Jan 03 AT 9:59 AM Anthony Domanico 48 Comments

ClockworkMod Tether provides Android users free USB tethering


I’ve personally had a big beef with carriers, specifically with their contradictory push towards faster mobile networks while providing significantly smaller amounts of data. With the next generation of cellular networks hitting up to 50mbps download speeds today, consumers can reach their 2GB data caps in as little as 5 minutes.

As if that weren’t bad enough, cellular networks have the gumption to tell us how we can and can’t use that data, with many carriers either outright blocking tethering (using your smartphone’s data connection to power your tablet or laptop computer), or offering the service as a separate package, often with $15-20 additional monthly fees. Members of the modding community have been able to get around that requirement by rooting their devices, though at least T-Mobile has figured out a way to detect rooted users, and has already started blocking tethering on rooted devices.

A new application by modding-community staple Koushik Dutta, ClockworkMod Tether, aims to benefit both rooted and non-rooted smartphones alike by allowing them to tether their laptop and desktop computers using a process which is (at least currently) undetectable by the carriers. ClockworkMod Tether uses a proxy instead of an NAT/masquerade solution to avoid carrier detection.

Because ClockworkMod Tether supports both rooted and non-rooted devices, the process requires you to install an application on the computer you’d like tethered. Applications have been developed for PC, Mac, and Linux, allowing a broad array of computer users the ability to tether their mobile data connection. A slight inconvenience to be sure, but the application is needed to support non-rooted users.

ClockworkMod Tether is currently in Alpha, though it is being constantly updated. If you’re interested in checking it out for yourself, all files and installation instructions can be found on Koush’s Google+ posting. Because the process is in Alpha, there have been some issues with the program, including folks not being able to get it working on their devices.

If you do decide to test it out, let others know whether or not it worked for you in the comments. Be sure to include which device you’re using so we can see if there are any trends.

Via: Engadget

Source: Google+

Anthony loves all things technology, from hardware to apps and games. You can connect with him via Google+ or Twitter by clicking one of the fancy doo-dads above.

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  • http://goo.gl/tQ2E wwJOSHdo

    A BIG plus to this over Wifi Tether: Battery Drain! You can charge over USB (i think I read that on Koush’s Google+) and with WiFi Tether, you can NOT. PLUS, Koush has been providing AWESOME support and replying to everyones issues and fixing them ASAP! I’d throw my money at Koush for the non root Tether app… I’ve already purchased Rom Manager Premium on two different google accounts, why not?

    • amgala

      Can you not just use a wall charger with WiFi tether? Or just connect your phone via USB and still use WiFi tether? While you have a good point that CWM Tether will simultaneously charge the phone, I don’t think it would be impossible to charge a phone while using WiFi Tether.

      • amgala

        And I also do agree, support Koush! He does amazing things for the Android community!

      • Jason Corry

        You can charge via wall charger while WiFI tethering. I do it at work all the time. Works great for me!

  • Bigtop77

    I’m curious to see if this will pair a galaxy nexus with an ipad.

    • honourbound68

      how would you usb tether an ipad since their connector is 30 pin? Not being sarcastic here but i didn’t know that they had a 30pin to usb converter.

    • http://alxrock.deviantart.com alxrock

      Seems very unlikely to use it with an iPad.
      “the process requires you to install an application on the computer you’d like tethered”

  • Thomas Biard

    Clockwork Mod, you are continuously improving the Android experience and I thank you. I love USB tethering compared to Wifi.

  • YMS123

    This is good news for the non rooted, can’t wait to try it out

  • bellken

    This is pretty awesome. I can’t wait to give a try.

  • Trevor Cameron

    I’m curious as to how long it will take for one of the major carriers to figure out how to block this. I applaud the efforts but we all know that just as hard as Clockwork is working on getting this product out to the masses, the “massives” are working to stop it from working!

    • Futureboy

      Don’t worry, because the pattern will continue. We find a way around it – carriers block it – we find another way around it – carriers block that – we find another way around it….and so on, and so on.

    • Paul

      Using the proxy method is definitely going to be much harder for carriers to detect if at all possible. The app basically passes the ‘laptops’ traffic off as its own. From the phone’s perspective the traffic is coming from the app, doesn’t know/care that it’s originating from elsewhere. The traffic would be no different than any other data-using app. In the past they’ve been able to detect tethering because alternate apn’s were used. I have no idea how T-Mobile can detected rooted phones/tethering, but this new method is definitely sound. The only thing I could think they could do is actively looking at unencrypted traffic, like http, and checking the various http headers to see if it’s a full size browser or the phone. But that’s very intrusive, and huge privacy concerns (and lawsuits) if they did do it. Even then, there are browser’s for Android that can fake the UA. TCP Fingerprinting maybe, but the proxy may even cloak that (a NAT solution may not). It’s a solid solution. I don’t mind tethering, but I do it rarely, in those few occasions I find I need internet and there is no wifi (or free wifi) around. I probably don’t even add more than 100-200mb of data per month via tethering. But I do know some people who would abuse it and try to use it as their only internet and push gigs of traffic a month, those are the people who should pay the $20 extra a month.

      • Paul

        Ok I just read EasyTether’s FAQ’s about T-Mobile. They ARE looking into http headers to determine the browser, mainly from the UA string. So if you had browser in Android that could change it’s UA string to look like IE or Firefox, that too would be blocked, even though you’re not tethering. Those HTTP headers contains all sorts of information, cookies, URI’s, etc. and for T-Mobile to be scanning all their HTTP traffic is a huge privacy concern. They need to be sued. Regardless, T-Mobile’s ‘blocking’ method may actually break the ClockWorkMod Tether functionality unless CWM-Tether puts in an option to change the UA headers as it proxies, this can be done. So CWM-Tether could put in an optional T-Mobile work-around. HTTPS traffic would be unaffected no matter what because they can’t read the HTTP headers of SSL encrypted traffic.

        • Alex

          Now, If I were to tether my tablet it would still work, right? Because its still using a mobile UI.

          • Johnston212

            I don’t think so. I tried USB Tethering on my Iconia and that was a no go, but this particular app requires software to be installed on the computer itself

  • Hannu Leinonen

    Kudos to Koush!

  • aconner22

    i don’t have a need for this but i still applaud the effort. Good job Koush.

  • matt

    it works grreat with my wifes nexus s 4g stock unrooted. Going to try with my nexus s 4g running NX 4.0.3 r1 later today will let you all konw.

  • Lanceamatic

    someone should google the difference between a bit and a Byte (little b vs big B) and check their math again,

    8 bit = 1 bytes

    2GB = 2 Gigabytes = 2000 megabytes

    50mbps = 50 megabit per second = 6.25 megabytes per second.

    2000 / 6.25 = 320 seconds = 5.3 minutes. theoretically. (in reality, a loooot slower than that)

    still, pretty silly to have a 2GB transfer limit.

    • Noah Putman

      You need to do your math again. 2 GB = 2048 MB, unless you’re a hard drive manufacturer… >.>

    • Johnston212

      Unfortunately, we tend to skip over the key details required for acronyms that have capitalization requirements. For example MBps and Mbps are 2 ENTIRELY different speeds. Same thing goes for calorie and Calorie, which I always find amusing.

  • kimminer1

    probably temporary….the carriers will figure out how to block it

  • revs1227

    i have a stock sensation 4g and t mobile doesnt bother me as well as on my mytouch 4g
    totally free and unlimited ? wonder when ill be blocked
    anyone els ?

    • Futureboy

      Someone correct me if I’m wrong, But I’m guessing the detection happens on the phone. If they didn’t have the detection software on the phone when you bought it, and they haven’t pushed an update to you, as long as they don’t push you another update, you should be fine.

  • http://alxrock.deviantart.com alxrock

    I’ve been using EasyTether for while (even though I paid about $10 for it). Does ClockworkMod Tether have any advantages over it, aside from being free?

    • Johnston212

      It’s made by ClockwordMod, so there is the quality of the reputation.

  • Exalted Ruler

    For comparision, using PDANET daily for 1 yr. on a stock mesmerize (now at v2.3.4) and no hate mail from USCellular yet.

  • http://sean-the-electrofreak.blogspot.com/ Sean the Electrofreak

    Very cool. Though, I now have one less reason to convince my friends to root. :p

  • Hall Lo

    Cool! Good news to my unrooted friends lol xD

  • stenzor

    Users should have a right to do whatever they want with the bucket of data that they purchased. It’s no place for carriers to block tethering.

  • classic_hero

    Ill def give it a try. Tethering has saved my life in the past and I fully support this

  • Bill

    PdaNet has been doing this for years: http://junefabrics.com/


  • Topher Campbell

    I think carriers should let you choose your speed like how cable and dsl companies have their model. My phone doesn’t need a 42mBit connection… and it would get rid of the stupid b/w restriction.

  • marc

    Who the hell has 2gb data limit?
    I been rowing with Orange in UK all last year about unnacepatble 500mb a month

    Takes about 6days of normally surfing to pass it and then be charged an extra 20 pound a month

    Disgusting carriers

    • Johnston212

      AT&T does. I still have my unlimited and for whatever reason, my brother has 2GBs on his plan, even though he doesn’t even hit 1.5GB

  • Johnston212

    Too bad this doesn’t cover Mobile Hotspotting. I use that more than USB Tethering, though when I get a LTE phone that may change.

  • DroidSmith

    Nice to see a USB tether that works with stock devices. I’ve also had really good luck with PDANET wich also supports tethering by bluetooth DUN.

  • Christian

    Tried it.
    Works on Windows 64-bit using a Sprint Epic 4g Touch (Samsung Galaxy SII)

  • santu

    And I also do agree, support Koush! He does amazing things for the Android community!

  • Ron

    Nice app/service.

    Over the course of many months I have used a few tethering apps and so far this one is the most stable.
    I buy my phones outright and purchase prepaid credit
    I am yet to come into the problem of telcos not allowing me to tether , is it because I am prepaid or that Australia has a different set up ?
    Currently 5GB + $500.00 of calls a month is $29.95 , although have found a new telco that offers 9GB month for $35.00 data only ..

    When I first noticed the free tether I was excited, but after reading the meaning of it properly ( overseas telcos charge for the use of tethering) I was a little let down

    BUT what is free these days right ? lol

    Anyways I will continue using Koush’s tether as it is the smoothest

    Keep up the great work and thanks for making our androids that much better

  • Larry

    Have a Samsung Fascinate on Verizon, and I am successfully tethered (not rooted) to my Win XP laptop. Now using the same Fascinate, I want to also connect to an Acer I500 Tablet. I am having difficulty connecting to the Acer. The Acer sees the tethered phone, but won’t connect. Keeps telling me to plug my USB cable into my computer, which it already is..

    Question. Does the Tether software on the Phone, only recognize the XP machine, which works, or will it also recognize the Acer Android tablet as well, or do I need two different tethers on the phone ????

    Thanks for any help.


    • Jimmy

      Hey Larry,

      This tether app is only for tethering your cellular phone’s data to a Mac, Windows, or Linux computer. As far as I know, you cannot go cell phone data –> XP laptop –> Acer Android tablet solely using this app.

      • monster221

        actually, and i have been looking at doing this, if you have a home pc and a router, you can run clockworkmod and tether to the pc, hook the pc through ethernet to the router as if the pc provides service to the router. get the pc to provide network access to the router which should not be difficult at all, and whenever your phone is plugged to the pc you will be able to access the services via the wlan of your router, no tether client needs to be installed on any computer but the main pc connected directly to the router.

        you could also directly broadcast an ad-hoc connection from the pc, but a lot of unrooted android devices do not support connecting in ad-hoc mode, only infrastructure mode.

        have not tried it yet, as i do not have a desktop pc only my laptop, but it seems simple enough to do.

  • neel

    I hope there’s a way I can use it on
    My android tablet someday.koush should work on this many have tablets out there as Android as their OS.

  • monster221

    i understand tethering resrtictions. wwan bandwidth is much more expensive to provide than wired infrastructure like, say, cable. also the frequencies are heavily regulated federally whereas that of cable is not because it is a closed system, ergo analog cable is still around whereas analog broadcast is not. this provides huge bandwidth restrictions to wwan carriers. also, say you have unlimited data, which can be expensive, but you use it for the house for every device you own. this wildly increases the use of the available bandwidth a carrier can provide, which would make expansion of the infrastructure at the cost of services provided non-economical. the costs they would have to charge to finance the work being done to expand the infrastructure would price most users out of the market and undermine the funding and the purpose of increasing that infrastructure. we will reach a point where it is no longer the case, as we have seen unlimited for home internet become the norm as opposed to 15 years ago where people payed by the ¨minute¨ and other such billing methods. but in order for that to happen in the future it has to be economically viable, and so for the time being it must be done this way. mark my words though, pretty soon we will see data become like phone service where nobody has home internet and everyone just carries their data connection with them.

    that being said, i use it. i bought it. it is awesome. the big t bought metropcs and has advanced restrictions and this is so far the only way for me to get around them. i live alone and cannot justify shelling out 65 bucks for unlimited data as well as another 60 or so for home internet that i dont use 10-15 hours out of the day when im not here. if they offered me say 10 bucks for tethering i would, but since that option isnt available to unlimited data plans i have no other choice but to find a way to make it work.

    also, i have noticed that even through usb 2.0 over 4g lte network my connection most times is competitive with that of my sisters att connection. i am able to watch hd movies all the time with very little buffering on my computer. i would highly recommend clockworkmod tether to anybody, i dont understand what goes on with people saying things like ¨its like a fast dial-up connection¨of course results may vary depending on carrier, signal strength and area as well as your data plan.