WiFi Tether is an app for rooted Android phones that lets you use your phone as a wireless hotspot. This allows users to bypass carriers’ built-in Wi-Fi hotspot software, which is especially helpful on phones that come with unreliable hotspot apps, such as the HTC Thunderbolt.
Installing the WiFi Tether App
Keep in mind you must have a rooted Android phone for this to app to work. While most Android users do not root their phones, doing so will allow apps that aren’t sanctioned by Google, manufacturers or carriers to run. Keep in mind that there rooting your phone isn’t without risks. You’ll also need Root Explorer to complete the install.
- Open your phone’s Settings app and select the Applications menu. Be sure to check ‘Unknown Sources.’
- Get WiFi Tether by visiting this Google Code page on your Android phone and download the app by clicking on the downloads tab at the top of the page.
- Using Root Explorer, go to your downloads folder and tap the downloaded file. It will be in the downloads folder of your phone’s storage card.
- Tap the file name to install it. It will ask if you are sure.
Enable Security Features
Start the app by tapping its icon. Before you turn on the tethering feature do the following:
- Go to Menu and Settings from within the app and place a check mark in the Enable Wi-Fi Encryption option.
- Below the Encryption option is an option that says Change Passphrase. Tap it and enter a good password that has both random letters and numbers.
- Tap OK and you now have encryption turned on.
- OPTIONAL: You can also change the SSID and if you really want some extra security hide the SSID. If you hide your SSID, then you will have to manually enter it on the other devices when you connect to the Internet through the phone.
- Now scroll down to Enable Access-Control and make sure a check mark is placed in the box.
Now back out of the settings screen to the main screen of the app.
Connect Other Devices with Wi-Fi Tether
- Tap the big WiFi icon in the center of the screen. It will turn yellow and a pop up tells you it is starting tethering.
- On your laptop (or other WiFi device) try to connect to the phone’s access point by using the WiFi connection software on your computer or other WiFi device. In Windows, look for the WiFi symbol on the bottom-right of your screen. On Macs, click the WiFi symbol on the top-right of your screen.
- If you hid the SSID in the above steps, then you will have to manually enter it each time you connect a WiFi device.
Once your device is connected to the phone’s hotspot, you will have to grant access by doing the following:
- Tap Menu and Access Control from within the app.
- The devices listed will be those that are trying to connect to your phone. Make sure the Access-Control at the top says enabled.
- Tap the device you want to connect to the phone and it will now be allowed to use the Internet connection of the phone.
This app is no longer available in the Market. Google gave into the wishes of the wireless carriers who want Android users to pay a premium for tethering. This app will allow you to bypass paying this restriction, but we are not condoning such activity. If you use it, you should still pay for tethering service or you might find yourself violating your carrier’s terms. If such activity is detected you could be forced to sign up and pay after the fact..
The best reason for using this app is that it works better than the built-in software on some phones. On the HTC Thunderbolt, WiFi Tether actually serves its stated purpose, while the built-in app is unreliable. The problem almost caused me to return my HTC Thunderbolt.
There are a couple of nice extras in the app, including a battery thermometer. There’s also a bandwidth meter that keeps tabs on how much data been used by connected devices, which can help prevent you from exceeding bandwidth caps.