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How to turn Your Phone Into a WiFi hotspot

April 28th, 2008 at 16:58 by MattGrest

I’ve just spent the last hour or so going through my last-minute check-list of things to sort out before I fly to India on Friday to kick-off some new projects with our Software Development teams over there.

One of the things on my list was “Investigate cost effective WiFi service at Heathrow and Doha Airports”. As I spend a lot of time travelling on trains and in airports, I often need access to the Internet from my laptop (when Internet access on my phone isn’t quite enough). The usual answer to this is to pay £5 a go for an hour’s worth of WiFi Hotspot access on BT Openzone (using my PlusNet WiFi minutes), T-Mobile or The Cloud or whatever else is in range; hardly a cost effective way of doing things.

My investigation lead me to some interesting software that I can install on my phone that will turn my phone into a WiFi hotspot. I can then connect to this hotspot with my laptop and surf away.

The good news? The software is free and I don’t pay for data usage on my phone.

For those people that are interested in this sort of thing:
• The software is called Joiku
• My laptop is a very small Sony Vaio; Great for taking on the plane.
• My phone is a Nokia N95 8GB

There are a few limitations, mainly that the Joiku software only works with HTTP and HTTPS traffic, so if I want Instant Messaging access I need to use Fring on my phone or a browser Instant Messaging interface such as Meebo, but I can live with that.

If anyone else has any recommendations that can beat this then I'd be very pleased to hear from you. I'll report back with my findings as to how well (or otherwise) this goes...

Matt Grest
Head of Future Development

Twitter: MattGrest


This entry was posted by MattGrest on Monday, April 28th, 2008 at 4:58 pm and is tagged with , , and is posted in the category Tech News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

14 comments on "How to turn Your Phone Into a WiFi hotspot"


Why don't you just bluetooth to your phone and use it as a modem?


@Kelly Dorset; ...because no matter how hard I try, I can't get that to work on my phone :)


If there're any The Cloud hotspots, then try them - if you sign up whist at home (that is, not at the actual hotspot itself) you can get a month's unlimited use (presumably enough for your journey there and back) for £7 for one device.


@MattGrest have you got the right dialling number? It took me a little which to find the right one for 3, but when I did it worked fine.

Could bluetooth to the fone or use the usb cable - the nokia software makes it so easy to access the internet but I use one of those usb 3g dongles for internet access which I find is a lot easier to use.

Don't fancy paying for data usage abroad though...


Wonder about the mobile networks T&C's for possibility of others latching onto the wifi connection, the software only seems to support WEP level protection.
I'd prefer either to use the N95 tethered to the Sony via the USB cable and use the Nokia PC Suite to connect or to get a separate mobile broadband dongle and plug it straight into the Sony (3 have half price on offer at the moment by putting in a codeword on the order page, if you go via Quidco you can get more money off.)

I think it's a sign of the serious deficiencies of Bluetooth as a technology that software like Joiku even exists! On the other hand I've not had any issues connecting my N73 to various laptops via Bluetooth. Pretty handy.


I know this wont apply for many people but it is worth pointing out that most business/first class airline lounges now offer free WiFi (at least in UK airports anyway).

Oh and good luck getting the Plus Net WiFi to work if your PN password is longer than 8 charaters


@James Mitchell

It's Economy class all the way for us at PlusNet; I'm not going to squander our profits on any frivolity!

Yes, I'm aware we have an issue with the WiFi password length; No amount of luck will make it work if your password exceeds 8 chars. I just make sure that my current account password is no longer than 8 characters (but still being a strong password). Works fine then.

Matt Grest
Head of Future Development

wmwifirouter is a new piece of software for windows based smartphones. i'm going to try and get it working tonight so will let you know. it costs 14 euros (special offer) but i'm guessing IM should work so may be worth it.

wmwifirouter works a treat, got it working in minutes and supports IM and everything else. just one significant drawback... it's an unsecure network. i've only downloaded the free trial version so maybe the paid for version supports wep or wpa. will find out.

scratch that, trial version does support wep. now on my shopping list...

Hi MattGrest,

I would like to suggest a VO IP number 4U.

I have a Nokia N95 and you really can make a very good use with a internet flatrate, or even call your friends and relatives for free.

I just got the Lg spyder 2 which i think is a smart phone and i want to know how to make it so that it gives off a Wifi signal so my new 3rd gen 3g ipod touch can get internet access via wifi from my phones data package or internet threw my provider


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