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September 25, 2012

Internet sharing on Nokia Lumia

In the Nokia Lumia software update delivered in June, we saw a number of improvements and added features; one of them adding Internet sharing to the phone. What is it and how does it work? We’re about to tell you.

Internet sharing, or Wi-Fi tethering as it’s often called, is a way of connecting one device to another with the purpose of accessing the Internet through that second device. This is useful if you haven’t got a great data plan but the other device does. Or if the first device has a poor signal and can’t connect to the network but the second device can. The two devices connect to each other using Wi-Fi and up to five devices (which can also include computers, not just mobiles) can be connected at any one time.

Also, it’s worth noting that in places where 4G is available, it’s often faster than conventional home broadband. This means that with Internet sharing, it’s possible to connect your home computer to your 4G device and go about your Internet business much faster than before.

If you’ve updated to the latest software on your Lumia, you should already be seeing this new feature. If you haven’t updated yet, follow the steps in the videos below. Internet sharing will also be appearing in future Lumia smartphones like the Nokia Lumia 920 and Lumia 820.

Once you’ve got the latest software, here’s how you set up Internet sharing to turn your Lumia 800 or Lumia 710 into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot.

Navigate to settings in the app list, and then scroll down to Internet Sharing. A simple flick of the switch turns Internet sharing On.


Internet sharing off

The first time that you do this, your phone will automatically be given a broadcast name. This is the name that other people will see when they’re looking for a Wi-Fi hotspot on their own device. You’ll also be given a password that people will need to input in order to connect. Pressing the setup button at the bottom allows you to change all of these details.

Internet sharing activated

Changing settings

When people do connect, your phone will tell you how many people are accessing the Internet through your phone in the Guests connected section. You can’t control or see who’s connected to your Wi-Fi hotspot, although hopefully you’ll only have given the details out to people you can trust. You can change the security type to allow anybody to connect without the need for a password, but we wouldn’t recommend doing that. The last thing you want is somebody downloading high-def movies through your data plan without you knowing it.

Connected guests

Counters app

If you’re worried about people abusing your data plan, don’t be. If you yourself are connected to a WiFi access point, they’re not eating into your data allowance. However, if you’re away from a WiFi access point and are still hosting a connection through your operator, you can manage your data use with Counters – the perfect companion when Internet sharing.

At any point, you can switch off Internet sharing by going back into the settings menu and flicking the switch; so you’re always in control.

Do you use Internet sharing? In what situations do you use it most? Let us know, in the comments below.