Windows Mobile devices have long had the ability to share their internet connection with a laptop or desktop PC, with just the right software and a USB cable.
If your phone line, WiFi or cable connection is down, or you’re on the move with your laptop and Windows Mobile device in tow, as long as you have a data connection with your mobile contract and such a service is available (dependent on location) you should be able to use your handset as a modem.
This process is commonly called tethering – Windows Mobile users are able to take advantage of the platform’s version of Internet Connection Sharing in order to get online.
For users of Windows Mobile 6.0 and later, this is a relatively simple task – if you’re on Windows Mobile 5.0 however it’s a bit trickier.
Windows Mobile 6.0 and later
The most recent Windows Mobile devices come pre-installed with a useful enhancement to the operating system. Internet Sharing can be found on the Programs menu, and is a quick and straightforward method of routing your mobile device internet connection through to your PC or laptop.
A once fraught exercise (see below) can now be done with the minimum of fuss- however the quality of the web pages might be somewhat reduced, while your connection speed is at the mercy of the strength and type of signal you receive from location to location. Certainly using this method of connection while in transit can be problematic as your Windows Mobile device connects and disconnects to and from a vast number of transmitters and relays.
Page and image quality can also be affected by your mobile network compressing images before they’re passed on to you. This is a matter of the carrier managing their bandwidth, but it can restrict the sort of work or tasks you’re able to complete.
Many carriers also block the FTP protocol, so if you have any plans to upload any files to a web server while utilizing the tethered Internet Sharing this is something to bear in mind if things don’t go as expected.
Windows Mobile 5.0
Windows Mobile 5.0 devices equipped with AKU 3.0 (Adaption Kit Upgrade – software sent out to Windows Mobile phone providers) or greater also come equipped to allow sharing of the internet connection – however with devices without the AKU 3.0, it’s a little more complicated to get the connection setup.
To begin, visit www.PDAGold.com and pickup the USB Modem & Driver zip file. Download and unzip the two files to your PC hard drive.
Your phone should be connected to your Windows machine via USB cable when you begin the process – on your Windows Mobile device go to Settings -> Connections -> GPRS -> Add New.
You’ll need to know the name of your mobile network’s Access Point at this stage and enter it in the appropriate field. This can either be acquired via a telephone conversation with your provider, or a search on Google.
OK this, and check you can connect to the internet via your mobile browser.
Next it’s time to activate the modem – go to Accessories -> Modem Link and choose the USB connection, again entering the Access Point name as before.
When you click on Activate, the Windows Mobile device – now acting as a modem – will prompt Windows XP to install a driver. Follow the wizard through, choosing the .INF driver file in the USB Modem & Driver zip file you downloaded earlier.
Finally, browse to the folder you unzipped the USB Modem & Driver files to and run the USBModem_Dialer.exe file. This will prompt you to select a modem and enter the Access Point in the APN field – once this is done you’re ready to click Connect and enjoy mobile internet via your Windows Mobile device!