Laptops On-The-Go : A look at PDANet
There are many reasons for jailbreaking your iPhone, be it video recording, run apps in the background, or customize the theme of the springboard (the list goes on and on). Personally, if I had to choose just ONE reason to jailbreak, it would be the ability to tether my laptop. Tethering will allow my laptop to go online wirelessly through the high speed network of the iPhone. Just imagine the possibilities. Surf the web on your netbook/laptop even when there are no wireless networks nearby or if the networks are password protected.
This brings me to PdaNet,a free and simple app that will make your iPhone act like a wireless router. The beauty of it all lies in the fact that it uses an ad-hoc wi-fi network that allows the iPhone to connect to a PC or MAC. No need to enter any IP numbers or deal with any SOCKS proxy connections.
On a mac, it is as easy as:
- Create a new network under Airport icon and give it any name you like
- Check “Require Password” and enter a password (5 ASCII characters for 40-bit WEP and 13 for 128-bit.)
- Go to Settings->WiFi and your new network should be there. Select it.
- Open PDANet and ensure that Wifi Router is on. Within a few seconds or so, you should be connected and ready to go online with your laptop.
On Windows XP or Vista there are a few more steps involved, but nothing overly difficult. You can click here to go to PdaNet’s website for more info for Windows OS. I was able to tether to my Acer laptop running XP with no issues as well.
Performance was better than I had expected. While connected, I was able to download files from anywhere between 100 – 260 kbs on the 3G network. Of course, this can vary quite a bit depending on how busy the 3G network is and the file’s server speeds. On Speedtest.net, I was able to reach download speeds of 2136 kps and 266 kps for uploads. All in all, I would say more than enough bandwidth and speed for ordinary tasks like surfing, emails, and some downloads. What I wouldn’t recommend is downloading huge files (i.e torrents) via tethering. Some carriers (AT&T) do not allow tethering with the iPhone and even if your carrier does allow it, downloading heaps of data can raise redflags that could result in one big spanking (if that’s your kinda thing, then download away!). That said, always check with your carrier and look at the fine print to see it is allowed before attempting to tether.