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How to Tether
Your Android Phone
There are three ways to tether your Android handset and get sweet internet love even where there's no Wi-Fi in sight: the
risky-but-free rooting method, the still-geeky-but-not-as-bad free route, and the $30 easy way. Here are the pros and cons
Method 1: Tether Android with Apps that Need Root (Free, heavy configuration)
The Android Wi-Fi Tether application turns your phone into a Wi-Fi hotspot—essentially a MiFi—in one tap. The catch? You have to gain root access to your phone, a multi-step process
that uses an unofficial Android add-on which can brick your phone if applied incorrectly.
Android is doable for geeks and hackers with experience soft-modding hardware, but it's not something most users could (or
If you're up for getting root access in Android, the Android and Me blog runs down how to do it. It's a multi-step process that involves unlocking your phone's
bootloader, flashing a recovery image, and flashing an add-on to the default Nexus One firmware. Not for the faint of heart,
but definitely doable if you've ever upgraded your router's firmware or hacked your Xbox.
The pros of this
method: it's free and it makes your phone act as a Wi-Fi hotspot that any computer can connect to without extra software or
messing with your computer's setting.
The cons: you can seriously screw up your phone if something goes wrong,
and you may be sacrificing over-the-air automatic Android updates in the future. (If OTA updates cease, you can always
flash your recovery image—but this just means your rooted phone requires maintenance a non-rooted phone does not.)
Method 2: Tether Android
with Proxoid (Free, no root required, some configuration)
If you don't want to gain root but know enough to get around the command line and use proxy servers, the Proxoid Android app can tether your phone for free. Proxoid turns your Android device into
a proxy server that your computer uses to make internet requests.
Proxoid is free in the Android market, but to
get it working you have to install the Android SDK or device drivers onto your computer, tweak some of the settings, and then
configure your browser to use a proxy server whenever you want to tether. Here are the installation instructions.
To connect to the internet via Proxoid, on the phone you tap a button to start the proxy
server. On your Mac you enter a command in the Terminal and on Windows you run a batch file to start the tunnel, then you
set your web browser to use that proxy.
The pros of this method are that it's free and you don't need to gain root, so it's less risky. The cons are that
you've got to install the Android SDK (something really only developers should have to do), and set your browser to use the
proxy server each time you want to tether.
Note: Proxoid is the only method I haven't tested myself on the Nexus One. Proxoid's
documentation is a bit rough—the Mac installation instructions are second-hand, as the author doesn't own a Mac—and there isn't a Nexus One-specific listing. Let me know if you're successfully using Proxoid on your N1 and what OS
Method 3: Tether Android with PDAnet ($30, no root required, minimal configuration)
Finally, the PDAnet Android
application lets you tether
Android using an app on the phone plus simple software you install on your computer.
PDAnet costs $30 if you want to access https ports (which the free
version blocks). To connect to the internet via the phone, you tap a button to start PDAnet on the phone, and click "Connect"
in the PDAnet on your computer.
The pros of PDAnet are that it's risk-free, easy to use, and requires minimal setup. (You do have to enable USB debugging
on your phone, which is the geekiest step it involves, but that's just a checkbox in your phone's settings.) The cons of PDAnet
is that it requires the PDAnet software on your computer and that it costs $30.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Back when Android 2.2 Froyo first came to light oh so long ago, it made the process of tethering
simple, seamless, and most importantly, downright easy.
Essentially, all you really need to do was go under
the wireless section in the Android options menu and enable tethering – whether it be the usual wired USB connection
or the much more flexible mobile hotspot option. However, as we’ve come to see, carriers aren’t quite as accepting
of this out-of-the-box tethering method, which didn’t require handset owners to add on carrier plans to gain the feature.
Although there are still some Android smartphones that allow owners to tether without having the carrier intervention,
others aren’t quite as fortunate since the feature is locked out – well, that’s unless you add the appropriate
add-on feature to your account. Even with that, we’re still left having to watch out how much we chomp day, especially
when unlimited data plans are a thing
of the past. Rather, tiered plans are now being offered instead, and at the same time, they make us realize that we need to
watch out how much data we use per month.
Well folks, if data isn’t a problem seeing you’re still on
a grandfathered unlimited plan or simply have a huge data allotment with your plan, we’ve got a quick and easy solution to get tethering on your Android powered smartphone.
Above all, the best
part is that the process of getting tethering without some kind of monthly subscription can be obtained with two free apps
on Google Play. Furthermore, you don’t need to go through the hassle of rooting your
smartphone before gaining this highly prized feature.
Honestly, we check out plenty of smartphones around
the office, and for some of us, tethering is a crucial element in making us mobile. On top of that, peace of mind is at hand
when we tether – as opposed to hitching a ride on some kind of open Wi-Fi hotspot at the local café or something
With that people, here are 2 easy steps to get free tethering on your Android smartphone:
Easy enough, right?
For real people, those all the steps needed in getting tethering on your device without forking over monthly fees to your
carrier. First and foremost, we have June Fabric’s ever-popular PDAnet app, which
has been around for ages – even as far back as the good old Windows Mobile days.
In fact, they provide tethering
to a variety of platforms beside Android, like BlackBerry, Palm OS, and iOS (this one requires you to jailbreak your iPhone).
As long as you’re getting data on your Android smartphone, PDAnet enables you to share that connection with
your PC via USB or Bluetooth connections. On your PC though, you’ll need to install
the appropriate driver for your specific phone, but the installation process normally gets it done for you –
so yeah, it’s yet another painless process. Of course, you can surf the web, but just know that you won’t be able
to access any secured web sites, such as checking Gmail. In order to surf all web sites, you’re required to make a one-time purchase to buy the full version of PDAnet, which isn’t that bad at $15.95. For some smartphones, PDAnet also offers the wireless option of tethering via Bluetooth.
So there you have it folks, that’s one way to get tethering up and running without your carrier getting involved,
but it’s not the only option out there. Whereas PDAnet is wonderful with wired tethering, there is another one that
might prove to be more flexible for people. Naturally, we like PDAnet for the fact that it’s a direct connection being
used by a single device, but the app Fox-Fi delivers tethering via mobile hotspot functionality – something that has its own set of benefits.
Again, the process is simple with this one, seeing that all you need to do is download and install the app. However,
it’s worth noting that not all Android smartphones are supported by the app,
but the ones that are, there’s no rooting required whatsoever in getting wireless
tethering to work. We’ve used an LG Viper 4G LTE for Sprint to test it out, and just like that, we managed to get wireless
tethering to work ASAP.
Aside from assigning a specific SSID for our network, the only other thing we modified
with the app’s setting is the WPA2 password. Once those items are squared away, we’re able to use our laptop and
leech off the Viper’s 3G connection.
There you have it folks, these are two
free downloadable apps that bring tethering without the need to pay monthly fees through your carrier. Yes, there’s
a $16 cost to gain PDAnet’s
full functionality of surfing secured sites, but still, that’s only a one-time cost to you.
might not be supported by many Android smartphones, but for the ones that are, it’s sweet just being able to share your
data connect via mobile hotspot functionality. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Tethering means sharing the Internet connection of an Internet-capable mobile phone with other devices. This sharing
can be offered over a wireless LAN (Wi-Fi), or over Bluetooth, or by physical connection using a cable. +++++++++++++++++++++++++
there's a will, there's a way....especially for those that don't lkie Starbucks....
Smartphone users and
developers are a resourceful bunch. Faced with pesky obstacles like high prices for tethering or lack of carrier support for tethering, they've found ways to work around these obstacles through custom software
applications, jailbreaking, and other desperate measures to get their
mobile devices online. The Android tethering apps below, downloadable from Android Market, will turn your Droid, Evo, or other
Android phone into a modem for your laptop or desktop computer pretty easily.
is one of the most popular tethering apps for most mobile platforms. It allows you to use your Android phone's data connection
on your laptop via USB cable or bluetooth, is said to be the fastest tethering option for Android, and doesn't require you
to root your phone. Although you can continue to use it for free after
the trial period, the paid (~$25) version will let you access secure websites over the tethered connection. See step-by-step instructions for using PdaNet with your Android phone.
Barnacle Wifi Tether
Barnacle Wifi Tethering App
Wifi Tether turns your Android phone into a portable wireless hotspot (or ad-hoc access point) for other devices (your PC/Mac/Linux,
iOS/iPad, even Xbox). No software needs to be installed on the PC side and no custom kernel on the smartphone, but it does
require rooting your phone. The app is open source but if
you like it and want to support the developers, you can buy the inexpensive paid version to donate. It also supports WEP encryption,
but bear in mind that WEP is
really not a secure protocol.
AndroidTethering App -
PdaNet, AndroidTether is an app you install on your Android phone and also software you install on the PC, Mac, or Linux client.
It enables tethering over USB and doesn't require root access. The full version is about $13 (less than PdaNet), but the difference
between the paid and the free app is unclear. Confusingly, there's also another app by the same developers called "Tethering"
which appears to be the same thing.
Easy Tether App
less expensive alternative to PdaNet, Easy Tether works with Windows, Mac, and Ubuntu and can also tether your gaming system
(PS3, Xbox, or Wii). USB tethering is available now with Bluetooth DUN coming
later. Try the demo version (EasyTether Lite) to make sure the software works for your device before getting the $9.99 full
Tether for Android
Android Tether App -
has a wide userbase and reviews indicate that Internet speeds using the tethering app can be very fast (as high as 7 Mbps!).
Tether works with Mac and PCs over USB only, and otherwise works like PdaNet in that you install the app on your Android phone
and also on the client computer. A free trial is available and the full version costs $29.95, but there's a 30-day moneyback
guarantee. Note: Despite the positive reviews, I didn't install Tether because my mobile antivirus app said there was something
suspicious about the downloaded app -- just a word of caution.
A few important notes:
Speaking of caution and disclaimers: Some
-- or many -- of these apps are not officially supported by the carriers and manufacturers. For certain devices you may need
to hack your phone or get root access -- definitely not something supported by mobile companies. These are very much "use
at your own risk" solutions, and you need to make sure that your wireless contract doesn't expressly forbid tethering
or using your phone as a modem.
If it's too much of a hassle getting your cell phone to hook up to your computer, consider
mobile broadband service specifically for your laptop. There
are prepaid and daily use options as well as monthly data subscriptions that are comparable to the tethering data plans offered
by AT&T and Verizon.