Mobile Broadband FAQ # 10: Can I Tether My Phone With a Router?

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Friday, 08 July 2011

Mobile Broadband FAQ # 10: Can I Tether My Phone With a Router?

faqlogo.jpgThe mobile broadband experts at 3Gstore/EVDOinfo answer countless questions from our customers and from the EVDO Forums community every day - from general mobile broadband questions ("what the heck does 3G mean?") to specific questions about products to more advanced inquiries about what one can do with their mobile broadband service. The "mobile broadband FAQ" series addresses these questions in depth one FAQ at a time. To view ALL of the FAQs we've addressed in this series, visit

Can I Tether My Phone With a Router?

As more and more users move to smartphones and more smartphones offer the ability to "tether" to a computer (i.e. the ability to use your phone as a modem for internet access), we've seen an increase in questions about tethering. Tethering can make a lot of sense for some users, because it can save you from buying another device with a separate monthly bill for internet access. However, if you plan to use this as your primary internet connection, a dedicated 3G or 4G modem may be a better option - you may run into problems if you want to share the connection from your phone with other users (what happens to them if you leave the house with your phone?); plus, just about every currently available 3G or 4G modem is compatible with at least one router, most have antenna ports (phones typically do not).

We often get asked whether it is possible to connect a smartphone to a router, to share the internet connection with multiple computers/devices. The answer is YES, in SOME cases. Unfortunately, most router manufacturers do not officially support phone tethering - this means you most likely will not see any phones listed on the official compatibility chart for currently available routers. However, this doesn't necessarily mean it won't work - many users have had success tethering their phone to a router (Cradlepoint routers especially). We recommend checking our EVDO Forums to see if other users have had success using your phone with a router.

Before attempting to tether your phone with any router, it is important to understand that in order to work with a router, your phone MUST have the official tethering plan from your provider active. With the development of tethering apps available from the Apple App Store and Android Market Place, more and more users are using third party applications to tether their phones without paying an additional fee. This method of tethering is illegal (causing carriers to crack down on tethering applications) and WILL NOT work with any 3G/4G routers. When manufacturers like Cradlepoint write the firmware on the router, they design it around the official software on the modems, and the router simply does not know what to do with an application like PDANet or TetherMe. To reiterate: if you are using a third party app and/or are not paying your carrier for tethering, YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO TETHER TO A ROUTER.

If your phone has a hotspot feature option, you can avoid the tethering issues completely as long as you use a router that supports WiFi as WAN. The WiFi as WAN feature means that the router has the ability to pick up the WiFi signal from your phone's hotspot and use that as the internet source. You can then connect all of your computers/device to the router via ethernet or WiFi. WiFi as WAN routers work with most smartphones that offer the hotspot option, but again, in most cases you need to be using the official hotspot package offered by your carrier (not a third party app or a jailbroken phone). 

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 12 March 2014 )
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