Most mobile smartphones have the option to share their internet connection with other devices, such as laptops and tablets. This is known as mobile 'tethering' or a 'mobile hotspot' and allows a mobile phone to basically function as a portable wireless router.
Tethering can be performed both on Android smartphones and iPhones, but only some Windows phones are capable of tethering. Some ISPs disable a mobile's ability to share its internet connection although this is currently not true of any Australian internet providers.
Warning: Note that tethering can be fairly draining on a mobile's battery and will of course chew into your phone plan's data quota. This is probably only worth doing for occasional mobile convenience or if you are a 'light' user of data (i.e. just email, occasional browsing, etc.) or have a massive data quota on your phone plan.
The setup procedure is relatively straightforward but does vary according to make and model of phone and different versions of the phone's operating system (i.e. Android or iOS). Smart people use Android (don't we, Karen..!)
Samsung Galaxy S2 with Android 4.0.4
1. Set up the phone to share its internet connection..
- Tap Applications
- More... (or Tap 'Wireless and network' on earlier versions)
- Tethering and portable hotspot
- Tick the 'Portable Wi-Fi hotspot' box to start tethering
- Tap 'Configure portable Wi-Fi hotspot' (or 'Portable Wi-Fi hotspot settings')
- Change the 'Network SSID' to whatever you like or simply leave it as it is (this is the name other devices will 'see')
- Change security to WPA2 PSK (can be changed later if other devices can't use this)
- Choose and type in a Password for other devices to use to connect. Save.
Note that if the phone is connected to a Wi-Fi router itself, then activating tethering will make the phone disconnect from the access point. Turning off the portable Wi-Fi hotspot function will allow the phone to reconnect to a nearby wireless base station again.
2. Establish a connection to the mobile phone from other devices..
- Turn on Wi-Fi on the other device
- Find the list of available Wi-Fi networks
- Select your mobile phone's SSID on the list
- Key in the required access code (password) and establish a connection to your mobile phone
- Once connected, access the internet from the other device like a champion
- Tap Settings
- Network, scroll to the bottom
- Tap Internet Tethering (or Personal Hotspot in later versions) button
- Share using Wi-Fi is the usual option, but USB or Bluetooth can be used
- Move Slider to ON
- A warning appears if Bluetooth and WiFi are not enabled. This is OK. Either enable Bluetooth and WiFi or tap the "USB Only" button.
- Provide a password and connect devices as outlined above