Paul Mah explains how you can use the WMWiFiRouter application to turn your Windows Mobile smartphone into an Internet access point.
One method of accessing the Internet on-the-go is to make use of free or pre-paid Wi-Fi access points (APs), which you can find practically anywhere. Unfortunately, the access speeds at Wi-Fi APs can vary greatly, and it is not uncommon to come across Wi-Fi APs that do not work at all.
A more robust solution is make use of 3G wireless data or mobile broadband. Unless you already have a laptop that has this capability built-in, you'll need to get a data modem or make use of smartphone tethering. Another option is to use your smartphone as a dedicated Wi-Fi AP.
One key advantage of having a Wi-Fi AP is that more than one user can make use of the Internet at the same time. Implementing such functionality on the hardware front is the MiFi modem. But getting a MiFi personal hotspot entails purchasing the hardware and will likely require signing up for a separate mobile plan.
Fortunately, Windows Mobile and Symbian smartphone users have software options to convert their mobile phone into an Internet-ready Wi-Fi AP; and, unlike smartphone tethering, no cables or Bluetooth are necessary -- the software promises a one click experience for Internet connectivity.
WMWifiRouter for Windows Mobile
WMWifiRouter is a comprehensive application and has various features that allow you to use your smartphone as a Wi-Fi AP. I've used WMWifiRouter for Windows Mobile on two smartphones: the HTC Tilt 2 (WM 6.5) and an Ultimate 6150 (WM 6.1). The installation of WMWifiRouter is rather straightforward on supported devices; it has an intuitive wizard that walks you through configuring the name and the encryption setting for the AP.
WMWifiRouter has battery and temperature monitoring, which can protect your device, and it has a power saving mode that works even when the device is suspended. You can also configure periodic data packets to keep the connection alive. Using just the default settings and then dimming the display on my Tilt 2 to the minimum, I was able to use it for between 3.5 to 4 hours of continuous Web surfing. Another bonus is the software allows you to share your data connection over Bluetooth and USB -- or from your laptop's Wi-Fi to a USB device connected to your smartphone.
Based on my extensive use of WMWifiRouter with my iPod Touch, I can say that using your smartphone as a Wi-Fi AP works. There is no danger of forgetting to bring the right cables along or having to connect via Bluetooth. In comparison, Wi-Fi is a mature wireless technology that is widely supported by most devices. Where performance is concerned, it is also sufficiently robust to be indistinguishable from a regular broadband connection.
To give the application a spin, you can download a free 21-day trial of WMWifiRouter.
A similar option for Symbian smartphonesAnother product worth checking out is JoikuSpot for Symbian smartphones. I didn't have the opportunity to test it out since I currently don't own a Symbian device; however, other than the fact that it was created for the Symbian platform, the product works the same way as WMWifiRouter. JoikuSpot Premium S60 is the paid-for edition and comes with all the requisite capabilities to share the Internet on supported S60 devices. There is also JoikuSpot Light, which is a free, feature-limited edition of JoikuSpot. JoikuSpot Light supports only the HTTP/S protocol for basic Web surfing; it has no support for VPN; and it does not auto-reconnect if the connection is temporarily dropped. Get smartphones tips and news in your inbox TechRepublic's Smartphones newsletter, delivered each Thursday, features tips on how to deploy and manage smartphones in your enterprise, product reviews, news updates, photo galleries, and more. Automatically sign up today!
Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.