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Do you ever find yourself with a laptop and no internet connection?

If you find yourself in a location with your laptop but no connection, you may still be able to access the web. As long as you have your smart phone and cable, you can "tether" your notebook to the smart phone and use that as a modem for your internet connection. According to Wikipedia, tethering is the use of a mobile device with an internet connection as an internet gateway or access point for another device.  Tethering requires software on the smart phone and software on your laptop that allows for an internet connection through your cell phone data plan. For example, using a droid, you can find several tethering programs that are either free or very inexpensive on the phone's "Marketplace" application. One such program, "pdanet" allows free use for all but so-called secure Web sites (for example, those that you conduct e-commerce on). For a small fee, pdanet has a more robust version that allows you to connect to those sites as well. There are many other applications for most mobile devices, only a Google search away. The real utility of these tethering programs is that when you unexpectedly find yourself without internet access, you can download all the software on your smart phone, install it on the phone and computer using the phone's data cable, and then connect to the internet. The only caveat is that some cell phone providers may not allow tethering or may impose limits on its use. You should check your provider's policies before choosing to tether.

Tip courtesy of Robert S. White, Esq. of Bourgeois, Dresser, White & McGourthy LLP.

Published November 18, 2010

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