How to use Wireless USB Adapter TL-WN823N as a Hotspot in Windows 10

It's a real problem to make a Wi-Fi access point in last builds of Windows 10, because of constant development of this system. There is an issue with Microsoft Mobile Hotspot, it doesn't work anymore on some machines. To check it out, enter the command shown below into Command Prompt (run it as Admin):

NETSH WLAN show drivers

You'll see a response like this:

C:\WINDOWS\system32>NETSH WLAN show drivers

Interface name: Wi-Fi

    Driver                    : TP-Link Wireless USB Adapter
    Vendor                    : TP-Link Technologies Co., Ltd.
    Provider                  : Realtek Semiconductor Corp.
    Date                      : 10/26/2016
    Version                   : 1030.11.503.2016
    INF file                  : netrtwlanu.inf
    Type                      : Native Wi-Fi Driver
    Radio types supported     : 802.11n 802.11g 802.11b
    FIPS 140-2 mode supported : Yes
    802.11w Management Frame Protection supported : Yes
    Hosted network supported  : No <==== 
    Authentication and cipher supported in infrastructure mode:

"No" means you can't use the system for Hotspot. Also in Settings --> Network & Internet --> Mobile Hotspot you may see a message like this:

"We can't set up mobile hotspot because your PC doesn't have an Ethernet, Wi-Fi or cellular data connection"

The attempt to use another "netsh" commands also fails:

C:\>netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=Titanium key=999999999999

C:\>netsh wlan start hostednetwork
The hosted network couldn't be started.
The group or resource is not in the correct state to perform the requested

But there still a way to avoid this issue using VirtualBox. The idea is very simple - install VirtualBox with USB support, then install Windows XP in it (or any other operating system), and run a hotspot utility in Windows XP. Let's see what we need:

Now what we have to do:

  1. Install Windows 10 drivers for TL-WN823N Wi-Fi Adapter. If drivers on TP-Link site are old, then use drivers that Windows installs;
  2. Install VirtualBox, be sure the option "VirtualBox USB Support" is selected in the installation wizard:

    Using VirtualBox as a Wi-Fi access point

  3. Install Windows XP SP3 into VirtualBox, use 256 MB of memory in settings, it's quite enough, add the TL-WN823N Wi-Fi Adapter in settings (USB section):

    USB settings for Windows XP SP3 in VirtualBox

    With latest drivers installed by Windows 10, the Wi-Fi adapter is shown as Realtek 802.11n NIC
  4. Start the Windows XP in VirtualBox, install drivers for TL-WN823N, reboot the Windows XP;
  5. Start the Windows XP in VirtualBox, install OSToto Hotspot utility, set it up (enter an SSID and password), wait for a while - it'll takes several minutes to get ready:

    OSToto Hotspot

    Try to connect to this hotspot using SSID and password. If it fails, switch the mode to the "Speed mode":

    Settings screen of OSToto Hotspot utility

Now you can try to connect to this hotspot using credentials (SSID and password) entered earlier.

It also worth to note that energy savings for all adapters should be disabled. To do this, click on adapter icons in Windows XP system tray, click on "Property", then click on "Configure". In the tab "Power management" uncheck "Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power". Make this for all adapters.

Windows XP system tray with adapter icons

By the way, there is another problem with 300Mbps Mini Wireless N USB TL-WN823N Adapter - if connect it to a specific USB port on a motherboard, the computer will hang at the boot. It happens because TL-WN823N adapter consumes too much energy, and some motherboard's USB ports can't provide enough power. But if connect the adapter to another USB port or a hub or a card reader with USB port powered by PC power support, all works fine.

This method works not only with TL-WN823N adapter, but also with others adapters. As it was mentioned before, almost any modern operating system can be used as a guest in VirtualBox, just like Windows 7/8, Ubuntu, etc.