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What is Cell Phone Tethering and Why Should I Care?


Permalink 08:28:55 pm, by Jet-Screamer Email , 476 words   English (US)
Categories: Tech Tips, Gadgets

What is Cell Phone Tethering and Why Should I Care?

With the increasing proliferation of Smart Phones available, you may see a feature for some phones referred to as "Tethering". What is this tethering you may ask yourself and what good is it to you? Cell phone tethering is the process of using the 3G data connection on your phone as an internet connection for your computer(s).

Why Should I Care About Tethering?
Two very good reasons, costs and convenience. For starters, the data plans on most providers are very affordable, as they generally expect the usage to be email/web browsing through your cell phone. Verizon's unlimited (often referred to as "all you can eat") 3G data plan is only an additional $10/month on top of your minutes plan. Compare this to $70/month (plus the $50 for the hardware) for a Mobile Broadband USB Modem from Sprint and you can see the savings.

The convenience is obvious, you generally always have your cell phone with you so imagine being able to whip out your laptop wherever you are and be able to get on the internet. No need to find a wifi hotspot or get on your friends wifi. You ARE your OWN internet hotspot. And with BlueTooth there are no wires. Just open your laptop and you're connected.

Many internet users are what are considered "light users". They generally just email and browse the web. If you consider yourself a light user, you should seriously consider a data plan for your phone and use it via tethering as your home internet connection. Now you've just saved whatever you're currently paying for your home internet connection.

How is This Done?
Assuming you're phone supports tethering out of the box, it should have software included on a cd to help set this up on your computer and your phone will pass the data transfer via your included cables to connect your phone to your computer or if your computer and phone support it, wirelessly via BlueTooth. Questions to ask about tethering when purchasing a cell phone are:

  • Is there an additional monthly cost and how much is it?
  • How much data is included in that price?
  • How are the cell phone and computer connected? Physical Cable? Wirelessly with BlueTooth? Both?
  • Is there an actual cap on the "unlimited data" plan?

Going Around Your Carrier's Monthly Tethering Charge
If your Carrier charges a monthly tethering fee or worse, does not offer it at all, you can purchase a third party application from June Fabrics PDA Technology Group. They have versions for iPhone, Android, BlackBery, Palm, and Windows Mobile phones. This will allow you to use your cell phones data plan to connect your laptop to the internet and will appear to the carrier to be usage on the phone. (We don't recommend sharing the fact that you're using this third party software to tether with your Carrier)

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