Windows 7: Wireless Bridge

I just got a Seagate FreeAgent Theater+ last week. It’s a great device that can play a lot of different media formats at 1080p. The latest firmware also lets you stream Netflix movies. One problem I have is that it does not have a wireless network card. The FreeAgent Theater+ is placed by the TV in the living room, and it’s far away from the router. Before I get a WIFI USB dongle for it, I want to test the network functionality first. I have used my Macbook to act as a wireless bridge for my PS2 to connect to my wireless network at home. This time, I want to use my Windows 7 based laptop and see if it’s possible to do so. To my surprise, Windows 7 has made it easy to bridge the Ethernet connection with a wireless network.

Before we begin, you need to have a Windows 7 laptop with a working wireless connection. Here are the steps:

  1. On the Windows 7 laptop, click on the Windows icon. Type view network connections and press Enter.
  2. Identify your Ethernet connection and your wireless connection. In this example, the Ethernet connection is called Local Area Connection and the wireless connection is called Wireless Network Connection.
  3. Click on Local Area Connection to select it. Press and hold the Ctrl key and click on Wireless Network Connection to select it. Now you should have both connections selected.
  4. Right click on the selection and select Bridge Connections.
  5. Now use an Ethernet cable to connect the Ethernet port on the FreeAgent Theater+ and the Ethernet port on the Windows 7 laptop.

That’s it. The FreeAgent Theater+ is now connected to the network using the Ethernet connection. This technique applies to other appliances with just Ethernet connection like Xbox 360, Blu-Ray player and Network enabled TV.

Note that when your laptop is acting as a wireless bridge, you might not be able to use it to browse the Internet at the same time. When you are done, follow the step 1 and step 2 to network connections in control panel. Right click on the bridged connections and select Remove from Bridge.

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