This is nothing new for mobile experts, but I thought I’d briefly share my experiences anyway. There are many ways to share a mobile (3G/GPRS) connection for many devices and users. This is handy when you only have one 3G device and or SIM card, but several devices and users.
I used to use my Symbian phone with JoikuSpot Premium application installed. It uses the WLAN connection to share the mobile connection. The free version of the application (JoikuSpot Lite) only supports HTTP/HTTPS access, but the paid Premium version supports other protocols too, so it works with e-mail, SSH and VPN remote access etc.
The biggest limitation is that JoikuSpot creates an ad hoc network which many devices such as Nintendo DS and Sony PSP do not support. Connecting to ad hoc networks is also prevented in many laptops under a strict IT policies.
In new Android smartphones and tablets, creating a Portable WiFi Hotspot a standard feature from version 2.2 onwards. It is easy to activate, see step-by-step instructions for example at Tech-Recipes.com. What’s even nicer, Android seems to support infrastructure mode too, so it can be used with pretty much every WLAN device there is.
As I don’t currently use iPhone frequently, I wouldn’t know which would a good br app for sharing the mobile connection via WLAN. Bluetooth and USB tethering are available anyway.
However, sharing the connecting with a smrtphones is often not the ideal method, because it can consume the battery in just a few hours. Lately I have been using a nice external 3G modem from the Chinese vendor Huawei. Huawei E5 (E5830) (see reviews and specs) is a MiFi, mobile WiFi access point that shares a 3G connection over a 802.11b/g network. It supports GPRS, EDGE, UMTS and HSPA on many frequencies. Very important is support for 900 MHz 3G, because this enables 3G support in Finland even in rulal areas, for example many people’s summer cottages.
It promises support for five concurrent users, which seems to work great. I have used this device on my brother’s summer cottage, in a middle of a forest close to small town called Karjaa (Raasepori), Finland, where Elisa has 3G (HSPA) coverage. I have downloaded PS3 updates, surfed the web on iPad and my laptop, streamed music from Spotify. The WLAN antenna is good enough for the whole house (76 sq. meters) and its surroundings.
E5 has a battery and supports USB charging. When at a fixed location, you can have it active as long as you want, but there’s also the option for mobile use. It is easy to setup and there’s a nice web paged UI for checking the status and settings. Huawei E5 came to market already in 2009, but it has succeeded quite well in reviews, such Trustedreviews.com.
What do you think is the best way to shar your 3G connection for many devices and users?