Posts Tagged ‘tethering’
I know some of you are dreaming about the upcoming 3G-enabled Apple iPad. You don’t mind spending the extra $130 in price nor the $19.99/month for connectivity. I thank you for supporting the economy in these hard times! But, some of us already paying for mobile data service wonder why that’s necessary.
James Kendrick, over at JKOnTheRun, recently talked-up the possibility of tethering one’s shiny new WiFi-only Apple iPad to achieve Internet connectivity in places where WiFi is not available. He was talking about the MiFi (Verizon) or OverDrive (Sprint) options. While these both sound like great alternatives, the charges will come on top of whatever current mobile connectivity you have – same as when you buy an iPad with AT&T’s 3G coverage. But I’m cheap and on T-Mobile. And I’ve got the T-Mobile G1 device – the first available Google Android-based device – with a full-up data plan. So I wondered if I could get my iPad to tether through the G1.
The answer is YES; the process slightly involved. The rewards, however – a cheaper iPad, no “dual fee” for wide-area data connectivity – are great. Continue reading for an abbreviated how-to.
A little love first: I’ve been with T-Mobile for many years and I’m very satisfied with their service, fees and customer care. Due to my business I change devices often, and sometimes do non-standard things with devices, and they’ve always been supportive. T-Mobile’s prices are great and my troubles have been (exceptionally) minimal.
There are a couple of application options on the Android Market for tethering but, long story short, they require root (privileged) access to your phone which, in turn, requires that you modify the phone’s software. Now, I’m not the jailbreak type, frankly, but Android is an open source operating system and I have been very curious about what the community has been doing to add value. Further, my business partner Nathan Freitas has been using a rooted Android phone as the basis for his Guardian project. So I decided to take the leap.
First I backed up my apps and data using Rerware’s MyBackup Pro, a great little app for Android. Then I hunkered down with the docs: here’s how to root your G1 phone using CyanogenMod – though note that Cyanogen supports other devices as well. Once rooted with Cyanogen, you have the privileged access you require, but an operating system very similar to the stock version. This process took me about 90 minutes.
Note there are a number of reasons to root your Android phone. Just ask LifeHacker.
Once you’ve installed, you’ll boot up a fresh device and be asked to sign back in with T-Mobile. I brought back my apps and data after that.
My tethering application of choice was the Android WiFi Tether on Google Code. You download the application to your PC or Mac, then (using USB) copy the app to your device’s SD card, and lastly use a program called AppsInstaller (also available on the Android Market) to install the tethering app on your device.
There’s a small amount of config to do: give your device an SSID, choose security (WEP, and therefore a password), select Bluetooth or Wifi. There’s also a great little access-control feature which allows you to approve devices seeking connection (permanently or temporarily). Say you’re in a coffee shop or other public space where somebody might be trolling for a connection. With access-control turned on, you’ll see (and can reject) anyone looking for a signal.
I tried the tethering application first with my Macbook as I suspected it might have more robust networking support. Sure enough, it found the phone as a device (rather than a wireless hub, because this is an ad-hoc 802.11 network you’re creating with the tether) and everything worked smoothly on both sides. That left me wondering if the iPad would recognize it.
Sure enough it did. The iPad’s WiFi configuration panel is simpler than the MacBook’s and it shows no difference between a router connection and the device. Piece of cake. Hunky-dory. This setup works like a charm. I’m thrilled to have wide area connectivity for my iPad now.
Disclaimer: No article about updating your phone’s software is complete without a disclaimer regarding the ills that could befall you should your update fail and the trapdoors possibly sprung in your mobile service contract in any case. Please be aware of these issues (by consulting your mobile service contract) before you decide to enjoy the benefits. Also be aware that, with the CyanogenMod at least, you have the option to Revert To Stock (yes, there are second chances in life).