Can I use my mobile devices to connect my consoles to the Internet?
June 17, 2013 9:25 AM   Subscribe

We just moved and sadly our cable Internet provider cant make it out to set up our Internet for another two weeks. We have already tried and the local DSL and do not want to go back to those. We both have androids with unlimited data plans as well as an iPad with a data plan. What I would like more than anything is to somehow connect my WiiU and our desktop computers to the Internet through one of our mobile devices, but I just don't know how. Can anyone walk a noob through this task?
posted by hworth to Technology (8 answers total)
If it's a third gen iPad, you can use the Personal Hotspot feature. Very easy to set up and use. Go to Settings > Personal Hotspot. Turn it on, and choose a password. Your iPad then becomes a WiFi hotspot that you can connect your computers to, under the name "hworth's iPad".

More instructions here
posted by derbs at 9:29 AM on June 17, 2013

You're probably going to need additional hardware. If you need to connect several desktop computers that don't have WiFi capabilities then you'll need a bridge from your portable device's hotspot. Linksys WiFi routers can be hacked to do this, or you can buy a dedicated bridge.

You can also buy individual USB WiFi adapters for your computers.
posted by planetesimal at 9:38 AM on June 17, 2013

On my Android 2.3 phone, it's like this: Settings > Wireless & networks > Tethering > Portable Wi-Fi hotspot (turn it on). In the same submenu there is "Port. Wi-Fi hotspot settings", which will let you set a name and password for the network. You can then connect to this network from a computer, as you would with any other wireless network.

This assumes, of course, that the things you are connecting support wireless networking. If not, there's "USB tethering" in the same menu, but that only connects one computer at a time and means you have to keep your phone attached to it.
posted by pont at 9:39 AM on June 17, 2013

In Android 2.3.5, go into Settings > Wireless & Networks > Tethering & Portable Hotspots. Choose the type you want, likely Wifi. Then get your devices to search for the hotspot, and connect.

You'll want to keep your phone plugged into the charger. Wifi uses a lot of battery.
posted by Solomon at 9:40 AM on June 17, 2013

It's worth pointing out that your carrier will almost certainly charge you extra for this. Moreover, the data limits are such that you could end up paying a lot more - AT&T and Verizon (last I checked) only give you ~2 GB of tethering data a month for ~$20 and then charge $20/GB beyond that. Plus, depending on your carrier, tethering might not even be an option if you're on an unlimited plan.

Tethering is one of these things that's not really practical for home-wide internet access.
posted by Betelgeuse at 9:48 AM on June 17, 2013

I would definitely use a VPN, because otherwise your telco will detect that you aren't using your phone, based on user-agent, sites visited etc.
posted by gryftir at 9:59 AM on June 17, 2013

Tethering isn't really a viable long term option, but surely it's better than no internet connection at all?

Just keep an eye on your usage (if you can use your iPad, go to Settings > General > Usage > Cellular Usage > Tether Data)
posted by derbs at 10:30 AM on June 17, 2013

I have successfully done this with an iphone on an unlimited data plan, but that was about 3 years ago. It worked perfectly with an xbox.

What we did to get the xbox and the computer online was connect the phone to the laptop/desktop with USB, right click the phone tethering adapter that shows up, and the ethernet card in the adapters menu on windows(control panel>network and sharing center>change adapter settings in windows 7, this also works in XP if you get to the same adapters page) and click "bridge connections".

Then you run a LAN cable from your desktop/laptop to the console and both systems have internet. If you want to get really ridiculous here you can plug that LAN jack from the one desktop into the WAN input of a router, then connect the other desktop and the console to that.

I would not do this for more than two weeks. I would also pay for a cheap VPN service and set up the vpn ON THE PHONE, not on the desktop. This is a fairly cheap and legit one for example(and they have a free trial. no affiliation to me bla bla bla). The goal here is to obscure what traffic is what heading out from the phone so that they don't suspect you're "abusing" your unlimited plan.

Don't start torrenting tv shows or anything. , just play games online with the console and do light browsing. Anything the phone itself could do like youtube is fine but don't go crazy. They pay attention to this shit. We successfully played xbox live and watched dumb crap on youtube for about a week this way as i remember.
posted by emptythought at 2:26 PM on June 17, 2013

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