Best way to root a Motorola Droid and use it as a mobile hotspot?
May 9, 2011 4:47 PM   Subscribe

Is it possible to turn an original Motorola Droid into a mobile wireless hotspot by rooting it? If so, what's the easiest way to do that?

I've got a first-generation Motorola Droid smartphone on the Verizon network. It's currently unrooted, running Android 2.2.2, build number FRG83G.

In the past, I've had success using my phone's data connection on other devices. By downloading the app PDANet to my phone and installing the relevant software on my laptop, for instance, I can browse the web on my laptop through my phone's data connection. And while Verizon has refused to enable official tethering support on older phones due to alleged technical issues (I'm guessing to encourage upgrading to newer models), they apparently either doesn't notice or doesn't care about this unofficial tethering, so I haven't run into any problems there yet.

This setup isn't very flexible, however. You need to download software on both devices, and you need to use a USB connection. What I'd really like to do is convert my phone into a mobile hotspot, so any WiFi device (like a laptop without PDANet or a WiFi-only iPad) can get online through it wirelessly.

I think this is do-able by rooting the phone and using an app like Barnacle, but I'm not at all sure. With the constant over-the-air system updates (and similarly-named successors like the Droid 2), it's hard to find up-to-date information on the best way to root the current version of the original Droid. For instance, there used to be a Marketplace app that would do it all automatically, but it was removed months ago. And some of the latest OS revisions have made earlier rooting methods obsolete.

So, my question is: Is it technically possible to use a rooted Motorola Droid to create a local WiFi network? And if so, what's the most current, most hassle-free way to do this on Android 2.2.2 build FRG83G?
posted by Rhaomi to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Yup. Root and install CyanogenMod. It runs 2.3.4 which has the built in wireless hot-spot capability.
posted by InsanePenguin at 5:16 PM on May 9, 2011

Best answer: I'm not too privy to the specifics of rooting your phone in particular, but a quick search on the XDA forums points to SuperOneClick being the best way to root the Droid. You need to register on the forum to download from there, but google points to a ton of other places to download it. Though, the XDA forums are very helpful and you may benefit from the collective knowledge of that community (it seems you are new to the whole modding thing).

After your phone is rooted, it should be a simple process of finding a program such as Barnacle that can turn your phone into a router.
posted by Geppp at 5:18 PM on May 9, 2011

I think with the original droid the issue is that the wifi chipset simply doesn't support being a basestation. But I'm not totally up to date on what all the various ROMs can do.
posted by GuyZero at 5:36 PM on May 9, 2011

I use a droid. I use pdanet via bluetooth (or usb) to my mac, then I share that connection via internet sharing on my mac laptop. We used it on vacation where there was no phone or internet at the lake, both the wife and I could surf just fine.
posted by tomswift at 5:39 PM on May 9, 2011

Yeah, I have used a rooted Droid Nothing, and the wifi sharing kind of stinks - encryption makes it get all wonky and a few other things. On the other hand, bluetooth and wired (RNDIS) work like a champ. And wifi works as long as you aren't securing it, IIRC. I think you might be able to get away with MAC filtering to prevent it from being an open access point free-for-all, though.

I might have not been using the most recent versions, though, as I don't chase the most recent updates of everything.
posted by Kyol at 6:56 PM on May 9, 2011

Best answer: It is overkill to install CM7 just to tether it.

Just root the thing and install WiFi Tether for Root Users, or Barnacle Wifi Tether.
posted by those are my balloons at 9:16 PM on May 9, 2011

Best answer: Rooting your phone and using wifi tether for root works.

This link is a good guide to walk you through it.
posted by gryftir at 4:11 AM on May 10, 2011

Just a note, my original Droid is rooted and while regular tethering works fine, the WiFi Hotspot kept dropping the connection. I think the hardware was just not powerful enough.
posted by pyro979 at 7:36 AM on May 10, 2011

Response by poster: I'd like to offer a belated thanks to the helpful advice in this thread! I suspected rooting + Barnacle was the best route, but was utterly lost as to how to go about it. I ended up mired in a pretty obtuse guide that led me to believe I needed to see certain messages displayed within the SuperOneClick window to notify me that my phone was detected and ready to go. After weeks of on-and-off troubleshooting sessions trying to get the program to see the phone, I said "fuck it" and clicked the Root button anyway. To my great surprise the process ran through without trouble and I now have a working mobile WiFi hotspot. Yay!
posted by Rhaomi at 10:45 AM on July 4, 2011

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