Sunday, March 8, 2009

iPhone tethering with PDAnet

I was one of the early iPhone adopters who used procedures called "jailbreaking" and "unlocking" to enable the use of my new gadget on T-Mobile's network instead of AT&T's. At the time, T-Mobile had superior prices and I didn't want to go through the trouble of changing carriers. However, when AT&T started to offer 3G service, I promptly jumped the T-Mobile ship and signed a 2 year contract with AT&T. Of course, once I was with AT&T there was no real reason for me to jailbreak and unlock my iPhone, and to this day I do not have an unlocked iPhone BUT yesterday I found something that completely made the "risky" jailbreaking process worth it: PDAnet.

PDAnet allows you to "tether" your iPhone to your laptop or other wifi device through and Ad-hoc network connection to allow internet access of both devices over the iPhone's 3G connection. The procedure is simple and pretty painless! In fact, I'm on my laptop at this moment writing this post over my iPhone's 3G connection. If there is one reason to jailbreak your iPhone, it would be for this ability. The only down side I've found this far, is that due to some firmware bug (or perhaps feature?) the phone doesn't always charge when both the WIFI and 3G connections are in use. Reports of this vary greatly, and in fact I have found that in some cases the phone will charge when connected to a wall charger, but not through USB; for others the conditions for a successful charge are reversed.

Needless to say, PDAnet is a great product that fills a very large connectivity hole. By the way, AT&T is rumored to be offering this very feature (iPhone tethering) for an extra $30 per month in the future!

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