Set Up Wireless Internet Access On Windows Laptop via Cellphone

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connect Ever since I first purchased my Windows Mobile device, I’ve been obsessed with getting the most out of my unlimited data plan – as evidenced by the recent article I wrote about getting on YouTube at School with such a plan. However, as an online writer, there are times when I simply have to get on the Internet with my laptop even when I may be hundreds of miles away from the nearest Internet connection.

Luckily, if you have a Windows Mobile device and you’ve signed up for an unlimited data plan through your cellular provider, then you’ve got an excellent option to set up your laptop wireless Internet access through your cellphone from anywhere you have a cellular connection.

James recently reviewed a cool app called JoikuSpot Light, which transforms your mobile phone into an Wi-Fi hot-spot. Without a doubt, JoikuSpot is probably the best solution. However, if you aren’t able to get JoikuSpot working on your device and there are no other similar options available, you may find yourself pulling out your USB cable and trying to remember how you configured your Cellphone to serve as an Internet modem for your laptop. In this article, I’m going to offer Windows Mobile users an easy step by step guide that you can refer to any time you need to configure laptop wireless Internet access through your cellphone.

The following procedure is grouped into three steps. First, setting up the laptop and the cellphone for Internet sharing, rather than connecting via an application like ActiveSync. Second, configuring both the laptop and the cellphone for the Internet connection, and finally, initializing the connection. Once you’ve completed steps 1 and 2, you’ll never have to do them again. The next time you want to access the Internet with your cellphone you simply “redial,” and you’re online. This particular setup is based on the HTC manufactured series of windows mobile devices. In my case I still use the now-ancient HTC Cingular 8125, however these steps work for the later models (and most Windows Mobile devices will also be similar).

Step 1: Getting Things Ready

The first thing that you need to do before you can establish a laptop/modem connection is to kill the current application that’s handling communications between your laptop and cellphone. In my case, I’m running ActiveSync, so I kill that process using the Task Manager.

laptop wireless internet access

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For ActiveSync, you just find wcescomm.exe and kill the process. If you’re particular Windows Mobile device uses another application, you’ll need to find the process name and make sure that you kill it. Secondly, you’ll need to also shut down the communications software on your phone. In the case of ActiveSync, in Windows Mobile you go to Start -> Settings -> System -> Memory -> Running Programs, and then if ActiveSync is listed you’ll need to stop the process.

mobile internet

Once you’ve stopped the communications software on both the laptop and Windows Mobile phone, you’re ready to establish the connection between the laptop and phone as an Internet modem.

Step 2: Connecting The Cellphone As a Modem

The only real configuration required in Windows Mobile in order to set up your device as an Internet modem is to enable the “Modem Link.” The Modem Link configuration can be found by going to Start -> Programs.

mobile internet

Once you’re inside the Modem Link configuration, just change the Connection setting to USB. It’s likely that your other settings are already configured, however if they are not just make sure that the Access point name has the name of the connection you configured on your mobile device for Internet access. When everything looks good, click “Activate” at the bottom, and the “Status” at the top should change to “Active.”

mobile internet

If your device is already connected to your laptop, you’ll get the “Found New Hardware” wizard pop-up immediately. If you’re not yet plugged in, then now’s the time to do it.

wireless internet for laptop

Just make sure that you select to install from a specific location so that you’ll have the option to manually select your driver file. Click next.

wireless internet access

On the next screen, you’ll click the browse button and go to the folder where the driver file is located. In my particular case with the Cingular 8125, and for most HTC mobile devices, you’ll need the USBMDM.INF driver file as well as the HTC USB Modem Dialer application. Both are offered as a free download from xda-developers.com. Download the zip file and put them wherever you’ll remember. Then in the Windows Wizard screen above, browse to the directory where you extracted the INF file. If your Windows Mobile device is non-HTC, check with the manufacturer for a USB modem driver for your device.

laptop wireless internet connections

The Wizard will recognize the device. Depending on your particular device and the version of the driver, you may see the error message above. Just click “Continue Anyway.”

wireless internet connection

Finally, the driver’s installed and you’re ready to start using your new Mobile USB Modem anytime you want to, and anywhere you have a cellular signal!

Step 3: Initializing the Internet Connection

To establish your new mobile Internet connection using your laptop, run the executable that you downloaded from the link above. Regardless of your device or your cellular carrier, you’ll typically always need to enter a User Name and Password. You can access that information (if you don’t already know it from setting up Internet use on your mobile device) by contacting your cellular provider and asking for the User Name and Password to use with your Internet data plan.

wireless internet access

Enter those details into the USB modem dialer, and after a few moments it’ll inform you that you’re now connected. Yes, that means that at this moment, even while you’re sitting in the middle of the lake with a fishing pole in one hand, your laptop is now connected to the Internet via your cellphone signal. It may not be lightning fast – but when you’re desperate to submit your latest article (or check on your team’s latest game results), sometimes such a connection is all you need.

Have you ever configured your laptop with an Internet connection through your cellphone? What configuration or software tools did you use to accomplish the task? Share your insight in the comments section below.

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Comments (23)
  • alex

    hi…im shifting to a place in indiana without a cable modem next month.until the broadband is installed,i would like to use my nokia e 50 as a modem.is using AT&T the best option?

  • Aryamaan Giri

    Hey, nice article. Do you know of site that offers free themes for HTC P3400? I tried zedge but got nothing.

  • Aryamaan Giri

    Hey, do you know of any sites where i can get themes for my HTC P3400 ? I tried zedge.. but they have none for HTC P3400.

  • Dvir

    Is this really breaking news? I have a PDA and a laptop for the last 4 years, and I’ve always used my PDA as a cellular modem with a USB connection. All I had to do is install the USB modem driver from the PDA’s setup CD.
    In addition, there is no need to kill applications, only to launch the modem link on the PDA and then connect it to the PC. The modem link application cancels the ActiveSync connection.

    Is there something I’m missing here?

    • Ryan Dube

      Hey Dvir – Thanks for your insight on the ActiveSync, I assumed it had to be shut down first but it’s good to know the modem link app will automatically cancel ActiveSync’s connection. As to what you’re missing – nothing at all. Here at MUO, we don’t write breaking news, we write articles that will help people “make use of” technology they may not already know about. If you already know how to tether your PDA for Internet access with your laptop, then good for you…however, there are thousands of readers out there who may have found this article in search of instructions on how to do it. And we aim to serve. ;) Thanks again for your comment.

  • gurughantal

    when you write for internet you should suppose that there is world ourside the great US of A. Check out ‘other’ world’s data plans. India has Airtel, Aircel and others. I’ve been using Airtel’s GPRS but now switched to Aircel’s. Why? Compare it with any other country in the world: Rs. 98 (i.e. USD 2 – Yes, TWO) for a month UNLIMITED.

    • Ryan Dube

      Hey Gurughantal – thanks for providing some insight on the cell data plans in India…valuable information for MUO readers from your part of the world!

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For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.