Tethering to an Android phone
Posted: Thu, 6 January 2011 | permalink | No comments
Whilst my philosophy with mobile phones has always been "if it can make and receive calls and SMSes, it's good enough for me", the geek in me occasionally lusts for a smartphone. So I now have an Android phone.
Once you have a smartphone, you need a plan that includes data. Once you've got that, you realise that your USB mobile internet dongle is somewhat redundant, as long as you can get your laptop talk through the phone. It turns out, with Android, it's pretty easy.
First, root your phone. There are a couple of tethering apps that don't require rooting, but the tradeoff is you end up having to install proprietary drivers in your laptop, and if I'm going to have a security hole somewhere, I prefer it to be in my phone, not my laptop. Rooting an Android phone is trivially easy with Universal Androot. Despite warnings I've seen to the contrary, it didn't even wipe my phone's apps and settings, although that might be a lucky coincidence. Backups, people!
Then we need the tethering app -- I use Barnacle Wifi Tether, because it's open source, easy to use, and fully featured. Trivial to install from the market, you just start it up and it's ready to go. It acts as an ad-hoc wireless router, with a DHCP server and NAT to make life easy. In theory it supports WPA and WEP, but that doesn't appear to work for me. If anyone on the train is desperate enough to leech off my wireless, they're welcome to it.
The hardest part, ironically, was getting the laptop to connect. Having never played with ad-hoc mode before, it took me a little while to sort out exactly what was supposed to happen, but within 5 minutes I'd worked it out and was pinging The Internet.
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