More Android Love: Tethering and Wifi Hotspot

June 1st, 2010 11 Comments

Speedtest of a tethered 4G connection

Lately, the content here has been all about Android and my new HTC EVO, but don’t despair, it’s not over yet.

Today, I test drove two of the sweet features that Froyo (Android 2.2) has promised, tethering and wifi hotspot.

I see these each as a jump forward, since I’ve been tied to AT&T’s Edge network for three years.

No, I didn’t magically get the Froyo update. These are both available on the EVO running Android 2.1, but your mileage will vary.

I mistakenly thought that I could tether the phone to my Mac just by using the USB connection, since after all, there’s an option in the list of choices for USB that says “Internet Sharing: Share phone’s mobile network with PC.”

Not so fast. It turns out that HTC’s Sense UI surfaces this option, but Sprint doesn’t support that option on the EVO.

Well, there’s debate here. Some say tethering is supported by an app called HTC Sync, but I couldn’t find it. Unfortunately, this is one of those cases where you’re at the mercy of the carrier.

You can, however, use an app called PdaNet to tether the EVO, so I guess Sprint does support tethering, just not via the Sense UI.

Once I got the EVO tethered with PdaNet, it worked like a champ. I turned on 4G and got a pretty decent speed test.

Then, I tried out the mobile hotspot feature, which Sprint offers for $30 a month for up to eight devices. The process was super easy; the phone generates its own network and password, which you can discover using wifi on your computer.

Obviously, the speed went down over the air vs. over the wire, but this is a really nice feature to have if you’re at a conference with overloaded wifi, e.g. Chirp in April.

I read a lot of conflicting reports on the actual cost of tethering. Some said it was unlimited over a 4G network, mostly because there just aren’t many. Others said 4G and 3G had bandwidth usage caps.

Since I’m not in a contract, I’m using this stuff for free, at least for a couple more weeks, another perk from Google IO.

Check out this video for a tutorial on both tethering and mobile hotspot.

Incidentally, the more I use Android, the more I realize that Rich is right. It’s a geek’s phone. Case in point, my wife wasn’t impressed at all by the tethering and mobile hotspot features.


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11 Responses to “More Android Love: Tethering and Wifi Hotspot”

  1. bex Says:

    yeah… just try signing into Disqus, Tripit, or Oracle through PdaNet…

  2. Jake Says:

    Why? Is it slow? Why would these be slow, SSL?

  3. bex Says:

    not jut slow: non-functional. I think all 3 use non-standard login mechanisms, so they can't authenticate you behind whatever reverse-proxy the phone company is using. Some — but not all — VPNs are busted as well.

  4. Jake Says:

    Wow, bummer. Have you tried a mobile hotspot?

  5. Jake Says:

    Why? Is it slow? Why would these be slow, SSL?

  6. bex Says:

    not jut slow: non-functional. I think all 3 use non-standard login mechanisms, so they can't authenticate you behind whatever reverse-proxy the phone company is using. Some — but not all — VPNs are busted as well.

  7. Jake Says:

    Wow, bummer. Have you tried a mobile hotspot?

  8. Sirlaughalot76 Says:

    I use cisco vpn, which doesn’t function over the PdaNet (real bummmer). However, over the mobile hotspot, it is fully functional.

  9. Jake Says:

    I’ve long-since left PdaNet, first for the Wifi Tethering app, then for a full mod w CyanogenMod. See here:

    http://theappslab.com/2010/09/28/cyanogen-the-closest-thing-to-vanilla-android/

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