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Often as a teacher I find it valuable to be able to take an ethernet connection and create and share my own wifi network connection. I can do this to share my connections with other class members, or sometimes just to be able to connect my mobile devices like an iPad or phone.
To do this in Mac osX first you need to be sure that you are connected to an ethernet connection, then open your System Preferences and choose the sharing preference. From the sharing preference you can click on Internet sharing. Select the connection that you want to share, and then the port that you want to share it through. I will choose to share my ethernet connection and share it through my wireless. In the Wireless Options button I can also set a password if I would like.
Once you have your setting all arranged click the check box for Internet Sharing and then click Start from the dialogue box that appears.
Now client devices will be able to see your connection as one of their wifi options. If the network does not appear on the client device restart the device and it will likely appear.
Sharing a connection on Windows
While not quite as simple, a similar function is available for sharing a wifi connection from your Windows computer as well.
Detailed instructions for sharing your connection on Windows can be found here on a website called Addictive Tips.
If you have any questions, comments, or other ideas for using this functionality please share with us at firstname.lastname@example.org