Internet Sharing – the most underutilised/unknown feature of Windows Mobile


I’ve been over in Dublin today at a customer event on Exchange and Unified Communications.  (straight back again this afternoon so not a chance to sample the wonderful Guinness).

Sat in the Costa Coffee in Heathrow at silly o’clock this morning I looked around watching people with their laptops scrambling to find their credit cards to login to the WiFi network. 

I too used to be of that order however since Windows Mobile 5.0 AKU 3 and Windows Mobile 6 I’ve been using the Windows Mobile feature Internet Sharing.

So what is Internet Sharing….?

Well it allows you to utilise your Windows Mobile device as a data modem.  Hardly revolutionary … but what is cool is that if you have Activesync 4.2 or greater or Windows Vista you don’t need to install any drivers or do any PC configuration to get it to work. 

You simply plug the device in and it will automatically connect yto our default APN and use the device as your laptop modem.   It replaces the old modem link application.

It will work over both USB and Bluetooth.

Requirements

To use this you need two things:

1) A PC using Vista or Windows XP with Activesync 4.2 or greater (preferably with XP SP2)

2) A Windows Mobile 5.0 AKU 3.0 (or greater) or a Windows Mobile 6 device.

USB Setup

If you want to use this via USB (which also has the added benefit of charging your device at the same time) you simply have to do the following:

1. Find the Internet Sharing application and run it. 


2. In the PC Connection list, select USB.

3. In the Network Connection list, select the name of connection that your device uses to connect to the Internet.


4. Press Connect

5. Plug in the USB cable between your device and the computer.

You will then see the device stating ‘Connected’ and in a few seconds your PC will be connected to the Internet. 

Bluetooth Setup

You can also use Internet Sharing over Bluetooth. 

1. FIrst pair your device with your laptop and create a partnership.

2. Then run the Internet Sharing program on your device.

3. Select Bluetooth PAN as the PC Connection.
4. From the Network Connection list, select the name of the connection that your device uses to connect to the Internet.
5. Press Connect.


6. On your computer, set up a Bluetooth Personal Area Network (PAN) with your device.
a. Click Start > Control Panel > Network Connections.
b. Under Personal Area Network, click the Bluetooth Network Connection icon.
c. Under Network Tasks, click View Bluetooth network devices.
d. In the Bluetooth Personal Area Network Devices dialog box, select your device, then click Connect.

 

This is such an easy way of getting Internet access from your laptop and removes the need to carry a data card or have another SIM in your laptop for data access.

Setting it up the old fashioned way meant creating dialup connections and connection strings like *99# for the default APN which most non-techies couldn’t ever manage….


Comments (29)
  1. JasperM says:

    It may be worthy to note, unless I am wrong, that these setup instructions are in accordance with Windows (XP/Vista) Native Drivers.

    Widcomm or Soleil setups would be according to the respective Bluetooth stack.

    Also, I have yet to be able to successfully use the Bluetooth PAN options on Vista with an i607(BlackJack US), though it works with XP flawlessly.

    -JasperM

  2. Eagle117 says:

    Now if only Cingular would release an upgrade from AKU 2.2 on my 3125 phone.

  3. MSDNArchive says:

    Jasper – yep you are correct… I was tempted not to add the Bluetooth setup but assumed if I didn’t people would ask 🙂

  4. Jasonw says:

    Is this considered the same thing as tethering?  I know VZW charged $15 extra to allow tethering of a laptop to a device.

    I also have been unable to get the Vista bluetooth PAN with DUN option to work.  i always get access denied when attempting to check the DUN option..

    Jasonw

  5. MIkeB says:

    It’s a great feature, but it isn’t totally intuitive to setup without instructions. It is really useful when traveling and there is no wifi.

    Relevant to also mention that with most smartphones and us carriers this gives you http & https only. This is fairly useful but typically doesn’t provide corporate VPN access.

    For higher end windows mobile devices, then carriers (cingular at least) sells different data plans which specifically allow tethering and I believe support a wider range of ports.

  6. JasperM says:

    I could be very wrong, so don’t go entirely off my word, however, I believe tethering is defined as when you are using your phone as modem.  This would mean your phone is actually dialing a number out i.e. *99# or whatever.  This means you have to register with a username and password on a server.

    If you have a phone are going with the above method, there are no numbers dialed, and the "Internet Sharing" application acts a bridge between the carrier’s data network, and the Bluetooth PAN.  

    The traffic may just look like normal WAP usage, but I am not sure.  I have a data and tethering plan on my phone, and am slightly worried about trying it.

    FYI…If you have a BlackJack (i607 – US) the internet sharing program is in the windows folder…but you have to use the file explorer found in Start – Applications to be able to see the file…not the explorer that is brought up when using "My Stuff"…

  7. I just got a T-Mobile Dash and I am going to try this. One question, does it also charge the phone while using the data connected to USB? I also wonder if it is using WAP or data tethering, I think I have both on my plan so I am not to worried.

  8. MSDNArchive says:

    Folks – obviously you need to make sure your data plan supports this but I am aware that some operators (particularly US) will block this 🙁

  9. Mark says:

    Jason, is there any way to do this with the device using WiFi for internet access?  i.e. I have a laptop without WiFi and a PDA with WiFi so I connect the two over USB to give internet access to the laptop but without using the mobile operator’s service.

  10. MSDNArchive says:

    There isn’t Mark I’m afraid….

  11. zach says:

    is there a aku 3.0 upgrade available for the Treo 700wx?

  12. MSDNArchive says:

    Zach – best to check with your operator…

  13. adam says:

    how can i route certain packets through the wireless connection?  For example, if I have an existing internet/network connection that I dont want to disable.  I would want to leave that alone but route im traffic out through the wireless.  Is that possible?

  14. MSDNArchive says:

    adam – it isn’t I’m afraid – it’s all or nothing…

  15. adam says:

    what about running a proxy server?  I noticed that I can ping the device like its a pc on the network.

  16. Eric L says:

    I have a Blackjack and I’ve used internet sharing.  I was surprised at the speed of the 3G network.  I have 2 questions though.  Does the usb teathering setup actually charge your phone as well? Is there a way to create a shortcut for internet sharing? It’s a chore to hunt down in the windows folder every time.

  17. Brian says:

    Found the program eventually, and doing this comment via it now! On the Orange M700 the program was hidden in the Accessories folder

  18. joel32137 says:

    Internet Sharing is not all that great if your cellular service GPRS requires a proxy setting to gain access to the internet. For example, my cellular service (SMART Philippines) requires a proxy setting of 10.102.61.46:8080 to access the internet over GPRS/3G. When I tether (via bluetooth) my laptop to my HTC Hermes using Internet Sharing, the proxy settings do not carry over to my laptop. I can certainly ping the proxy server of 10.102.61.46 but I can’t ping anything on the internet. What I’m forced to do is go into my web browser and set the proxy server to 10.102.61.46:8080 in order to to surf the web. What’s also very inconvenient is that I can’t use my company’s Cisco’s VPN Client to connect to my company’s intranet. Under the pre AKU 3 DUN (Dial Up Networking) option, I didn’t have to set proxy servers to connect to the internet and I could flawlessly connect to my VPN connection. It’s too bad MS didn’t leave the DUN option.

    Does anyone know if there’s a setting I’m missing for my Internet Sharing so that it passes the proxy settings to my laptop or am I missing a configuration on my laptop so that I don’t have to do the additional steps of setting the proxy address?

    If not, I really don’t recommend AKU 3x WM5 or WM6 if you use your cell phone as a high speed 3G modem if your cellular service requires a proxy (this may be the case if your an international business traveler and swap sim cards per country basis).  

    WM6 is definitely much snappier and seems more stable that WM5 pre AKU 3 but I’d rather have a little slowness on my WM5 GUI for the functionality of a mobile high speed 3g modem. I’m really surprised no one else is complaining about this…. I’ve googled for hours trying to come up with a solution but didn’t come up with anything.

  19. JasperM says:

    Eric L.  – To copy the link do the following

    1. Connect Via ActiveSync

    2. Browse to the file WindowsInternet Sharing

    3. Copy it to your desktop

    4. Browse to WindowsStart Menu

    5. Copy the Internet Sharing File to that directory

    That particular link file is locked, so you can just go in and browse to the files on the device and copy/paste while using the Windows Mobile Device’s browser.

    Joel32137 – Many OEM’s have provided the ability of the device to act as a modem, I cannot vouch for HTC, however on a Samsung i607 you can go to:

    Start – Settings – Connections – USB

    Then you have the option to have the device act as a Mass Storage controller, connect via ActiveSync, or act as a modem.

    When Modem is selected you should get a modem driver installed in Device Manager (again this is the Samsung i607) could work on yours.

    -JasperM

  20. joel32137 says:

    Hi JasperM

    Thanks for the advice….

    I’m not having any problems using my phone as a modem 🙂

    My only issue is that when I do use my phone as a modem, my cellular’s proxy server information doesn’t get passed to my laptop. And so, I have to set my web browser’s laptop to use my cellular’s proxy server.

    Thanks again for the advice 🙂

  21. Chicky says:

    Hi..

    if my laptop using LAN/ADSL, can i share the connection between my PPC so I can also surf internet from my device but the connection come from the laptop?

    Please advise

    Thanks in advance

  22. Orange have just released the AKU3 download for Windows Mobile 5.0 for their popular Orange M3100 device.

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  27. Hopefully (if you read my blog) you know how cool the Internet Sharing feature is on Windows Mobile.

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