We’ve discussed MiFi several time before. Slightly larger than a credit card, MiFi creates a WiFi hotspot. However, traditional WiFi hotspots usually are connected to an existing, wired Internet connection. The MiFi isn’t. Instead, it connects over the air to a cellular provider (Verizon in my case).
A 3G USB (or ExpressCard) modem also can connect over the air to your cellular provider. But unlike the 3G USB modem, you can share your MiFi connection with up to 4 other users. I haven’t had occasion to use this sharing feature yet. But it may come in handy when my wife and I take our next vacation. Sharing may also be handy in other scenarios (e.g., on the road with co-workers).
Windows 7 was expected to support “Virtual WiFi”, which would enable similar sharing of the WiFi card in your laptop. But it didn’t. Not out of the box anyway. However, Windows 7 apparently does support Virtual WiFi – if you know how to write code to access the Windows 7 API.
An outfit called Connectify apparently knows how. It’s written a program, which it offers as a public beta, that enables sharing your Wifi connection (or apparently any internet connection for that matter).
To use the program, your WiFi card needs to be compatible. If yours currently isn’t on the list, maybe it soon will be. Of course, you still need to be willing to share.