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Wi-Fi network adaptor app

Seriously, why isn't this available?
  [vote for,

A simple app to allow a smartphone to function as a wireless adaptor, for use with older laptops and desktop PCs that don't have Wi-Fi capability. I bought a NetGear adaptor for my PC about 2 years ago, and it worked fine for allowing me to connect to a Wi-Fi network, but it bought the farm 2 months ago, and NetGear refuses to even try to troubleshoot it because it's outside the manufacturer's warranty. I have 4 Wi-Fi capable Android smartphones and a Wi-Fi capable tablet laying around my house, 3 of which are also capable of USB tethering, which requires an additional monthly fee to activate because tethering uses your carrier's data network.

But why can't I open both network channels simultaneously? Connect the phone or tab to a Wi-Fi network, then enable USB tethering to share the Wi-Fi network, NOT my carrier's network, with the PC.

I contend that this is entirely doable and thus my idea is an app that makes it happen.

21 Quest, Apr 18 2012

Wireless Network Adaptor http://compnetworki.../wirelessgear_3.htm
[21 Quest, Apr 19 2012]

N900 as wireless dongle http://wiki.maemo.org/N900_USB_router
[mitxela, Apr 19 2012]

PdaNet http://junefabrics.com/android/
I'm guessing this can be customized to use only WiFi, but I haven't actually tried it. [jutta, Apr 20 2012]


       This is possible on the Nokia N900, so yes, someone should probably make an app for it. But demand is probably low.
mitxela, Apr 18 2012

       My Samsung Galaxy II S, or whatever it is, allows me to set it up as a Wi-Fi hotspot, which is great when I need internet for my laptop at a client site. I'm on a 10GB/month data plan on my mobile 'phone service.

       The hotspot setting chews up battery life but I plug it into the laptop to keep it charged.

       Is that the sort of thing you mean, [21Q]?
UnaBubba, Apr 19 2012

       Nearly - [21Q] is, I think, talking about a wireless bridge - so a phone which connects to the laptop's USB or ethernet port and provides a network connection to the laptop through the phone's wi-fi or 3G. It's like 'tethering', which is old hat, but with the addition of wireless.
hippo, Apr 19 2012

       Hippo got it, UB. What you're describing is called tethering, and is a very common feature on smartphones these days. But tethering, as you pointed out, requires a data feature (10 GB in your case) that you pay for to share your carrier's network with your laptop. That works because your laptop already has built in Wi-Fi capability (ie, it can connect to any Wi-Fi hotspot, which your phone becomes when you enable wireless tethering).

       But let's assume you are using an outdated laptop that cannot connect to Wi-Fi networks. You could use your phone's USB tethering feature, which also comes out of your data feature, but let's also assume you are at a client site that has free Wi-Fi available. You can connect your phone to the Wi-Fi network and have free, unlimited internet access through the phone, or through a Wi-Fi capable laptop... but you cannot share that free, unlimited Wi-Fi connection with your laptop through your phone. If you have a Wi-Fi capable phone but a non-Wi-Fi capable laptop, there is currently no way for that laptop to connect to the internet through the Wi-Fi network unless you purchase a Wi-Fi network adaptor, which plugs into your laptop's USB drive and acts like a modem.

       This idea is for an app that would allow your Android smartphone to perform the same function as a Wireless Network Adaptor.
21 Quest, Apr 19 2012

       I'll reiterate: it's possible on the nokia N900 [link].

       However, it depends on the modified kernel, as do many advanced features on the device. This may prove quite difficult to implement on android, and with new USB dongles being so cheap, there just isn't the demand for it.
mitxela, Apr 19 2012

       Maemo isn't exactly a widely distributed OS... It's even more unheard of than Symbian here in the US (and that's saying something), and USB flashdrives are very cheap, not so cheap for a USB Network Adaptor. For a mid-range N-300 adaptor you're looking to shell out at least $40.00.

       As far as being difficult to implement on Android... shouldn't be much more difficult that Maemo, seeing as how they're both based on Linux. Granted, it'll almost certainly require rooting an Android, but that's a fairly elementary procedure.
21 Quest, Apr 19 2012

       Bigs you missed the point with your link. We've established that a phone can be used as a modem, sharing your CARRIER PROVIDED DATA NETWORK. That's called 'tethering' and is not what my idea is for. My idea is to use the phone as a WIRELESS NETWORK ADAPTOR, NOT A MODEM.
21 Quest, Apr 19 2012

       Well yeah, that's the point of the app, to handle the tinkering for you.
21 Quest, Apr 19 2012

       I'm running a 10 year old Toshiba laptop, no WiFi, running Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. On the other end of a USB cable is an HTC Hero 200, running CyanogenMod-7.0.3.

       I turn on tethering on the phone, and try pinging my wireless router at - nothing. Data is getting here through the cell connection.

       I go into "airplane mode" - shuts off all wireless access. Then, I turn WiFi back on - and "airplane mode" stays on, only the WiFi functionality gets the override. Bug, or feature? Dunno.

       Ping my router again - hello, I can see you! Open browser, go to - yep, it's on WiFi now.

       Pass through to the 1/2b to post anno...
lurch, Apr 20 2012

       So to be clear, your Toshiba laptop successfully pinged your router through the USB connection with your Hero, and you posted that anno via laptop browser while the Hero was in airplane mode?
21 Quest, Apr 20 2012

       Yes, exactly.
lurch, Apr 20 2012

       Cool. But in flight mode, you can't get calls or texts in on your Hero. My app would allow it to work without flight mode.
21 Quest, Apr 20 2012

       So it's an expensive wifi dongle that also does 3G? The market would be limited, but the idea makes a lot of sense. Coincidentally, I'm right now resuscitating a 12+ year old laptop without built-in wifi...
swimswim, Apr 20 2012

       Yes, the idea is to take an existing Wi-Fi capable smartphone and allow it to pull double duty as a Wi-Fi dongle.
21 Quest, Apr 20 2012

       No need for flight mode. You can just turn your carrier data off. Will have phone functionality and wi-fi.
4whom, Apr 20 2012

       Some CDMA carriers, such as Cricket, removed that option from the settings menu of their phones. My girlfriend has a Samsung Indulge, running Android 2.2, and there is no way to turn off the carrier data other than flight mode.
21 Quest, Apr 20 2012

       I'll have to check - I believe my phone defaults to "best connection" when it has multiple connections available. (My home "broadband" internet connection almost never rates as "best" - 20% faster than dial-up!) I generally use my phone as a WiFi adapter while I'm at the University's medical library, so I have a couple of reasons for using with "flight mode" isolation: Forcing the connection through the library's WiFi lets me use their subscriptions for journals, and it prevents incoming calls and texts while I'm in the library. (To me, it's a plus. [21Q] rates it as a disadvantage. You *can* please everybody, but then they end up shooting each other.)
lurch, Apr 20 2012

       //Some CDMA carriers, such as Cricket, removed that option from the settings menu of their phones.// *Their* phones? There's your problem. What business does a carrier have crippling a handset?
spidermother, Apr 20 2012

       I wonder that myself. T-Mobile's pretty decent about such things. Their Androids even have an option to disable your 3G/4G data connection and use 2G only, which is helpful in many scenarios (3G data outage, poor 3G coverage in a building, extending your battery life, etc...).

       AT&T, the only other large GSM carrier in the USA, has never included this useful feature in any of their Android devices, and removed the feature in the iPhone 4S (the feature was always available in the iPhone 3G, 3GS, and 4).
21 Quest, Apr 20 2012

       <Rant> To me, this is just another example of why you should never purchase plans and handsets as a package. Ask yourself, do the data providers include the handset cheaply or "free" because (a) They're, like, really really nice, or (b) because it allows them to maximise their overall profits (i.e. the ratio of how much money they can squeeze out of you to how much tangible value they provide to you), through provider lock-in, tricks to increase your usage, etc.? Handsets and data are fundamentally different products. Allowing them to be bundled is just asking for abuse.
spidermother, Apr 20 2012


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