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Connectify Hotspot is a tool that lets you share your network with anyone. In other words, the tool functions like a virtual router, letting other computers, tablets and smartphones in the house to access the connection. It recognizes your computer’s network card and configures it automatically as a hotspot.
Yes, the tool can be used for free, but there are paid versions too: Pro ($35) and Max ($50). The free version configures itself automatically, assigning your computer a password and network name. The premium version, besides facilitating automatic configurations, lets you manually configure the setup. For instance, you would be able to change the network name and password.
The Connectify Hotspot Pro version helps share 3G/4G connections. It lets you customize your hotspot password as well. The Pro version also supports unlimited flings or file transfers between connected devices. The free version limits the number of files you can share.
Besides offering everything the free and Pro versions offer, the Max version also lets you manage the custom DHCP and IP configurations for each device that is connected to the Internet via your laptop. This feature comes in handy for gaming, peer-to-peer sharing and custom applications.
If there are multiple devices you need connected to the Internet at any given time and there is only a wired connection handy, the premium Connectify Me versions make more sense. They would save you money on Internet data charges and also spare you the frustrations that come with sharing Internet connection on a Windows computer.
Connectify Hotspot features data monitoring (in all versions). The functionality helps if you’re charged for your Internet as per the data used and want to know the amount of data every connected devices uses. The feature offers information such as a device’s connected period, data usage, and download and upload speeds.
If you have a wireless network in your house, Connectify Hotspot would be unnecessary. But if you have a wired connection that’s hooked on to your desktop computer and you want the Internet connection on your mobile devices too, then this tool becomes relevant.
The tool supports WPA2 encryption, which means you can secure your network and give network access to only those devices that you intend to. The ‘clients’ tab in the interface would show the devices that are connected currently. Once set up and running, you could manage connections, and also track peers and devices previously connected.
Connectify Hotspot is primarily a tool that facilitates network-sharing. Most people would, therefore, not use it beyond that. That said, the tool also has a basic drag-and-drop functionality that lets you share folders and files with other devices on your network.
Windows 10 and most other versions of Windows come with a built-in driver that facilitates network-sharing. This should normally make Connectify Hotspot look redundant. However, not many know about ‘registry corruption’. In other words, if you’ve been frequently installing and uninstalling different software applications on your computer, there are chances some of those apps could have altered the registry, rendering hotspot creation via the built-in driver not feasible.