What is Microsoft Virtual WiFi Miniport Adapter?

So recently I was on a friend’s computer trying to solve a network problem and when I went to tweak the settings on one of the network adapters I noticed something interesting that I hadn’t seen before:

In addition to the normal WiFi network, there was also a Wireless Network Connection 2 and the name of the adapter was “Microsoft Virtual WiFi Miniport Adapter† I had never seen this before so it made me very curious. After some reading I found out that it is a new feature in Windows 7 and that you can do some pretty cool things with your wireless network card.

In this article I explain what the virtual WiFi mini port adapter is and how you can use it on your Windows 7 PC. Apparently this is a feature that is still in beta and therefore you won’t find much official documentation on how to use it.

In fact, Virtual WiFi is a technology that virtualizes your network adapter in the same way that VMWare virtualizes your entire operating system. Once virtualized, you can essentially turn one physical wireless adapter into two virtual ones. This will then allow you to connect one virtual network adapter to your normal wireless network and use the other virtual adapter to connect to another network, such as an ad hoc network or to create a WiFi hotspot and let others connect wirelessly with your Windows 7 machine as if they were connecting to a normal wireless access point.

To play around with creating your own wireless access point, you can do it one of two ways: use the command line in Windows 7, or download a third-party program that offers a nice GUI interface and some extra features. I’ll show you how to use both. If you’re a bit tech-savvy, I recommend using the command line, as the third-party program isn’t free.

Set up wireless access point using command line

The first thing you can do is share the Internet connection on your main network adapter so that when people connect through the virtual network adapter, they can access the Internet through your Windows 7 computer. You do this by going to Network Center and click Change adapter settings† Click on the Parts tab and check the box with the text Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection

ICS windows 7

In the drop-down list below Home network connection, make sure to choose the name of the virtual WiFi miniport adapter. It could be something like Wireless Network Connection 2 or 3, etc. Now to set up the wireless access point on the virtual network adapter, open the command prompt (Start, type cmd) and type the following command:

netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=VirtualNetworkName  key=Password

In the rule above, you must change Virtual network name to the desired name of your wireless network and change password to whatever password you want on the network. Note that all virtual wireless access points must use WPA2-PSK (AES) encryption anyway. Once it’s set up, you can enable it by typing the following line:

netsh wlan start hostednetwork

Type the following command to see details about the hosted network, such as how many clients are connected:

netsh wlan show hostednetwork

And that’s about it! Other users should now be able to see your newly created wireless access point in their list of wireless networks. They also need to be able to connect and connect to the Internet.

If all that was too much work for you, you can use a third-party app.

Set up wireless access point with Connectify

If you travel a lot or end up somewhere where you need to plug an Ethernet cable into your computer to connect to the internet and you don’t feel like fiddling with the command prompt, you can always check out a program called Connectify to do it work for you.

http://www.connectify.me/

This little app has a free and a Pro version. If you just want to share an internet connection on Windows 7, the free version is fine. The pro version has a lot of other features, which can be useful depending on your needs, otherwise I don’t recommend buying a pro.

to connect

Once installed, name your network, type in a password and choose the Internet connection you want to share. Sounds similar to what we did above, right? Connectify just provides a nice interface to do the same.

create access point

So now you know what the Virtual WiFi Miniport Adapter is and hopefully you will find it useful! If not, you can always disable it by going to Control Panel, Device Manager and disabling it under Network Controllers. Enjoying!

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