Microsoft Research VirtualWiFi

I found this handy little program while browsing the Microsoft research webpage today although it has been out since August of last year(2005). I have not seen much about it on the net so I felt compelled to spread the word. Ok fine it is mainly so I don't forget about it in a few months.

Microsoft Research VirtualWiFi in layman terms is a tool to enable you to connect to more than one wireless network at a time using a intricate switching mechanism to make it seem like you are on one wireless network. It is all console based but well documented.

The main area that the researchers from MS and Cornell Univ. is to simply allow one Wireless card 802.11 a/b/g to connect to multiple networks for productivity in the workplace etc.
But in my realm of thinking I tend to think of people who travel a lot, and thus would be able to take advantage at a multitude of free hotspots in airports coffee shops etc.

I know some of you are thinking that if both of my neighbors have Wifi and they are unsecured but only get 1-2 bars of signal in my house if I combine them I may get better "pirated" signal strength. Well so far as I can tell this is true.

Mind you I am not advocating this use at all, I actually frown upon it if you don't have an "ok" from your neighbors to leech the bandwidth.

The above scenario(s) will not be attainable without a little work on your part. Due to the fact that in order to use this software you have to disable Windows built in Wireless zero configuration service, set it to manual and stop it actually. This is the service which pops up those little balloons telling you that you have wireless networks in range and then will automatically set it up for you with a few mouse clicks.

So now you are thinking it might be a little harder than not to do, trust me it is easy as stated earlier the instructions are simple and all most fool proof. Emphasis on almost.

Ok, what you need:
1. MS VWF program
2. Access point "sniffer" like Netstumbler
3. 2 or more wireless networks in range and open for access

1. Install the MS VWF program
2. Type services.msc in the "Run" box of the start menu
3. Find, stop, and set to manual the Wireless zero config service *note you can do this after you are connected to one of the networks in this scenario it actually makes it less work for you.
4. Open a command prompt at or navigate to the folder where the software installed


5. Input "VirtualWiFi install" without quotes - see readme if driver signing issues arise
6. Now check to see it installed there are two ways to tell
a. Check task manager to see if virtualwifisvc.exe is running or
b. in the open command prompt type in "virtualwifi helper -op getssid" without quotes

Now if everything went right and you see a response similiar to the above it is time to add our other network(s) into the equation.

7. Fire up your AP "sniffer" for get the next best signal
8. In the command window type in "virtualwifi addnetwork -ssid YourSSID -mode IS or AH

Now you should be able to use two networks at the same time

Hope this was educational, any questions or comments please feel free to post them.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey there Dan, I tried to follow your post regarding virtual wifi setup but i cudn't because the image links wch you've posted has expired ... I am trying to make my laptop act as a regular router where i can connect my Xperia X10 through it. the problem is my phone runs android and dosn't pick adhoc networks wch i create with vista. i found your blog while searching for softwares like Connectify which can work on Vista where in connectify is limited to windows 7 ... it would be of great relief if you could help me with this

this is my email id