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Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet

Joe Offer 22 Aug 18 - 11:41 PM
Stilly River Sage 22 Aug 18 - 11:44 PM
Joe Offer 23 Aug 18 - 12:04 AM
Stanron 23 Aug 18 - 12:35 AM
DaveRo 23 Aug 18 - 01:12 PM
Steve Shaw 23 Aug 18 - 04:35 PM
Steve Shaw 23 Aug 18 - 04:51 PM
Thompson 23 Aug 18 - 04:54 PM
Joe Offer 23 Aug 18 - 05:04 PM
Thompson 23 Aug 18 - 05:20 PM
Joe Offer 23 Aug 18 - 05:27 PM
Joe Offer 23 Aug 18 - 05:31 PM
Steve Shaw 23 Aug 18 - 05:55 PM
Thompson 23 Aug 18 - 06:14 PM
Joe Offer 23 Aug 18 - 07:31 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 23 Aug 18 - 07:42 PM
Jeri 23 Aug 18 - 08:45 PM
Steve Shaw 23 Aug 18 - 08:46 PM
Joe Offer 23 Aug 18 - 10:17 PM
DaveRo 24 Aug 18 - 02:47 AM
Thompson 24 Aug 18 - 04:19 AM
Steve Shaw 24 Aug 18 - 04:33 AM
Stanron 24 Aug 18 - 05:24 AM
DaveRo 24 Aug 18 - 06:09 AM
Steve Shaw 24 Aug 18 - 06:25 AM
Thompson 24 Aug 18 - 06:32 AM
Steve Shaw 24 Aug 18 - 08:23 AM
Stilly River Sage 24 Aug 18 - 08:30 AM
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Subject: Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Aug 18 - 11:41 PM

I have DSL Internet from AT&T. That costs about $55 a month. I have a bundle that includes Internet, a landline phone, and 3 cellphones for $235 a month. To me, that's a lot of money. It's tempting to at least discontinue the landline, although it's the phone I use most frequently. It often goes off for weeks at a time during the rainy season.
Our internet went out the other night. I had to get something done, so I decided to try tethering my desktop computer to my phone by USB. All I had to do is go to "settings" on my phone and turn on tethering, and then connect to my computer. Windows 10 connected automatically, and I had Internet service that was more than 3 times as fast as the DSL I use.
Now, I have a 6 GB monthly limit on my phone, but I need that only when transferring video and audio. Are there any other disadvantages to getting Internet by tethering to a cell phone?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Aug 18 - 11:44 PM

Sounds like you found a huge advantage, and if you shop around you might find a less expensive phone plan that will let you use the computer faster. Is there no cable service where you are? I had DSL years ago, but when I finally switched to the cable service it was like night and day, the speed and reliability.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Aug 18 - 12:04 AM

No cable service here, and I haven't heard anything good about satellite Internet. We're supposed to get U-Verse fiber optic service here soon, but I'm getting tired of waiting. A phone company contractor came last year and put in a triple ground to prepare for U-Verse. I thought we'd have it by now, but no cigar.
Using tethering seems to be a good substitute, as long as I don't stream movies and music.
Oh - our unreliable phone and internet seems to be due to rodent damage. I wonder if the fiber optic cable will be less susceptible to that.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet
From: Stanron
Date: 23 Aug 18 - 12:35 AM

Hi Joe, last year I got fed up with the cost of my landline internet service. I don't use a smart phone. I have a USB mobile internet device which uses a mobile phone SIM card. Using the land line cost me around £30 a month for internet and calls. Using my USB dongle I pay between £8 and £10 a month. I use my mobile phone for the few calls I make. My mobile internet is perhaps a trifle slower than the old landline but there's not a lot in it.

My payment scheme is pay-as-you-go so I have to be careful when it comes to streaming videos and music. I've tried several different mobile service providers. When one SIM runs out of data I can either reload it with new data or buy a new preloaded card on-line. If I find a better deal on a monthly contract I might try that, but I had such a bad time ending my land line contract that I am cautious about starting a contract with anyone now.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet
From: DaveRo
Date: 23 Aug 18 - 01:12 PM

You have to watch out that Windows doesn't do a major update and exceed your mobile data limit. See this post from 18 months ago. It may have changed since then.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Aug 18 - 04:35 PM

I have 8GB a month but I rarely get anywhere near using it up. I don't download films or albums ever, let alone when I'm on wifi and not using data. Most of the places I go to in the UK and Europe have good 4G and I use it with gay abandon, both on my iPhone and on my iPad, which I tether to my phone. It's great for googling, using maps and finding out what's going on locally, not to speak of FaceTime, which I use quite a lot (it does eat data, but because I don't use other data-devouring things it's OK). Oh, and Mudcat. If your data usage worries you, you can get apps that will monitor it for you. At present, I can use my phone minutes and data in Europe as though I'm at home. Long may it remain so! Just don't forget to turn off the tethering, aka personal hotspot, when you've finished with it, otherwise you'll find your battery running down fast!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Aug 18 - 04:51 PM

As this thread has piqued me into looking into this a bit more, I should add a cautionary note: some ISPs actively discourage tethering, and I'm not sure that some don't exclude tethering from your data allowance. I'm with Vodafone in the UK and tethering is plainly and simply allowed within my data allowance. Your ISP may differ - check! One other thing is that if you tether your laptop to your phone you may be using data much faster than if you simply google, etc., using your phone. All those big, full-size web pages you download...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet
From: Thompson
Date: 23 Aug 18 - 04:54 PM

Why three cellphones?

Careful about audio and video, they're data-hungry - and those kindly folk who offer you a nice deal for x number of gigs will suddenly turn into avid Satans if you exceed it and start charging a hefty price per megabyte.

Does your landline deal include broadband, and if so does that include wifi?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Aug 18 - 05:04 PM

Why three cellphones, Thompson?
Because when I had just one, my wife and stepson got jealous.... ;-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet
From: Thompson
Date: 23 Aug 18 - 05:20 PM

Ah, three in the household.

I suppose your decision depends on whether it's cheap/free to call landline-to-cellphone, cellphone-to-cellphone and cellphone-to-landline throughout the areas you want to call.

But your deal sounds awfully dear. I pay around €50 a month for my broadband and landline (which includes free and unlimited calls to all Irish mobiles and landlines and free and unlimited calls to landlines in 22 countries); and I pay another €50 for my cellphone, which includes effectively unlimited broadband on that, and free calls to all Irish landlines and mobiles. Maybe you need to shop around?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Aug 18 - 05:27 PM

My service says I have "High-speed mobile hotspot (up to plan limit)"
    Use your plan data to share your mobile connection with up to 5 other Wi-Fi® enabled devices.

It doesn't say anything about a tethering charge, but I'm guessing this "hotspot" service would include free tethering (up to my 3 GB limit)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Aug 18 - 05:31 PM

Hi, Thompson - I'm in a rural area in California, so my choices are limited. We have no cable service, and the only landline phone and DSL provider is AT&T. My AT&T bill keeps creeping up. I could save $71 a month by dropping the landline, so that's tempting.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Aug 18 - 05:55 PM

In that case, Joe, use your tethering judiciously but you should be OK if you use it for short periods (mostly), with low-usage applications (mostly). Dunno how things work in the US, but I find that public wifi hotspots are generally pretty useless. Another thing: wifi hotspots are not secure. Internet banking, etc., not recommended. I'd far sooner use my data allowance to connect to 4G (far more secure) and tether to that if I want something a bit bigger to look at and manipulate than my phone screen, with the caveats I mentioned in my last post.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet
From: Thompson
Date: 23 Aug 18 - 06:14 PM

Hm. The no-limit limit on my broadband is (effectively) 500GB - above that is considered unfair and excessive.

Joe, the reason I'm asking you about charges for calls to and from your cellphones to other cell and landline phones is this: if you have people calling you from abroad, this may be possible for them if they're calling a landline, but expensive if they're calling a mobile. The same may apply to you. You can use services like Skype, but I think they can also be data hogs.

I'm always surprised that governments are not more gung-ho about spreading fibre broadband into rural areas. Surely it would be good for commerce, and ease the strain on cities, if people had the ability to do a significant amount of paid work using the internet without having to go into cities? (I have friends who work in journals, for instance, who live in the boonies and drive or get the train to the metropolis one or sometimes two days a week. They're saving their employers office space, and lessening the strain on the city infrastructure.)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Aug 18 - 07:31 PM

Steve, I'm not completely sure what AT&T means when they say I have "High-speed mobile hotspot (up to plan limit)"
    Use your plan data to share your mobile connection with up to 5 other Wi-Fi® enabled devices.

I thought it meant that I could connect up to 5 Wi-Fi devices to my phone and let those devices use my phone's data. But maybe not. All I know is that my AT&T bill keeps going up, and I still have 2.5 MB broadband. I thought the deal with tech companies, was that when they raise your bill, they give you better service.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 23 Aug 18 - 07:42 PM

Joe - drop it.

There is nothing so important...It can not wait another week.

Let the kid fund his own data service...out of his "lawn mowing" account.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

Keep strong ... And do not feed the beast


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Subject: RE: Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet
From: Jeri
Date: 23 Aug 18 - 08:45 PM

Joe, your phone can act as a mobile hotspot, and it sounds like that's what your computer's tethered to. You can arrange for your printer and other devices to use it. It uses a load of battery power, though. It may be better to get a mobile hotspot from AT&T. That's what I have. (My printer uses it, too) Your rate shouldn't change unless you increased your data allowance, exceeded it, or received phone calls for which there's a charge.
I have a cell phone, mobile hotspot, with an unlimited plan, for under $200. I don't use my land line, and need to ditch it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Aug 18 - 08:46 PM

It's a right sod working this lot out, for sure. For years I had to pay three pounds a day to take my call plan into Europe, but now I can use my plan as though I'm at home. Good old EU.

Here's the rub. If you have a broadband contract, or can log into your son's/daughter's/friend's/any other sucker's wifi, all will be gloriously and limitlessly free. It's only when you use a 3G or 4G connection that you'll be using up your data allowance. Most activities, such as googling things or checking/sending emails, are very light on data usage. Stuff such as watching TV, downloading films or streaming music are heavy on data, even FaceTime, but, if you have several gigs and don't do stuff like that very often, you'll be fine. If you have a smartphone, and you're using it on 3G or 4G, you are using data. If you tether your tablet or laptop to your phone whilst on 3G or 4G, you are using data faster than if you were just on your phone because you will be constantly downloading large web pages wot you don't download just on your phone. If you are in environment in which you can connect to wifi, even if it's not your wifi (in which case just get the password for that wifi network) there's no point tethering your laptop to your phone, as you'll be able to connect your laptop to the wifi directly anyway. As I said before, before you resort to tethering, just check that your ISP doesn't charge extra for it first.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Aug 18 - 10:17 PM

I had stock in AT&T for 15 years or so. I figured it would at least pay my AT&T bill.....but I didn't make any money off that investment at all. But my phone bill kept going up, and the people with "preferred" ATT stock kept getting paid.
-Joe-

...and garg, once "the kid" became an instructor pilot, I made him pay for what he gets from me.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet
From: DaveRo
Date: 24 Aug 18 - 02:47 AM

A word on terminology. Tethering and hotspot are different but often used interchangeably - including in mobile plans. Tethering allows you to share the internet connection with other devices. That can be by USB, as you did Joe, or Bluetooth or wifi. A hotspot shares the internet connection via wifi, so includes tethering.

Whatever - it's the total amount of data that's counted.

As mentioned, some phone plans exclude tethering. Mine does.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet
From: Thompson
Date: 24 Aug 18 - 04:19 AM

Here is how to tether an iPhone to a computer (I have used this, for instance, when I visit friends who don't have internet). If you use another type of phone, a quick internet search will find similar instructions.

Though friends who used to do the same tell me that you can now buy a dongle for around €20 (including an allowance of data, which you can later top up) and plug this into your phone if you're in a place where there's no internet access but there is 3G or 4G.

By the way, if you're in an old house with thick walls, it's apparently a good idea to get some plug-in 'TP' gadgets that use the electric wiring to extend the wifi. Don't ask me. Someone else will know more about this.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Aug 18 - 04:33 AM

You don't need a dongle to connect a smartphone to 3G or 4G, though, do you?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet
From: Stanron
Date: 24 Aug 18 - 05:24 AM

Hi Thompson. The dongle is what I've been using for the last six months or more. You can get dongle and dongle plus data deals galore on Ebay. If anyone decides to go down that route it is worth checking how long the data lasts. If you use 3 Gig a month, for example, a data sim with 10 gig that only lasts for thirty days will probably not be the best deal you can get. If you are thinking of changing from an unlimited internet supplier you might not know how much data you use in a month.

Depending on your operating system you can get applications that keep a record of your data use. I'm on Linux and I use the free application called vnstat. This tells me how much data I use every day. for a couple of months before I quit my land line I kept a track of my data use so I had a good idea of how much data to buy.

My land line contract had been with Talk Talk and ending that contract turned out to be a very unpleasant experience. They tried to extend my eighteen month contract by two months and threatened me with legal action if I went too soon. The, as it turned out 'easy', solution was to say I was changing my address. After that there was no more problem.

I use pay-as-you-go deals and avoid contracts now. The more data you buy, the less you pay. You do have to check how long the data lasts. My current package is valid for twelve months but in reality it won't last that long. Keeping a daily track of my data use I can make sure I have a new data package available for when the current sim runs out. I've got several old sims I can top up but I often find better introductory deals on Ebay with a new sim. No contract means I can shop around for the best deal.

Occasionally the service can be intermittent. I don't know if this is because of local infrastructure problems or if it's down to the service provider, there were times when the land line service was worse.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet
From: DaveRo
Date: 24 Aug 18 - 06:09 AM

A 'dongle' has come to mean a 'mobile modem', plugged into a computer via a USB cable and which connects to the internet via a mobile/cellular radio (GSM, UMTS, 2G, 3G,4G, 5G...) It has a SIM in it which usually has a special data-only plan - subscription or PAYG.

A 'mobile hotspot' is the same but with a wifi hotspot instead of (or as well as) USB, so a stand-alone box.

You can also get DSL modem/routers that take a SIM as a backup internet connection.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Aug 18 - 06:25 AM

Maybe I'm just a bit thick, but dongles are for laptops, not phones, aren't they? As long as your phone's SIM supports 3G or 4G, you're in, as long as you watch the data. You can plug a dongle into your laptop on the move, or even at home, and use data that way instead of a wifi connection. Or, to come full circle, access the internet via your phone's 4G and just tether your laptop, or tablet, to your phone. As there's no USB socket in my iPad, I'm not going to muck about with workarounds. I just use tethering, generally when I'm sitting in a room somewhere without wifi but with decent 4G. I don't need to overdo it because when I'm out and about my phone suffices. But it's handy and dongleless and I like slightly bigger print of an evening on my hols.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet
From: Thompson
Date: 24 Aug 18 - 06:32 AM

Yeah, sorry. Misspoke. Mistyped. Dongle's for the laptop.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Aug 18 - 08:23 AM

A mere peccadillo, Thompson, a mere peccadillo! :-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Cellphone tethering for Internet
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Aug 18 - 08:30 AM

Here is a review of Satellite Internet providers.


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