Understanding Tethering and How It is Used

by Aeyne Schriber on March 3, 2012 in Bluetooth,Mobile

Tethering is used as a means for connecting one or more mobile devices to the Internet such as a cell phone and a PC.  The tethering process can be accomplished using a variety of different methods including connecting the devices via cable or via a wireless connection. Through the use of tethering a PC can obtain Internet connectivity through a mobile device connection.

Tethering Explained

Although the process of tethering has been around for a while the most popular form of tethering is via a wireless connection.  The increased availability of public access wireless networks and the reliability of wireless connections make this type of connection the most popular for tethering a mobile device to your PC.

To further explain how tethering is achieved we will use a cell phone and a laptop PC as an example.  The Internet connection you receive from your wireless cell phone carrier can allow you to use your cell phone as a modem to provide Internet connectivity to your laptop or netbook.

Depending upon the cell phone carrier you use the means you use for tethering your phone to your laptop will vary.  However, tethering requires activating the modem in your cell phone to achieve an Internet connection.  The exact steps for activating the modem in your cell phone can typically be found in the manual that accompanies your phone.  You can also obtain this information from your cell phone carrier.

Once the modem is activated in your cell phone you can connect the phone to your laptop with a USB cable.  Your laptop will tell you whether or not it recognized new hardware and then walk you through the process of completing the connection to the Internet.  This is an example of how the tethering process works and how connectivity is achieved using this process.

Tethering with Bluetooth

The above example is representative of tethering with your cell phone as a modem.  If your cell phone also offers Bluetooth access it is also possible to tether your laptop to the Bluetooth service.  Keep in mind that both your cell phone and PC must have Bluetooth capability to establish this type of connection.

The process you use to establish a Bluetooth connection will vary according to the type of cell phone and PC you have but here is a general idea of how to accomplish tethering with Bluetooth.  First, you must activate the Bluetooth on your cell phone before accessing the Bluetooth settings on your PC.

Activate the Bluetooth settings on your PC and then find your cell phone under the Devices list in the Bluetooth settings window.  Choose the option you want to use for networking and then connect to your cell phone using this connection.  Follow the prompts that will walk you through the process of establishing the connection.

It is important to note that these are very general instructions to point you in the right direction for tethering with Bluetooth.  These instructions will vary according to the make and model of your cell phone and the type of PC you are using.

Tethering with an E-Reader

With the increased availability of e-readers many wonder whether or not it is possible to use the 3G capability included in some e-readers to establish an Internet connection with your laptop.  Although an e-reader is considered to be a mobile device tethering usually is achieved with a connection provided by a cell phone carrier.

When it comes to tethering with an e-reader this is not easily achieved despite the fact that the device may have 3G capability to connect to the Internet.  It is possible to tether an iPad to your PC provided the cell phone carrier does not have the feature deactivated.  The connection will still cost you in excess of $25 per month depending upon your carrier, in which case is it more cost effective to use your cell phone as a modem to tether it to your laptop.

Advantages vs. Disadvantages of Tethering

Tethering can come in handy if you happen to be in an area without public Wi-Fi access and you need to use your laptop.  In this case your cell phone can use the carrier service to provide your laptop with connectivity to the Internet.  Additionally, your cell phone can be tethered to a router which allows more than one user to access the Internet using your cell phone as the carrier.

Depending upon the cell phone carrier you are using the cost may be more or less to tether your cell phone to your PC.  There are carriers that allow you to tether to other devices at a reduced cost where others will charge you extra for the Internet connection.

Some of the disadvantages may include incompatibility among devices.  For example, your cell phone may not be compatible with your PC or vice versa.  If your cell phone suffers damage as the result of improper tethering the carrier may or may not back up the damage with a warranty.

Depending upon the data plan with your cell phone carrier there may be cap on how much data usage is allowed each month.  It is important to look at your data plan before you consider using tethering on a consistent basis.  If you use up the data in your plan then you must pay so much a minute for any additional use for Internet connectivity.

These are some of the different ways that tethering is used to establish Internet connectivity.  As more mobile devices are released on the market there will be additional tethering methods that you can use to access the Internet.

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