Being able to hook up to your WiFi network with your computer or tablet is pretty convenient, but what if you’re on the road, or in an area without a wireless network in sight?
Well there’s good news — setting up a wireless hotspot on your device, which you can then connect to with your laptop or tablet, is extremely convenient. The feature is available on most smartphones these days, but carriers usually charge around $20 or more each month for a simple subscription to the service.
But what if I told you that you could experience the same service for only a one-time fee of $7.95? You’d take it, right? Well hit the break to find out how.
Now before we start, let me just inform you of the possible charges you may incur during this process, and how data limitations (by your current data plan) may restrict what you may be able to do.
The only up-front cost you’ll be paying is the one-time $7.95 price for the license key to use the application. That’s pretty darn cheap when you consider how much you’re saving rather than paying the (depends on carrier) $20/month fee for the wireless hotspot subscription.
Remember: by using this hotspot feature on your device, you’ll be using your mobile device’s data plan and essentially transferring that data usage over your your tablet or computer. (The data doesn’t just appear out of thin air for you to use.) This isn’t a big deal for those of us still on unlimited data plans, but if you have, say 2GB or 3GB of data per month, you might want to reconsider before streaming a movie or a bunch music while you’re wirelessly tethered. Be sure to use it only for simple web browsing/emails if you have a small data plan, or upgrade your plan to a higher package if you plan on using the wireless hotspot feature often. (And believe me, you blow through the data fast — I’ve used 30GB in a month before.
Now that we’ve got that little disclaimer out of the way, let’s get started, shall we?
Step One: Download PdaNet+
Open the Google Play Store and type in “PdaNet+.”
The app, when you tap on it in the Play Store, should look something like this:
If you’re having trouble finding the app, I’ve included a QR code and a link to the app in the Play Store for you below:
Download the app — it’s free. The app you’ll be paying $7.95 for comes later. Don’t worry about that for now.
Step Two: Unlock Full Version (Download FoxFi Key)
Once you download the app, open it. You’ll find a screen that looks like this.
At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see the “Unlock Full Version” option. You can skip this part, but you’ll only be able to have unfettered access for 30 days. After the 30 days, you won’t be able to log onto any websites that require a secure connection (https). That means no Facebook, Gmail, bank access, etc. (Any sites that require a login.) This might not bother some people, so skip this step if you fall into that category.
Okay, so to continue with the Full Version instructions. Click on that option, and you’ll see this screen:
Download the FoxFi Key (you’ll have to pay $7.95).
Step Three: Install FoxFi Key and Certificate
Once it’s finished downloading, head back to the PdaNet+ app that you previously opened. Tap on the “Activate WiFi Hotspot” button, which is located under the “FoxFi” header in the app. (Three options down from the top.)
Give it a few seconds, as the feature has to load up.
You’ll then be prompted with this screen.
Simply press “Install,” and you’ll be brought to the following screen.
You can leave the options (seen above) as they are, and press “OK.”
After you press OK, your phone may notify you that you need a screen lock, so just press OK and it should bring you to your regular screen security settings. Set up a screen lock (if you don’t have one already). After setting one up, you should be brought back to the PdaNet+ app.
Step Four: Create VPN Connection
After getting back to the app (after setting up a screen lock, if prompted), you’ll be prompted with another message:
Simply click on the check mark so that you say “I trust this application,” and click “OK.”
After this, you may have one more step, depending on your phone. This screen may come up:
Just follow the basic instructions given by the app. Quickly (within 30 seconds) tap on the “Go to Settings” option shown above and turn on your “Mobile Hotspot” feature. If your phone shows a “Call to Subscribe” message, just cancel or decline it and try turning it on again.
Step Five: Turn on Mobile Hotspot
Once you finish that step, you’ll get the basic mobile hotspot instructions, as seen below, which you should follow.
Turn on WiFi on your computer (or tablet, or whatever connection you’ll be tethering to). Find “FoxFi” in the list of WiFi networks, select “FoxFi39.” You haven’t set up a password for your personal hotspot yet, so you won’t have to enter anything into the security key field. At that point, you’ll be connected to your new wireless hotspot!
Step Six: Name Network and Make Password
You’ll probably want to set up a password and possibly rename the hotspot name to something more recognizable than “FoxFi.” Setting up the password is incredibly important, especially if you don’t have unlimited data. If someone connects to your network (even if they’re not being malicious), they can stream all the music and movies they want, using your precious data, without even knowing it. Make sure to set up a password, and monitor your data throughout the month when you use PdaNet+. Better to be safe than sorry! Here’s how to set up a password and re-name the network. (It’s easy, so do it!)
Simply open the PdaNet+ app and find the “Password (WPA2)” option (above).
You’ll be prompted to enter a password you’d like to use to secure the network. Simply type it in and press OK. That is now your password. You don’t have to make it too hard to guess, since only those around you (while your hotspot is on) will be able to see the network, so it’ll either be people on a public bus with you, at your work or in a Starbucks. If you forget your password, you’ll also be able to see whatever you have set under the “Password” section on the app.
To set a Network Name, simply click on “Network Name,” enter a new name, and press OK. It’s easy as that.
Enjoy tethering, and remember: check up on your data usage regularly if you’re using PdaNet+ heavily and don’t have an unlimited data plan!