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Can you connect your laptop to EV-DO with a smart phone?

Can workers who carry smart phones with EV-DO wireless data subscriptions also use those phones to connect their laptops to EV-DO?

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Depending on the type of smart phone and laptop, your workers may well be able to use their phones as tethered EV-DO modems for laptop Internet access. Accomplishing this requires (1) a phone that supports tethered modem operation, (2) an EV-DO wireless account that supports tethering, and (3) modem driver/connection manager software that is compatible with the laptop.

Start by checking with your wireless carrier for a list of phones for which tethered modem operation is supported. For example, my Motorola Q can be used as a tethered modem with Verizon EV-DO.

Next, determine the cost (if any) to add this capability to your EV-DO data subscriptions. Tethered modem operation is usually treated as an add-on feature that must be separately enabled. For example, Verizon charges an extra $15/month to add this feature to my Motorola Q's existing unlimited EV-DO data service.

During use, the phone must be connected to the laptop, typically over USB or Bluetooth. USB drivers are commonly available for Windows XP, but check with your carrier to determine which operating systems are supported for your worker's phones. USB tethering requires a USB cable and USB port on the laptop, while Bluetooth tethering requires a built-in or after-market Bluetooth adapter on the laptop. Depending on the phone and carrier, you may use ordinary dial-up networking to launch the modem connection or a manufacturer or carrier-supplied connection manager program.

This was first published in July 2007

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