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‘The nightmare that was’… configuring a Dell Latitude E6500 as a Wifi Access point

Recently as my previous post mentioned, I purchased a non 3G Apple iPad, the WiFi part is sufficient for almost all events I am involved with. This time though I was to be staying in a Marriot Hotel in KL, Malaysia where the Wifi access did not cover all the rooms and all I had was my Laptop (E6500). Now this Dell laptop with Windows 7 installed is no longer the most reliable due to my constant requirements to install and remove apps that I feel may have some use for me. But I do not think that this is the reason I had so much trouble setting it up as a Access point for my iPad to connect through.

Anyone who had been doing their research will be aware that the iPad does not support tethering over Bluetooth to a 3G phone, a couple of sites claim that this is possible, its not! At least not yet. The two remaining paths I had to choose was either a Mifi device (portable access point and 3G device) or using my laptop as an access point, the latter option being cheaper and what I finally went for.

Setting up my laptop to work as an access point is where my problems started. Firstly my laptop had been locked down to prevent ad-hoc networks being configured, this site helped me override the settings dictated to me by my corporate overseers even if it was temporary:

There is a good thread along with the respective registry entries that need to be removed so an ad-hoc network can be configured on a Windows 7 PC.

Open regedit and delete the key HKLMSoftwarePoliciesMicrosoftWindowsWireless

This worked for me but could not get my beloved iPad to connect and obtain an IP address, iPad would connect and fail to talk to the Windows machine, regardless if a Manual IP address was entered for both the PC and iPad, first attempt, Fail!

I kept reading as there must be a better way to manage Windows 7 Wireless networking than the dire built in functionality (the more I use Windows 7, the less I like it and I really did like it to start with).

Secondly I found another utility called Connectify and this little app seemed to solve my prayers:

Installed Connectify and whammo, Wireless network is up and running but iPad still wont connect, reading a little further into the Connectify UI and its apparent that my Wifi Card Intel Wifi link 5300 ABG was only working as an Ad Hoc network and for some reason the iPad doesn’t want to connect to that either. Looking at the support list for Connectify, it appeared that the card I had should run in Access Point mode so a quick search and download from Intel got me around this next hump:

Installed the driver here and restarted the Laptop, Access point is running perfectly and iPad now connects to the internet via the Wifi on the Dell Laptop.

Now if only Apple would start to support tethering, even if it was via a cable then i life would be a lot easier, how else do I install those shiny applications and use Twitterific.

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