There is a bizarre issue with AT&T and their latest phone - the tech support folks (even the second level) haven't ever seen one, and the scripts they have are made for the original Tilt, and AT&T somehow hasn't realized that while it probably is possible to do it the "old" way, there is a much easier method, and has a side benefit of being cross platform compatible quite easily.

The steps for the "new" (which I now read isn't all that new, but AT&T used to erase the Internet Sharing program off of the phone, and somehow, they forgot to erase it, so we get the benefit of using the device the way the manufacturer intended...) way are:

1. Plug in the USB cable from the device to the computer.

2. Select the radio box "Use as a modem" on your phone when prompted.  (if you don't get the prompt, go to: start->settings->USB to PC and select "Internet Sharing" and check the "ask me every time, if you want to be prompted when you connect)

All done.  The phone acts as a DHCP server, and your computer will obtain a valid local IP address after ten seconds or so.

AT&T doesn't realize this method works, so they will insist it can't.  And even the tech support guy at HTC said, "all Windows Mobile phones aren't compatible with Linux".  Kind of a broad statement, and quite incorrect.

The problem I had was that the internet would disconnect every once in a while, and sometimes get completely hung (at the infamous "waiting for internet" prompt), so the phone required a reboot to be able to share its internet again.

The fix for that was to download a registry tweak (from the XDA site) that makes a new menu item appear on the Internet Sharing menu, that lets you pick "Media Net" or "AT&T ISP GPRS" when you share the network.  I am not sure what the difference between the two is - the tech support person I asked about it said it was the same.  I read on the internet that one was 3G and one was slower or something, but I get the same speeds out of either one.  For me, the "Media Net" choice works much better, and I can browse the internet on my phone and my laptop simultaneously, whereas if I use the GPRS connection, often the network will be disconnected on the laptop if I use the phone's network (or it automatically checks my email or something).

Note, I am paying for a tethering plan, unlike almost all other tethering articles on the internet, so I don't know if you follow this advice you'll get charged for using one or the other without paying for a monthly plan.

I've now been using the "Media Net" connection for 3 or 4 days, and haven't had any disconnects.  I just went back to the GPRS connection and did get a disconnect, so probably it wasn't intended to work that way or something.  Who knows.  But, I do know that I got way better support from reading the various windows mobile forums, rather than spending three hours on the phone with AT&T tech support. Maybe that is AT&T's ulterior motive - get their support so poor that it is better to go elsewhere, and then they don't have to hire as many tech support folks, and since the quality of the internet forums is so good, people will still buy their phones.

As far as speed goes, the tethering speed is comparable to my dedicated device, at least for download.  I can get 2-3Mbps consistently from my house (30 minutes outside of Pittsburgh).  The upload speed is only 300kbps, which my dedicated device will get 600kbps from the same location, so I'll need to ask about that, because I was told the rates would be the same.

The weird thing is that the speed on the device is way lower than the tethered speeds, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, unless the speed is being limited by the write to disk speed, which seems to be slow, but I still think something is funny.  I can only get 40kbps on the device for download and 20kpbs for upload.  It seems like this probably isn't a limitation of the network, but of the device.  One other possibility is that I believe the browsers on the phone are using a proxy server, and perhaps that connection is throttled, so I'll need to see about disabling that, or doing an scp test instead to see what that shows. (update: the scp download is 2Mbps and upload is 240kbps...)  (I haven't been able to get PocketPuTTY working consistently, so I'm probably going to end up shelling out $50 for the Token2Shell app.  One thing that has been odd living in the Windows Mobile world this last week is all of this software for sale - I haven't paid any money for software in a long time (oh, I did buy a couple Microsoft compiler since I have some customers that develop on Windows) - but Lime Daley hasn't ever purchased any software to run the business - I suppose that is kind of strange if you think about it.

Posted by Jon Daley on January 15, 2010, 3:51 pm | Read 66336 times
Category Reviews: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]

I just did some more tests regarding the tethered speeds, and I downloaded 750MB at an average rate of 1.6Mbps. The download was a Debian update, so lots of small, individual files, which presumably makes the file transfer speed worse due to more overhead.

Posted by jondaley on January 19, 2010, 3:26 pm
Add Comment
Add comment
E-mail me when comments occur on this article