Rating: Wi-Fi tethering provides Net access from the wilds of Esher
There’s little point in obtaining a news scoop if you can’t publish it immediately on your own news site/blog. GoMo News found itself in a tight spot today whilst covering a mobile cloud event in the wilds of Esher (see here). The venue’s router had decided not to play ball, so we were facing a total lack of internet access. Which is exactly what a mobile broadband dongle is intended to compensate for. The catch is that not one of our dongles presently wants to work. Fortunately, lateral thinking prevailed and we were able to access our site using the built-in Wi-fi hotspot facility which Android 2.2 (Froyo) provides as standard. Here’s how we did it.All we needed to do was take the SIM out of our mobile broad band dongle (which works on the 3 UK network) and slipit inside a suitable Android Froyo/2.2 . In our case the recently upgrade Motorola Defy.
A technique commonly referred to as ‘tethering’ enables you to utilise your smartphone as if it were a 3G modem. You can tether by installing drivers and connecting to a PC or Mac via a USB cable.
Far easier, is to turn on the Wi-fit tethering ability which Google built into the 2.2 release of Android.
Motorola calls this facility the 3G Mobile Hotspot. Fire this up and install a password to stop others stealing your mobile broadband connexion.
Then all you have to do is search for the Wi-fi hotspot you’ve just created. You can rename the handset’s default SSID from the settings option, so it should be easy to spot.
We found the Android hotspot; typed in the password; and connected successfully. The rest is history! Why didn’t we just use our mobile broadband dongle you might ask?
Ah. Well, one of the downsides to being a tester of multiple mobile devices is that the equipment you are using can get more than a little confused. This has happened to our trusty netbook – a Samsung NC10.
It started out running Windows XP but is now running a full (Ultimate) version of Windows 7. The first dongle we attached to this computer was a Huawei E220 supplied by 3.
That dongle was followed by a much newer device: – a ZTE MF627 – also originating from 3 UK. They both stopped working. We scoured the Net for every updated driver and even re-flashed their firmware. Still nothing.
So we swapped over to a dongle supplied by Vodafone – in this case another Huawei device – the K3565. No joy.
The problem is that despite the fact that Windows 7 says it is un-installing the software, it blatantly doesn’t. So the NC10 goes into a permanent loop looking for the correct drivers which it never finds.
Anyone ever fixed this problem? And don’t say turn off the automatic searching for drivers on Windows update because that doesn’t cure the problem either!