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I want to use my Android phone to connect a desktop (windows 7) PC to the internet via Wi-Fi (ie, not muching though my Data plan). Is this possible with the various tethering options out there?

The reason I ask is, most suppot wi-fi the other way around, ie, the phone is the wi-fi hotspot, and the internet connection comes over the phone network. I want to connect to an existing wi-fi network, and share that with the PC.

Background - for various reasons our office LAN network is b0rked and very slow. The office WiFi network on the other hand is happy and fast. But my desktop PC is wired only. If I can use my phone as a wifi dongle/modem/adaptor, and connect to the office wifi, then I'll get a much faster connection.

Edit: I've got an HTC Desire HD, I haven't rooted it so far.

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This does depend on what phone you've got, and what version of the OS you're running. Froyo has a lot more options for tethering in it, including sharing some of the phone's connections over USB to a PC. –  GAThrawn Nov 25 '10 at 17:48

4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

You can achieve this natively on some versions of Android (for me it works on KitKat 4.4.4). All you have to do is connect the phone to wi-fi as usual and then connect the USB cable and do a USB tether. Your computer should detect a new hardware - a "USB ethernet" or similar, you may need to install drivers for that, ymmv. Then it behaves just like any other network card. This works for all common operating system, including Windows (where the drivers part may apply).

Just to be sure, you can disable mobile data on the phone for the time being but the phone should be smart enough to route traffic via wifi automatically when it is available.

No root needed.

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You can do this using PdaNet.

From KnowYourMobile.com:

To use your Milestone as a mobile broadband dongle, you will need:

Step I:

  • Tap the upward pointing arrow on the Milestone's home screen to get to the app menu
  • Tap the Settings icon
  • Tap Applications
  • Tap Development
  • Check the box for USB debugging

Step II:

  • Install the PDANet software on both your PC and Milestone -- when installed on the desktop, it should automatically install the USB driver for you but if it doesn’t, you will have to use the driver you downloaded above.
  • Connect your Milestone to your PC via USB, then launch PDANet on your device Click on "Turn PdaNet On" on the Milestone Right-click the PDANet icon in the taskbar on your PC, then click Connect
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PDANet claims to be able to do this. Other phones, such as my Sidekick, do this out of the box.

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I get an error download unsuccessful this content not supported on this phone. I'm using sanyo zio android 2.2 –  Xitcod13 Sep 30 '12 at 10:06

Assuming your computer doesn't have a Wi-Fi card already and you're not rooted, I would probably just buy a USB Wi-Fi card. You can almost certainly buy one for less than the cost of PDANet.

If you are rooted, Cyanogenmod has had built-in tethering in the Wireless & network settings menu for a while now. You can enable USB tethering and connect your phone to the hotspot to essentially have it act like a USB Wi-Fi card.

For my other tethering needs that aren't covered ROM-covered (e.g. Bluetooth network tethering) I've preferred Android Wi-Fi Tether, which is free, although I don't know how well it works on the Milestone.

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