Picture this: Your working on a client's machine running a complicated registry edit you found on a web site. You are working on said client's network, when all of a sudden the network goes down. You're not sure what to do next because you have no network connection. Ah ha! You have your trusty Android phone. So you fire up your phone's browser only to find the web site is simply not functional on your phone. What can you do?
You have a laptop. You have your Android phone. If you have a data cable you might just be in luck. Now, understand some mobile providers do not allow this (without some trickery). But if your mobile provider does allow this (Mine, Sprint, does and my phone is an HTC Hero) the process is very simple and will allow you a broadband connection ANYWHERE you have a cell phone signal. Granted the speed might not be what you are accustomed to, but in a pinch it will work. In this tutorial you will see how simple it is to tether your Android phone to your Ubuntu laptop.
Ha! Got ya. There's nothing to install. Ubuntu and Android come with everything you need to pull this off.
On the laptop
If your set up is like mine, you will have nothing to do on your laptop other than to boot up and log in. If you are already on a wireless network, and you want to test this, disable wireless networking by right-clicking the Networking Manager applet and uncheck Enable Wireless Networking. After you have done that, you are ready to work with your phone.
Plug your phone into your laptop using the USB data cable. After you do this, follow these steps:
After a brief moment you should notice, on your desktop, the icon in the Network Manager applet will change to show your laptop connected via Auto usb0 (and will most likely list your phone name - see Figure 1). This is correct. You should now be connected to the internet via your tethered phone.
What about calls and charges?
Yes, you can make phone calls while you are tethered. In fact, your phone will act normally as well as charge while tethered to your laptop. Of course, depending upon your wireless provider (as well as your data plan) you could be charged for data sent using your phone. So you will want to make sure your plan provides for the amount of data you would send and receive by tethering your phone to your laptop.
You could hijack a wireless signal when you are out of range of your own signal. Or you could find the nearest coffee shop. But when you are out the clutches of any known wireless signal, and you must get your network fix, tethering your Android phone is a simple solution.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.