Enabling Hostednetwork through Soft AP Activation: A Guide

Here is a solution that can be followed to address the issue. Please note that certain Intel Wireless Adapters do not support soft AP and ad-hoc features that implement the new Windows 10 WDI model (driver version 18.30 or later). These adapters include the Intel® Wireless-AC 9560, Intel® Wireless-AC 9462, Intel® Wireless-AC 9461, Intel® Wireless-AC 9260, Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265, Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 3168, Intel® Tri-Band Wireless-AC 18260, Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260, Intel® Tri-Band Wireless-AC 17265, and Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265. To address this issue, download the Intel PROSet Wireless Software and Drivers for Windows 8 with Hosted Network Capability (version 17.16.0) from https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/24863/Intel-PROSet-Wireless-Software-and-Drivers-for-Windows-8-?product=83635. Please note that the ability of hosting network is removed in latter versions.


Solution 1:

The soft AP and ad-hoc features that implement the new Windows 10 WDI model (driver version 18.30 or later) are not supported by certain Intel Wireless Adapters. The affected adapters are listed below:
https://www.intel.in/content/www/in/en/support/articles/000023257/network-and-i-o/wireless-networking.html

The models of Intel wireless cards listed are: Intel® Wireless-AC 9560, 9462, 9461, 9260, Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265, Dual Band Wireless-AC 3168, Tri-Band Wireless-AC 18260, Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260, Tri-Band Wireless-AC 17265, Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265, Dual Band Wireless-N 7265, Wireless-N 7265, and Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165.

Download and install the Windows 8 (32/64) drivers for the adaptor from the following link: https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/24863/Intel-PROSet-Wireless-Software-and-Drivers-for-Windows-8-?product=83635 which belongs to the hack part.

The version 17.16.0 includes the capability of hosting a network, while this feature has been removed in later versions.

To begin, navigate to either the “C:WindowsTemp” or “C:UsersUserAppDataLocalTemp” folder and launch the “Wireless_17.16.0_De64.exe” with administrator privileges. Next, quickly check the “temp” folder for a new temporary folder where the contents of “Wireless_17.16.0_De64.exe” are extracted. Copy the folder or files to your desktop or a new folder within a few seconds, as the extracted temporary folder’s contents will be automatically deleted. Afterward, open the device manager by pressing Windows+R, typing “devmgmt.msc,” and pressing enter. Under “Network Adapters,” select “Intel(R) Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165” and right-click to open “Properties.” From there, select “Update Driver” and choose the option to browse for driver software. Then, select the option to pick from available software and choose “Have Disk.” Navigate to the folder where the drivers were copied and select the appropriate driver file for “Intel(R) Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165” and install it.

The adapter’s ability to host a network will be restored with the installation of these drivers.

Proceed by executing the command “netsh wlan show drivers”.

Use the command “netsh wlan set hostednetwork” to enable the hosted network mode.

Disable the hosted network mode by using the command “netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode= disallow”.

Use the command “netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow” to enable the hosted network feature. Then, specify the desired network name (SSID) and password (key) by typing “ssid=” followed by the name and “key=” followed by the password. For example, to set the network name as “L460” and password as “12345678”, write “ssid=L460 key=12345678”.

Use the “netsh wlan set hostednetwork” command to allow the mode of the hosted network and set the SSID to “L460”. Additionally, set the key to “12345678” and specify that it should be used persistently using the “keyUsage” parameter.

netsh wlan start hostednetwork

netsh wlan stop hostednetwork

netsh wlan show hostednetwork

Display the security settings for the hosted network using the command “netsh wlan show hostednetwork setting=security”.

Execute the necessary commands by running them with administrator privileges using cmd.


Solution 2:


The outdated Soft AP and Ad-Hoc Wi-Fi networking options have been deprecated by Windows. Consequently, the corresponding features are being removed from Wi-Fi drivers. As a result, when queried with

netsh wlan show drivers

, the message “Hosted network supported: No” is displayed, which is concerning.

Windows now prioritizes the use of Wi-Fi Direct in such cases, and you can confirm if a Wi-Fi device or driver supports it by using the command

netsh wlan show wirelesscapabilities

. It appears that Wi-Fi Direct is usually supported, especially in drivers where updates have removed the capability for “Hosted networks”.

Windows now supports Wi-Fi Direct, enabling users to access new Hotspot features. However, setting up a Soft AP to connect directly to a Windows machine via Wi-Fi is not a straightforward process, unlike Hotspots that connect to the internet through the Windows machine.

Despite the absence of a direct

netsh

option, the operating system’s support for Wi-Fi Direct and its API provide the necessary features to establish a Soft AP. One can use the ‘Wi-Fi Direct Legacy AP Mode’ keyword to locate it.

On GitHub, you can find a code sample named “WiFiDirectLegacyAP” which performs the fundamental task of configuring a SoftAP. This includes assigning the SSID and passphrase, as well as initiating the soft AP. With the API, additional features such as the ability to decline connections and several other options can also be utilized.

I have created a new repository for the sample and distributed updated binaries to simplify the process of running it.


Solution 3:


If you are considering writing your own application, you can check out the WiFi Direct API that has a legacy mode. By enabling this mode, you can create a SoftAP with a designated SSID and password. It should be noted though, that the API does not support having no password specified.

To witness the legacy mode and access a more comprehensive documentation than what Microsoft offers, refer to the IotOnboarding/IoTOnboardingService/OnboardingAccessPoint.cs sample in IoTOnboarding.

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