Using your mobile phone as a wireless broadband modem

f you only travel occasionally, and already have a good (and expensive) broadband connection at home, you may not want to invest in a separate, stand-alone wireless modem for when you hit the road. In this article, we explain how you can use your 3G or HSDPA (which is sometimes known as 3.5G) enabled mobile phone as a modem when you’re on the road.



A word of caution first

Before we go any further, it’s definitely worth clarifying that unless you have a sizable data plan attached to your phone (at least 300mb or more), tethering your laptop to it is not a good idea. This is because the internet can get expensive when accessed via mobile outside of a plan. In addition, if you’re going to give it a try, make sure that you have no programs running on your laptop that continually use the internet (Windows automatic updates for example). While these programs are great when bandwidth is not an issue, over the air, they can become quite costly.

Another thing to keep in mind is that mobile broadband performance fluctuates wildly. Signal is not always available and, if you’re using it while moving fast (on a train for example), unless you’re on the Telstra NextG network you are likely to drop in and out frequently. That said, most carriers’ connections work well if your stationary and in a strong signal area.

On the subject of carriers, it is generally worth giving them a call and asking them about the least expensive way to use the internet through your phone. Most carriers offer data packs that provide you with a pre-defined amount of data for a set price. It’s important to keep an eye on your usage though, as once you go over the cap limit prices tend to increase.

Why this all works

Most new phones come with built-in high-speed wireless modems (3G or HSDPA).  Most mobile phones also come with software packages that make connecting them to your laptop relatively easy. Check the box your phone came in for a software CD for your desktop. In most cases, simply inserting the CD and following the prompts should get you set up. If that doesn’t work, have a read through the manual to learn how to connect and syncronise your phone with your computer.
Once you’ve got your mobile connected to your laptop via USB or Bluetooth, most connection software gives you the ability to use your phone as a connection to the Internet. For example, using Nokia’s PC Suite you simply use the One Touch Access connection wizard to select your mobile provider, hit connect and away you go. You can now browse the web, check your email without a fixed line connection.

Need a hand setting it up?

Depending on your set up and requirements, setting up your phone to act as a modem can be a little bit tricky. Give gizmo a call if you need a helping hand. We offer a range of smart phone services to get you connected when you’re on the move.  
Have more questions or need help? Contact Gizmo on +971-4-3233320  or

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