One of the most popular resources for transforming a smartphone into a modem for your laptop, a.k.a. tethering, is PdaNet, which lets you tether your smartphone or turn it into a wireless router using bluetooth dial-up networking or via a USB cable connection. PdaNet apps are available for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and Palm OS mobile devices. The full version of the PdaNet app costs about $30 (depending on your mobile OS), but there are also free trial versions available which can continue to work after the trial period with some limitations or nagging added on.
How To Use PdaNet
Basic instructions for using PdaNet on all the platforms are below. Step-by-step instructions for Android tethering are also available.
- Download the software from June Fabrics to your laptop or desktop computer (note: this step is only needed for iPhone if you are using USB tethering on the iPhone, not the wi-fi tethering). The software works on Windows PCs and support for Mac is also available for Android or Windows Mobile tethering.
- Depending on the mobile OS, during the installation of PdaNet on your computer, the software will also install on your connected phone (e.g. BlackBerry) or you'll have to download the app for your phone from the mobile app market (e.g., Android Market). iPhone users, due to PdaNet not being allowed by Apple in the App Store, will have to jailbreak their phones first and install PdaNet via Cydia.
- Once PdaNet has been installed, you simply click on the app on your computer and/or smartphone and then you can use your phone's data plan for Internet access on your laptop. Yes, a data plan for your smartphone is required.
There are other iPhone tethering apps and Android tethering apps available, but PdaNet is one of the most popular and oldest tethering apps; it's also pretty easy to use and purported to be the fastest (at least for Android). As with any app that may not be officially supported by the carriers and may require you to hack your phone or get root access, you need to take care in what you are doing and check your wireless contract for any issues your wireless provider may have with tethering or using your phone as a modem.