Imagine this: you just moved into a great apartment in a cool building. You were promised that Internet and cable were included in rent, but when you go to set up your devices, you realize you’re only permitted to connect three of them to the Wi-Fi.
I was recently faced with this awful realization about my new apartment. Without the willingness to fund my own Internet connection, I embarked on a journey across the web searching for answers. How do I get more than three devices connected to my building’s wireless network?
Luckily, I found a pretty easy way to work around this three device nonsense.
You will only be faced with this problem if you live somewhere that Wi-Fi through the building or when you stay at a hotel.
Pro Tip: Ask about the Internet services offered in your building before you sign a lease, as you may not be permitted to connect all of your devices or the connection quality might not be what you’ve come to expect.
In the case of my building, connecting to the Internet requires giving the property management company the three Mac addresses of the devices you want to connect. Every Internet connected device has a Mac address, which can usually be found easily in the settings of each device. The building then allows those three devices to connect to the building’s Internet.
Like many, you may have more than three devices you want to connect to the Internet, such as your phone, computer, gaming console, Chromecast, Apple TV or Roku.
One might suggest installing a router in the apartment could solve the problem of not being able to connect all of the devices you want to use. A router would work if you are able to establish a physical connection to your building’s Internet. Unfortunately, not all buildings have a place for you to plug in an Ethernet cord and connect physically to the Internet.
Fortunately, there is a solution that doesn’t require a physical connection.
After many hours of Googling, I finally found an incredibly simple solution. First off, for the solution to work, you need to make sure you get your computer connected to your building’s Wi-Fi (i.e. I gave my computers Mac Address to my property management).
Next, you need to download a completely free program, Virtual Router. Virtual Router will turn your computer into a wireless router and create a new, unrestricted connection for your devices to connect to.
I should note that you are only able to download Virtual Router on Windows 7 through 10 and not on Macs. However, there is a way to share your Internet connection on a Mac if you have a wired, physical Internet connection available to you (something hotels usually have).
The steps after you download the program are fairly straightforward. Install the program, run it and fill in a couple of lines of information: network name and password.
Once you have the necessary connection information entered in, click the “Start Virtual Router” button and you should see the connection you just named pop up on any nearby Wi-Fi enabled device. You will be able to connect any device you want to your computer’s shared connection by simply clicking the connection and typing in the password that you chose.
You are now able to connect as many devices as you want to the Internet; you just need to have your PC open and running Virtual Router to do so. My experience with Virtual Router so far hasn’t been without a few connection issues; however, it’s difficult to determine whether the issues stem from Virtual Router or the weak Internet connection in my building. Nevertheless, it does the job fairly well and I finally can get back to watching HBO Go.
Have you ever used a workaround to get past a building’s Wi-Fi restrictions? Share it in the comments below!
Written by Tyler Smith