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Internet Tethering using iPhone 3G - Introduction

Older generation cell phones with 2G access (GSM/CDMA) have long been used as modems that connect computers to Internet. One reason for doing this is to save on Internet fee since we will pay only one Internet subscription for both computer and mobile phone. As long as the usage is under the bandwidth cap set by our cellular operator or we subscribe to an unlimited data plan, we don't have to worry about paying extra money for each additional Internet device we use. Using mobile phone as modem also can help us enjoy Internet on the larger screen of a notebook while on travel or in the absence of other stationary networks.

If using mobile phone as modem has been a common thing for years, so what's the fuss with iPhone as modem? Well, this popular gadget didn't come with built-in modem capability until recently, when iPhone OS 3.0 for iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS was released. Over past years, geeks Internet-wide have provided jailbreaks/hacks to make iPhone just like any other smartphone which can act as a modem. After the software update to OS 3.0, iPhone 3G or later doesn't need a jailbreak anymore to become a "modem". I put modem inside quotation mark, because iPhone doesn't actually function as a modem but as a network (Ethernet) adapter when tethering a PC over USB and as a wireless access point and router when tethering a PC over Bluetooth. You should be able to use Internet Tethering out of the box, except if your 3G operator doesn't allow it or you don't want to pay extra to enjoy this service. Some 3G service providers require their customers to subscribe to another data plan dedicated for Internet Tethering beyond the bundled iPhone 3G monthly data plan.

iPhone 3G connects to Internet using 3G network

iPhone 3G connects to Internet via home/office/public Wi-Fi hotspot

Picture. iPhone 3G connects to Internet over 3G or Wi-Fi.

In my case, to test the Internet Tethering facility of iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS with iPhone OS 3.0 for this article, I use my unlimited 3G data plan. Luckily, my 3G operator allows Internet Tethering without extra fee during this promotion period. I hope the Internet Tethering service remains free forever, just like tethering using other smartphones.

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