Make portable hotspot with GNOME Network Manager

Yesterday I blogged about making a portable WiFi hotspot with Connectify on Windows 7 and that it would be really nice to add this functionality to GNOME Network Manager. In one of the comments it was mentioned that GNOME Network Manager already has the functionality. See a video on how to use it on this page. You can make an AdHoc network with network manager by clicking on “Create new Wireless Network” in the Network Manager Applet.

I’ve probably seen that menu item at least a hundred times but never got the idea that I could use that for sharing my Internet connection with my other WiFi devices. I think a better text would be “Create New Wireless Hotspot”. I think that is a lot clearer. However network manager does not create a real wifi hotspot but an adhoc network. My Nexus One does not see any adhoc networks. Furthermore when I try to connect with another laptop it does not get a valid IP address (It gets assigned a 169.x.x.x address). Maybe that has to do that it does not work well on my distro (Ubuntu 10.04) or wireless card (Intel WiFi Link 6000 Series with iwlagn driver). In order to be really useful the following features should be added.

  • Ability to make full WiFi hotspot out of your network card such that you don’t have issues with devices that can’t handle adhoc networks and that it gets recognized as just another WiFi network
  • Ability to make hotspot out of your wifi adapter while it is connected itself to another hotspot. (If that’s supported by the WiFi card)

To make the functionality more easier to use I recommend

  • Rename “Create New Wireless Network” to “Create Wireless Hotspot”
  • Instead of showing by default the window shown below where you create a new Network you show the settings of the last network/hotspot that was used.