internet sharing

Internet can almost be called the lifeblood of our society; if the internet goes down or our phones lose signal, it is like a part of us dies. Whether you view the aforementioned statement as a glum view of today’s society or an undoubtable truth – we are going to make sure you get internet onto your tablet or PC as long as you have a Windows Phone by your side.

We are going to dive into two different methods to get LOLcats and the rest of the internet to your PC. The first involves using your phone’s built in tethering ability and carrier support to get the job done; the second involves a bit of a proxy configuration, but we will be sure to walk you through both.

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Earlier today we reported that the Surface 2 with LTE has begun to arrive at select Microsoft Stores for an impending launch.  The Surface 2 with LTE shipments are starting to arrive at Stores in order to build up inventory for an imminent launch. Here in the United States the Surface 2 with LTE will work on AT&T’s network, while abroad you’ll be using Vodafone. The option to hop to the internet without Wi-Fi or tethering is definitely appealing. But we’re wondering how the majority of you all connect to the internet on your tablet.

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One handy feature on our Windows Phone devices is Internet Sharing. It allows you to share your cellular data connection over Wi-fi with other devices (laptop, tablet, etc.).

The bad thing is that carriers usually charge you for this service or limit the number of devices that can be tethered (which make no sense seeing that it's your data). We've been tipped that AT&T has made a change to the guest or device limit they impose on their Internet Sharing settings.

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With the latest versions of Windows Phone consumers are able to make use of Internet Sharing, depending on carrier, device capabilities and allowance. But what if it doesn't work as planned? Many have encountered issues when attempting to connect to the Internet via a Windows Phone.

Devices are able to view and connect to the new access point created by the smartphone, but Internet access isn't available. Luckily, there are a few steps that should resolve the issue, thanks to folk at the Nokia forum and beyond. So what does one have to do to get Internet Sharing back up and working?

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We've been informed by a reader that Orange UK is currently rolling out a number of updates, including 8112, for the Lumia 800 Windows Phone. Included in this update is Internet tethering support, which has been absent from the device since launch late last year. 

This follows the 8107 software update, which the UK carrier released back in March. 8112 is also the build that was being shipped with the AT&T Lumia 900. This is number one of three.

We were also informed that Windows Phone Tango build 8773 was then downloaded and installed. Following the Tango upgrade was a 12220 firmware notification.

Let us know if you've received any update notifications in the comments.

Thanks, James, for the heads up!

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A lot of hay has been made over Windows Phone "Tango" aka CR3/build 8773 of Microsoft's mobile OS. The update contains a lot of minor things and is mostly focused on compatibility with 256MB devices for emerging markets and low-cost Windows Phones.

Nokia is hard at work with updating their ROMs for all Lumia phones and in fact if you use Navifirm to check, the Lumia 710 and 800 are getting heavily populated with new Tango updates, presumably being readied for roll-out in June.

We grabbed one of those ROM, OS 8773 with firmware 12120 from Mexican carrier Telcel to see what it has on board. Presumably, these changes you see in the above video will also be on the Lumia 800 and 900 ROMs as well, so consider this a sneak peek. Here is what's new:

  • Call forwarding - forward your calls to a designated number for (1) all calls (2) when I don't answer (3) when I am busy (4) when my phone is turned off
  • Call waiting - enable/disable
  • SMS delivery confirmation* - on/off
  • MMS delivery confirmation* - on/off
  • SMS Character set - Reduced (no accents, standard SMS) or Full
  • Send MMS acknowledgement* - on/off
  • Internet Sharing (aka WiFi tethering)
  • Enhanced MMS - Send voice notes, multiple images, video
  • Nokia branded Marketplace icon

As you can see, some of those features are pretty great (especially Internet Sharing) but they're also not necessarily "must have" items either, making Tango a minor update, something we've been emphasizing for some time now. Still, Nokia has done a nice job here and we expect T-Mobile to roll this out sometime in June officially (just a guess).

Some of you may wonder if the OS feels any different (faster, smoother, etc.) and to our eyes, no, it feels exactly the same. Perhaps there are some optimizations here and there but we really didn't notice it. We should also note the MMS issues we had in the video are probably due to this not being a T-Mobile ROM and more over, Nokia pulled their Network app to be fixed  (it'll be back soon) so we can't configure our MMS gateway for T-Mobile.

If you have any questions, ask away in comments. And yes, we'll see about whipping up a tutorial on how loaded Tango on our T-Mobile phone for you 'leet hackrz out there.

* Items with asterisk were not covered in video

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We've reported twice on Nokia getting ready to serve up some Tango ROM updates along with new firmware for the Lumia 710. First was a planned update for China and it was followed by an update for the carrier Proximus in Belgium.

Both ROMs contained  OS 8773 which is known as Windows Phone Consumer Refresh 3 (CR3) or just "Tango" and will have either 12111 or 12120 firmware on board to coincide with the pushed update. But what a lot of folks were wondering is if the firmware enabled Internet Sharing aka Tethering, a feature long missing from the Lumia 710 and Lumia 800.

Indeed we can now report that at least some of these software updates will have this on board as site WP7.nl has installed and verified that this feature in present. Of course, we don't necessarily expect all updates to contain these as it will technically be up to the carriers but a good portion will opt for the pay-in service of wireless tethering.

We expect Nokia to begin pushing these update for both regions and more in a few weeks presumably June, if an earlier report is correct. In the meantime, Nokia will probably begin to populate their servers with more updates for other carriers for the big OS refresh. We'll keep you posted.

Update: Interestingly, Nokia has pulled the 8773 ROMs from their servers. Thanks, Francesco

Source: WP7.nl; Thanks, Niels, for the tip

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We've previously reported on how the Lumia 710 and 800 do not support Internet Sharing, but the 610 and 900 do. It's a slight pain that has separated Lumia Windows Phone owners. Thankfully Nokia has confirmed that tethering will be available on both the Lumia 710 and 800 in a future firmware update - something we're currently on the lookout for.

The folks from Plaffo are reporting that the official Nokia Lumia Update section of the website is reporting that Lumia 800 firmware on Vodafone in Italy is currently in development. The site notes that they've already received 12070 so this alteration on the update page has to be a future version. As well as Italy, both Vodafone Spain (thanks SmartphoneApps.es) and UK are also "software under creation".

Should the manufacturer be working on the next version, this would hopefully include the missing tethering functionality. Are you with Vodafone and already on 12070? You could well be the first in line for Internet Sharing.

Source: Plaffo, via: SmartphoneApps

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The Lumia 800 (as well as the Lumia 710) is expected to receive a firmware update sometime soon to enable WiFi tethering on the handset, a feature that was introduced in the Windows Phone "Mango" update. We previously reported that Plaffo has confirmed a tethering update is on the way and all Lumia handset owners will be able to utilize the Internet sharing functionality - dependent on their carrier of course.

It would appear (looking at the photo above) that the feature is already active on some handsets, according to a We Love Windows Phone.hk reader. While it's not yet known when the said update will be pushed out to consumers, it's a positive sign to see Internet sharing actually on a Lumia 800.

Source: WeLoveWP.hk (Translation)

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It appears that Telstra is rolling out the Windows Phone tethering update, and has enabled Internet sharing for customers, following Vodafone AU. We've received multiple reports from readers (some using the HTC Mozart - new FW version: 2250.21.510002.841) that they've successfully updated. It's good to see the Australian carrier still keeping up with updates.

Should you be on the network and have received the notification to update, let us know in the comments below with what handset you're packing.

Thanks to everyone who tipped us on this!

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For those hoping that AT&T may deliver that firmware update to the original Samsung Focus to enable WiFi tethering/mobile hotspot, you may want to temper your enthusiasm just a tad. Over at Windows Phone Down Under, our friend Sheeds has been going back and forth with AT&T over their plans for the Focus in this regard and the results are not positive. At least according to one AT&T PR rep:

"What I was able to secure:  at this time, AT&T has no additional upgrade plans for the first generation Focus.

Know that response doesn’t address your specific desire to know if/when those plans might change or touch on plans for subsequent generations, but I’ve also reached what I think is the limit on what I’m going to be able to secure as responses on this issue."

This was after numerous back and forth with other AT&T folks, all of them signaling that no update was coming for the Focus because it was not part of the final Mango build that AT&T received for testing back in late summer.

Of course, we all know that the Focus can run Internet Sharing just fine, it even performs darn well. In fact, many of us have "hacked" our trusty Focus to do just that (just be careful not to get snagged by big blue). However, it looks like AT&T is putting the Focus behind it (except when they need a stand in for the Focus S) and are solely concentrating on so-called Gen 2 phones.This seems like quite a weak excuse on their part as other Gen 1 phones have received the Internet Sharing update--heck, just about all HTC devices have it on board now. But nothing is written in stone and perhaps AT&T will come around at some point--after all, the original Focus was one of the top selling Windows Phones here in the States, it deserves some respect, eh?

Read the whole saga at Windows Phone Down Under.

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Good news for those on Vodafone in Australia: the carrier has approved the HTC update that will enable WiFi internet sharing on the 7 Trophy, this just weeks after announcing that they were testing it:

Windows Phone 7.10.7720.68

Maintenance Release MCR1 (Internet Sharing Update)

Vodafone has granted technical approval of a new maintenance release. Roll-out will begin soon; keep an eye on our blog for further details.

This is excellent news as HTC certainly seems committed to their customers in getting this update to as many devices and carriers as possible. We'll keep an eye out for when it goes live.

Source: Vodafone Blog; Thanks, Gary H., for the heads up!

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For those who are into the whole custom ROM scene--a small but dedicated crowd--you'll be excited to know that DFT have finally released their v2 of their Freedom ROM. We reported back in October that this was in the works and Dark Forces Team has come through, as usual.

This version has quite a few suprises on board including:

  • Support for 20 languages
  • Internet sharing for gen 1 HTC devices
  • Updated HTC XAPs from Titan/Radar
  • Fully unlock with IE download XAP

The ROM is only available for generation 1 HTC devices e.g. Trophy, HD7, Mozart, 7 Pro and Surround) that are GSM. However, the team has noted that they are working on a CDMA versions for our Trophy and Arrive friends too.

While not for the casual user, custom ROMs offer some unique benefits including the ability to have tethering enabled. If you want to brave those waters, head over to XDA Forums for more info.

Thanks, Chris P for the heads up!

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It appears that both the AT&T Samsung Focus S and Flash will be capable of Internet Sharing. Or at least that's what AT&T's Support Websites are indicating.

Support sites for both the Focus S and Flash contain instructions on how to turn on your personal hotspot with these new Windows Phones. Both instructions do note that there is a prerequisite to have a compatible rate plan. We're not sure if that means you have to belly up for a DataConnect plan or if the DataPro 4GB plan will do the trick.  Personally, I'm crossing my fingers that the old unlimited plans will work.

You can find the tethering information for the Focus S here and for the Flash here at AT&T Support.

Thanks goes out to Ryan for the tip!

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HTC Mozart owners residing in India are receiving an update to be able to use Internet Sharing, according to a report at welovewp.hk. Aviraj Ajhekar, an employee at Microsoft India, has published an article stating his Mozart received a firmware update and was then able to tether.

Unfortunately, welovewp.hk  reports that a similar update received in Hong Kong doesn't enable the feature, which further confirms the final decision being up to carriers. We've recently covered ThreeUK allowing Internet sharing on the Samsung Omnia 7, as well as LG Germany.

Have you received a firmware update that enables this WiFi feature?

Source: wplovewp.hk, Aviraj Ajhekar  Thanks Simon!

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Good news for Samsung Omnia 7 owners on the Three UK network, we have Internet sharing! An update has been rolled out from Samsung that enables the tethering setting to be manipulated. Users can now create a small network for up to five connections, using mobile data. Simply plug your handset into Zune and update to take full advantage of the tethering capabilities.

Thanks Jay for the tip!

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In order for our Windows Phones to ever tether via WiFi, it needs at a minium specific hardware--a BRCM 4329 chipset. A few days ago, via XDA, it was reported that the Dell Venue Pro had a BRCM 4325 chipset and therefor was completely out of the running for ever having Internet Sharing/tethering even hacked on, let alone officially granted.

Now some contradictory information has appeared, information which we are much more likely to believe due to the source, which is the official service manual for the Dell Venue Pro aka Dell Lightning.

Scrolling down to hardware specifications and looking under the WiFi/Bluetooth/FM area on page 7, we can clearly see that the BRCM 4329 chipset is listed, meaning in fact the Dell Venue Pro can have WiFi tethering/Internet Sharing--in theory, at least. Assuming that info is correct, and we have little reason to doubt that it isn't, then all that is needed are the correct drivers--no small feat for such a  unique phone. Still, there's little technical reason as to why Dell couldn't offer the Internet Sharing capability of Mango, if they chose.

Download the service manual here and take a look for yourself. Big thanks to Tom for the tip and the file upload!

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Assuming LG Germany isn't fibbing here, users of the Optimus 7 can expect sometime in the (near) future a small firmware update to enable internet sharing aka tethering. We know the phone's chipset supports the function but since it was a late-added feature to Mango, most OEMs have had only a little time to play with the drivers. Looks like LG though is prepped to enable this for its users, which will involve updating the firmware in a quick and painless fashion.

Lets hope it comes this year.

Source: @LGBlog; Thanks, Cyruss1989, for finding out!

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