Jun 302012
 

You may remember this video we did a couple of years ago when we first got our Droid smartphones.  It shows how we use some software called PDANet to tether our phone to our computer, giving the computer an Internet connection.

New Smartphones with New PDANet = WiFi Hotspot on your Phone

Both Jim and I now have Droid RAZR smartphones and they have the ability to be a WiFi hotspot.  If you go thru Verizon and turn on that feature, it will cost you an extra fee.  However, if you use the PDANet/FoxFi software, you just pay once for the software and the hotspot gets its data from your phone’s data plan.  It’s really amazing.

After you’ve downloaded the necessary software, you just turn on your phone, touch the App called PDANet or FoxFi, touch ‘Activate WiFi Hotspot mode’, and voila!  You can look at the available WiFi hotspots on your computer or tablet and you’ll see your phone listed.  Connect to it, and you’re online, using the the Internet connection provided by your phone.   Geeks on Tour members can watch the video on exactly how this works.

This is using the data on your phone’s data plan, so be aware of your data usage to avoid exceeding your contract limits.  If you had an original Verizon unlimited plan, I hope you renewed it recently because you will no longer be grandfathered into the unlimited plan.  Although there is iPhone versions of the PDANet software, Apple doesn’t allow it, so you have to ‘Jailbreak’ your phone – cutting the umbilical cord to Apple – before you can install it.

What is FoxFi?

FoxFi is free software, that turns your Android smartphone into a Wi-Fi Hotspot without turning on any extra features from your cellular provider (Verizon, AT&T etc.)  You just install it from the Google Play store, you don’t have to root your phone or do anything special.  If you don’t know what ‘rooting’ means – don’t worry about it!  You don’t have to do it.  It works on most Samsung/Motorola/LG phones and new HTC phones with Android 4.0.

What is PDANet?

PDANet is software from Junefabrics.com.  Although there is a free version, we recommend the full version currently priced at $16.  That is a one time fee.  If you get the free version you will not be able to use the Internet connection to browse to secure sites.  PDANet is the software we demonstrated in the video above to tether your phone to your computer with a cable.  The latest version includes an option for WiFi Hotspot mode.  When you select that, you’ll see FoxFi!  These two great products have joined forces.  I like that because I sometimes have trouble with the WiFi and plugging in the cable solves my problems.

Is this Illegal?

No, this is not illegal.  Of course the cellphone companies would rather you pay their extra fees for the tethering/hotspot options, but when we’re paying them nearly $300/mo already, I really don’t think they mind!  I was a bit surprised, however, to find the salesmen in the Verizon booth at our last rally telling customers about FoxFi!  I guess they figure it sells phones and data plans if you know you can use your phone to provide Internet to your other devices as well.  You’re still paying Verizon for the Internet use.

For travelers, especially fulltime RVers like us, this is a wonderful way to get Internet on the road.

MrsGeek

Traveling the country in an RV with her husband, Jim. We present seminars at RV rallies and computer clubs all over the country.

  18 Responses to “Internet from your Smartphone with PDANet/FoxFi”

Comments (17)
  1. I have read the two products and on the lists of phones, my phone which is an HTC incredible says “not supported” on the FoxFi website so does that mean I am not able to do it or is it possible with PDAnet?

  2. yoshi – the HTC One is not on their list but many other HTC models are NOT supported. Meaning HTC has done something to their phones to make it so FoxFi hotspot can not work. See the official list of devices for FoxFi here: http://pdanet.co/help/devices.php

  3. so i have the new htc one- and i can use it through usb but the wifi option wont work…. anyone know what could be wrong?

  4. Hello,
    Well, my phone and my tablet can find each other just fine With PDA net And Fox Fi. but for some stupid reason, there is still no internet connection. I can’t imagine why. my phone is a Samsung Proclaim which of course is an Android, so that should not be the problem I wouldn’t think. Any suggestions?? thanks for the help kama and have a good evening.

  5. I have searched your site, the PDANet site, FoxFi site, Easy Tether ( Android App) site, and others for info on connecting (tethering w/usb)my Galaxy II Skyrocket 3gb data plan to the internet. I need a secure connection for banking and bill paying while on the road RVing. I have read dozens of comments on all these sites but nobody ever mentioned using the unheard of little cell phone company that I’m with (AT&T). Will this work for me? Thanks

  6. I have been using FoxFi for about a year. Yesterday when I tried activating the hotspot I got a message that I need to download PDANet+. When I tried to do so the download was unsuccessful. I tried going directly to the PDANet website to download and still was unable to do so. Is Verizon blocking the download? I have unlimited data and loved the app, but looks like Verizon may have put a stop to it.

  7. When I do not have good WiFi at a campground or RV Park, I use VZ Access Manager for my Verizon Blackberry. It was free and I tether via a USB cable. I also have a Samsung Galaxy on a Sprint account. It had the Hotspot App loaded when I got the phone and I use it via WiFi. They both have 5 GB plans and I choose which to use depending on strongest signal. I do not watch any streaming video or download updates, software, etc. when using my phones. Seems like technology just keeps getting better and less expensive.

    I do want to get an antenna or WiFi booster to improve connection speed when using campground or park connections. Still researching; too many to choose from.

    Happy travels to all and thanks to the Geeks for all their great information!

  8. I bought my first Smartphone, a Droid, after talking to you at the Redmond, OR rally. We love it. Sound we were using PDAnet and them Foxfi. We recently paid for Foxfi upgrade and it’s still works great. I’ve been reading. I know have a Droid Rzr still with unlimited data. But I’ve been reading that when and if my cell is updated to Jelly Bean FoxIt will no longer work. Until FoxFi is configured to work with Jelly Bean I’d like to keep Verizon from automatically updating my phone to Jelly Bean.

    How would I do this???

    Thanks, Barbara from Los Gatos, CA

  9. I have downloaded foxfi app on my lg. Also pdanet. They install fine but still wont connect. Any ideas

  10. I use the new version(with tethring and wifi) with my Boost Mobile(part of the sprint network) Samsung Prevail. $55 a Month Unlimited Data. I use full version of PDAnet $9 and change. My phone only has 3g but average connection speed is 2800kbps. Thats 3x faster that att dsl where I live. I have downloaded as much as 150 gigs in a month before and not a peep from boost.

  11. Not with sprint. I think the app has been removed. Im with Verizon

  12. I am one of the lucky few to have both the samsung GS3 and unlimited data… I bought the phone right before the unlimited data axe. SO GLAD I DID. Ive used 6 gigs this month and havent paid extra. Love myfoxfi app!

  13. In order for this to work do you need both PDANet and FoxFi for this to work? I have the new Samsung Galaxy S III with the unlimited plan from Sprint will I be able to do this?

  14. I have been giving PDANet and FoxFi a workout this month because we quickly used up our aircard allocation when we went off our unlimited data plan. My favorite use of FoxFi is laying in bed at night turning on the hotspot and downloading all the blogs I follow with gReader on my Kindle Fire.

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