How To Tether Your Cell Phone As A Modem

When you want to use an internet connection on your laptop or computer without accessing public Wi-Fi, the best solution is to connect your cell phone to your laptop for internet access. This process is known as tethering. Though tethering is not so difficult to accomplish, it is somewhat tricky because different cell phone models have their own limitations and wireless carriers impose their rules to allow tethering. All the smartphones can connect as a modem to let your tablet, notebook, laptop or computer access the phone’s internet to browse or download content. Here is some useful information about tethering your cell phone as a modem.

Android Mobile Tethering Options

Owners of Android smartphones get three tethering options to be able to share the internet connection with the tablet, laptop, PC or other devices:

  • Connect via Bluetooth

  • Connect the phone using USB

  • Use the phone as a wireless hotspot device

Let us explore each of these methods in detail and learn about the benefits and drawbacks of each. Before getting started with tethering, ensure that you enable the phone’s mobile data connection. The strength of the mobile signal affects the internet speed. 

USB Tethering

Cell phones always had a modem feature to let you connect the device to the computer using the USB port. Such an option allows sharing the phone’s internet over a wired connection rather than the popularly used Wi-Fi. 

It is easy to connect a tablet, computer or laptop to the smartphone using USB tethering. You just need to connect the USB cable your phone has to the computer and insert it into the USB port of the phone. 

Next, open Settings > Connections > Hotspot & Tethering on the phone and click on the USB Tethering option. A warning message is displayed telling you that proceeding would interrupt any existing data transfer between the phone and the computer. 

Click OK to continue. You should see a notification to inform you that the phone is tethered to the computer. 

Bluetooth Tethering

The second method for sharing your phone’s internet connection with other devices is using Bluetooth. This short-range wireless technology features sufficient bandwidth to transfer data between the cell phone and the paired device like a tablet, laptop or computer. 

Start by making your smartphone discoverable. Press the Bluetooth icon in the notification panel to go to the Bluetooth Settings. Turn the Bluetooth ON and ensure it detects the available devices. 

From your Windows computer, go to Settings > Devices > Bluetooth and Other Devices. Turn it ON and wait for the system to detect your phone. Once you see that the phone is paired to the computer, go to Settings > Connections > Mobile Hotspot & Tethering and select Bluetooth Tethering

Wi-Fi Hotspot

The most popular and convenient tethering option, Wi-Fi Hotspot lets you enjoy the Bluetooth’s wireless benefits with the speed of USB. With the Wi-Fi connection and mobile internet, the smartphone creates a private network that lets your devices connect with a secure password. 

To set up a Wi-Fi Hotspot, go to Settings > Connections > Mobile Hotspot & Tethering and turn on the Mobile Hotspot or Portable Hotspot option. After switching it on, go to the Configure Hotspot option to set your connection’s name and set the password if desired. 

Now, press Windows + I on your computer to open Settings and go to Network & Internet > Wi-Fi. Select Show Available Networks option and browse to locate the network your phone just created. Select the network and click Connect. You will be prompted to enter the password you created on the phone and the connection will be established. 

Activating the connection is easy after setting up once. You can touch the Hotspot button on the phone’s notification panel and wait for your computer to connect automatically.

Enjoy Internet on the Device

Using one of the above-explained methods of tethering the cell phone, you successfully set up the phone as a modem. You can now use the phone’s internet to surf the web from the computer or laptop and download items.

Make sure you have a good amount of mobile data available as tethering would use more data than surfing from your mobile. 

While all these methods are great options to use the internet on your device, it is common to be confused about which is the best. USB tethering drains the phone’s battery the least while Bluetooth offers the slowest speeds. This makes Wi-Fi the best option but when Wi-Fi isn’t available, you can use USB tethering as the perfect alternative. 

We hope this tutorial helps you tether your cell phone as a modem easily to be able to use the phone’s internet connection on the devices like tablet, computer, and laptop. Do share your experiences and suggestions in the comments section below.

Michael Golohor

Michael Golohor is a self-taught iOS programmer, web developer and writer who has a passion for content that is carefully tailored to add value to the lives of any who interact with it through any medium. He is a Nigerian from the oil-rich Delta State.

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