect now it works!

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