Wi-Fi sharing utility Connectify 1.0 launches, remains free

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A few weeks ago we were telling you about a nifty little utility called Connectify that promised to seamlessly turn any Windows 7 laptop into a wireless access point. Available as a public beta at the time, Connectify has now rolled out its production ready 1.0 release, which fixes a handful of bugs and adds support for even more wireless cards, improves its system resources management and -- best of all -- has kept its free status.

Sharing your Wi-Fi connection with Connectify is pretty straightforward. Once installed, simply create an access point name, give it a WPA2 encrypted passphrase and choose the net connection to share. Windows 7 is required on the notebook acting as a wireless hotspot, but any wireless-equipped device, including handhelds and other notebooks running whatever operating system can jump online without any additional software.

Your friends won't see an "ad-hoc" network but rather a full blown Wi-Fi access point served up from a virtual cloned version of your wireless network adapter. The software enables users to save money on multiple Wi-Fi connections while on the road and still get all their devices online simultaneously. It can also serve as a rough and ready solution to extend the Wi-Fi range of your home network without buying a repeater router.

Rather than charging for the Wi-Fi sharing functionality as initially expected, further down the road the company plans to provide a number of value added services within the software that will be made available for a small fee.

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