Oct 29 AT 12:20 AM Taylor Wimberly 37 Comments

USB tethering coming to hacked Android phones

The number one reason I hacked my Android phone is to tether it to my netbook. Tethering allows you to share a 3G data connection from your phone with another device. Normally, this tethering process is achieved over a WiFi connection.

My friends are amazed every time I show off this feature, but the major downfall is that it just absolutely shreds your battery. Most of the time when I tether, I end up plugging my phone into its charger.

Fans of the popular CyanogenMod will be happy to hear that the next release will include USB tethering. Now tethering can be done without always having to worry that you might kill your battery.

USB tethering will be built into the next CM release. Zinx ported the code from the Hero kernel, I did the rest. It’s as simple as hitting a checkbox and plugging in a cable. -Cyanogen

1-click tethering.

1-click tethering.

Another benefit of tethering in general is the huge speed boost I get from T-Mobile’s 3G network. Normally on my Android phone, I top off around 1 Mbps. However, when I am tethered the speeds increase to 1.8 Mbps (which is the current cap on T-Mobile’s 3G). I can hardly wait till T-Mobile upgrades to HSPA 7.2 later this year.

It is hard to believe that my phone could reach 7+ Mbps, but we will just have to wait and see. Heck, if I could just manage 5+ that would match a lot of cable internet connections (which is pretty mind blowing).

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://twitter.com/DrJeckyl Dr.Jeckyl

    So is this the computer/netbook/laptop sharing the internet that the Android phone is using or the other way ’round? I would LOVE for it to be that my G1 would share my computer’s internet. My wifi still sucks(computer is hard wired) and 3g is still 5 miles away. Either way this is good news.

  • http://marcuslee.posterous.com Marcus

    soooo…. what’s the difference in this and using the “Wireless Tether for Root Users” app… I assume it’ll be the same but, it’s just built in?

    • http://clarklab.net Clark Wimberly

      the difference is that is not a wireless tether, you’ll be connecting through your phone’s 3G via USB (and saving a ton of battery life in the process)

      • http://www.nexsoftware.net nEx.Software

        Saving battery by the very nature of charging it whilst draining it.

  • http://headtoheadracing.appspot.com/ Craigo

    You don’t need to hack your phone. Just use PdaNet: http://www.junefabrics.com/android/

    • RDArmand

      I have to 3rd the PDANet comments. It’s great for someone like me who doesn’t want to hack their phone, but they’d still like Internet access on the road. It does cost money, though, so the feature update for CyanogenMod is great for people who use it. I’ve always preferred a USB tether to a wireless tether, anyway.

    • Willfe

      PdaNet is a no-go for Linux users. This works just fine no matter what OS you plug it into, and it’s nice to have this built in, versus having to run a third-part app for it.

    • narunetto

      I’d rather not pay for something that can be free, y’know.

  • http://www.thefutureofblog.com Jeremiah Hoyet

    Once T-Mobile upgrades their 3G network, it looks like I won’t need a home internet connection any longer, lol.

  • knowledge

    Craigo is right on the money with pdanet. Surprised you guys haven’t discussed this program yet. Something to note: if you are in an area that bounces in and out of 3g, if you start the program while in 3g it will help stay in 3g while in session. I have no affiliation with junefabrics but it works well.

  • Danny

    I have my phone plugged into my computer anyway when I’m using wifi tether, so it’s not draining my battery any. The only reason not to would be if your laptop was running off of battery only and you needed every minute of battery power.

    • Stu

      Don’t forget how wireless tethering bakes the G1/dream phones. They’re not designed to have both the Wifi/bluetooth and 3G/edge radios transmitting at the same time and it makes them run really hot.

  • http://youfailed.us/ Sheldon McGee

    I wonder if we’ll need different hardware to take advantage of HSPA 7.2 . . . only the iPhone 3GS uses HSPA 7.2 on ATT’s network.

    • http://www.nexsoftware.net Justin Shapcott

      AFAIK, all current Android devices are supposedly capable to HSPA 7.2.

      • http://youfailed.us/ Sheldon McGee

        Really? I wonder if the HSPA 7.2 on tmobile is the same as the HSPA 7.2 on ATT? I use my Android phone on ATT and it’s Edge only because 3G is different on ATT over tmobile.

        • http://www.nexsoftware.net Justin Shapcott

          T-Mobile and AT&T use different frequencies for their 3G. I would imagine that this will not change.

  • Spadefinger

    Any word on a release date? Pdanet is fine if you use windows, but if you’re on linux you’re SOL. I just updated to cyanogen 4.2.2 and am looking at my tethering options. Anybody here tried tetherWifi on cy4.2.2?

  • eclipse

    One more for PDAnet – just like on my old MDA, literally tethering is the way to go – charges your phone while you use it instead of eating the battery.

    Those doing wireless tether should, at the least, get a high-cap battery

  • Rob

    You can alreasy tether through usb. Go to http://www.junefabrics.com/android/ Install the program (on your computer) And follow the very simple on screen directions.

    P.s.the free version of the program does the same thing but won’t connect to https sites… not a huge bummer

  • rockstar323

    just dont try this on Verizon. they have been catching people tethering without a tethering package and charging $.25 a MB for all data. doesnt sound like much but if you use 5GB of data its $1200. its in their TOS that you are not allowed to tether without a tethering package.

    • Jeff

      How does Verizon know specifically that you have your phone tethered to another computer? All they will see is that your phone is requesting data. It’ll only look suspicious if you are using LARGE amounts of data, up and above the 5GB soft cap.

      Other than that, all data is tunneled through your phone and should been seen from Verizon as your phone requesting data, not your computer.

      • http://pro-thoughts.blogspot.com/ vkelman

        I was told that at least WiFi tethering is visible for a phone company. They weren’t sure if it is also possible for a phone company to track USB tethering. Can anyone elaborate on that?
        Did anyone with AT&T plan use [USB]tethering? What is the “cap” for AT&T? Thanks

  • weeka

    I have been tethering with verizon for almost 2 years now with no issues. No surprises on my bill or awkward conversations with customer relations.

    I just ordered pre ordered my Droid from Best Buy two days ago and I’m wondering if it will be able to be tethered as well? If not I’ll be out my “free” internet…

    • http://Website Tim

      I was woindering the same thing…I want to wifi tether my laptop, i have it all setup with wifi tether with my rooted eris 2.1 and it works….I dont want Verizon screwing me over..

  • Ben

    Does tethering cost anything extra on tmobile or is it just added to your data bill?

    • Jude Ibe

      Your not really suppose to tether with T-mobile. They are just not stopping you. All of T-mobile’s windows mobile mobiles phone have tethering on it already. Just remember T-mobile has a 10gig Soft Cap. Which means once you hit their 10 gig limit they reserve the right to slow you down to free up bandwidth for other users during heavy usage periods. I constantly go over 10gig they have yet to slow me down.

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  • zaxx

    Has anyone here tried tethering with a Mac? I am deciding between a a new Macbook Pro and a PC, this will NOT be the deciding factor, but it may be a on the comparison list. On a separate note, how is anyone burning through 10GB at these sloooowww speeds? I would have thought that the tethered speed would be about the same as the phones direct speed, but I see that the original poster here said he is getting almost double the speed, is this typical?

    • Jonny B

      I use it on my mac all the time. That’s the beauty of ISO standards. Mac and PC both use the same type of ethernet. BTW, if you’re still weighing PC vs. Mac I highly recommend Mac. I bought my first mac 5 months ago. Haven’t looked back since. Virtualbox lets you run any windows apps whenever needed…

      • zaxx

        Hi Jonny,

        Thanks for the reply I actually use Mac and PC, the decision is whether to add another Mac or another PC when I buy my next notebook later this month. I am running a Mac Pro tower for my “main” computer, but I’m not sure if I need to spend the extra money on the Macbook Pro or not. What software are you using to tether your phone to the Mac? Virtualbox loks interesting, I wonder if anyone has tried running Snow Leaopard inside Windows 7 yet! :-)

  • http://Website Mark

    Hello, I’ve got a question. So the latest CM rom still allows me to use gmail, etc? I will still be able to sync my contacts with gmail?


  • http://humans-enabled.com Shannon VanWagner

    Checkout this link at my blog to see how to tether your Verizon Droid as a modem via USB to your GNU/Linux machine:

    Shannon VanWagner

  • http://Website Sc4R3d

    You can accomplish the same thing by using Ubuntu Karmic Koala.

  • http://Website Razzle

    I’ve been USB tethering with a two year old T’MO Dash for about a year now with no problem checking email & doing basic surfing …can’t download movies/music nor watch tv shows…is that normal? It’s time for me to renew contract & wondered which of the newer phones (if any) are better?

  • http://www.androiddestek.com SaNSaRaLv0

    I can not see this option on my phone.How can i do this on my Samsung Galaxy?

  • http://www.android-tr.com SaNSaRaLv0

    can anyone help me?? :(

  • http://Website Travis

    Does the wireless tether for root users cost any money on you bill?? Does it have hidden charges for using your phones internet on your laptop?