Many devices have been capable of providing an Internet hotspot for quite a while, allowing the device to share its Internet connections with a set number of devices in close proximity. In fact, some mobile service providers even sell very worthy hotspot-specific devices as part of a larger data contract. Those who have attended Microsoft conferences this year can attest that the event Wi-Fi connections are spotty at times. At TechEd 2013 in New Orleans, for example, wireless access was so horrid in the Expo that many vendors were using Verizon Jetpacks to ensure they could provide demos to booth visitors.

I remember several years ago where IT would be called upon to visit remote locations to install and setup Wi-Fi routers for workgroup scenarios where company employees were dedicate to work remotely at the customer site. Things have definitely changed, and definitely for the better. Having a hotspot device is almost mandatory these days to ensure work is uninterrupted, since a lot of computing activities are now aligned directly online.

Windows 8.1 will introduce Broadband Tethering capability for any device, PC, or tablet that is broadband-enabled. So, any device running Windows 8.1 will have tethering built in, guaranteeing that up to 10 devices can utilize the same connection to the Internet.

Setting up tethering is easy. It's as simple as accessing the Network applet in Windows 8.1 and choosing to share the connection.

A network name will be established (which can be customized) and a password (also customizable) will be applied. The password must be 8 characters or more. Most people these days are familiar with locating and logging into a Wi-Fi network since access is offered at home, coffee shops, hotels, airports, and other retail outlets. The network name and password restrictions ensure that the security is as good as the individual setting it up, so a round of security training for Wi-Fi networks is probably a good first step before allowing Broadband Tethering to be active in the organization.

Still, this is a hugely valuable capability, giving end-users to the ability to setup their own workgroup scenario and saving IT resources and the cost of additional equipment.

 

This article is part of The IT Guide to Windows 8.1, a continuing series to make the case for Windows 8.1 in the organization.