Even in 2011, many dorm rooms still come equipped only with a few ethernet connections, and no Wi-Fi. To make matters worse, oftentimes schools will ban routers that could potentially open up the super-secure locked-down network to malfeasant outsiders. But why should you be punished? You need a wireless connection for your Kindle, Xbox, and iPad, right? Luckily, whether you’re on a Mac or PC, there are ways to use your laptop to create a wireless dorm room oasis.

Windows

If you’re on a Windows 7 laptop, Connectify is a great utility to turn it into a Wi-Fi hotspot, no additional hardware required. As an addded bonus, they’re giving away a semester-long license of their $30 pro version to students for free!

The free version isn’t bad, and should serve most of the same purposes, but the Pro upgrade promises easier setup and the ability to change your network name (which could be useful for hiding the network from your nearby RA).

Mac

If you’re on a Mac, things are even simpler, as this feature is built into the operating system itself. Simply plug in your ethernet and turn on Wi-Fi. Then go to System Preferences in your dock, click the “Sharing” icon on the third row, and check Internet Sharing. Finally, say you want to share with computers using Wi-Fi, and you’re all set up.

You’ll notice an upward-facing arrow on your Wi-Fi icon in the system tray indicating that it’s working. Just remember to turn it off when not in use, because it’s sure to eat up your battery life.

[Via Lifehacker]