Users can turn their laptop into a wireless access point with an new app based on an unfinished feature from Windows 7.
Wireless networking firm Nomadio has launched the application, Connectify, as a free beta, enabling laptops to act as true ad-hoc hotspots and allowing any Wi-Fi enabled device to connect.
The company, which specializes in military network consulting and development, said users are able to connect to a Wi-Fi network while acting as a Wi-Fi hotspot.
The application is based on unfinished code from Microsoft's Virtual Wi-Fi project, which did not make it into Windows 7. The function would have acted in a similar way to virtualization for operating systems.
Nomadio CEO Alex Gizis told TechWorld the company will likely charge for the final version of the product, which should launch in around six weeks. But Nomadio is also considering offering a feature-light version of the app for free, possibly supported by advertising.
The company's FAQ advises users to check with their ISPs to see if internet sharing is allowed under their terms of service.
The Wi-Fi Alliance, the global body behind the wireless standard, announced last month a new spec that would allow Wi-Fi devices to connect directly to each other. It is expected to be commercially ready in mid-2010.