Turn a Smart Phone into a Wi-Fi Hot Spot

Got a 3G smartphone with Wi-Fi? Then you might be soon be able to use it as a Wi-Fi hotspot for connecting your notebook or any other Wi-Fi enabled device to the Internet.

North Carolina-based TapRoot Systems today announced its WalkingHotSpot software, designed to effectively turn a Wi-Fi- and mobile broadband-enabled handset into a Wi-Fi router. At launch, WalkingHotSpot will be available only for Windows Mobile or Symbian Series 60 smartphones. TapRoot CEO Bob Bicksler said.

A free demo version will be available for individuals to download from TapRoot's Web site, Bicksler said. However, the demo will only support one Wi-Fi connection at a time.

TapRoot ultimately hopes to sell the full-featured product (which supports multiple simultaneous Wi-Fi connections) to carriers, who would be able to offer it to their customers, probably as a paid service. TapRoot does not plan to sell directly to consumers.

Ease of Wi-Fi

Many 3G cell phones--phones that support mobile broadband for data services--can already be used as notebook modems, either via Bluetooth or cable connections. But setup of these connections can be a hassle--Wi-Fi connections are usually fairly easy to set up.

Bicksler says WalkingHotSpot will support any flavor of mobile broadband. However only phones based on HSDPA/UMTS (AT&T Wireless' high-speed service) will be able to support WalkingHotSpot Wi-Fi service and voice calls simultaneously.

Those based on EVDO (the mobile broadband technology used by Sprint and Verizon Wireless) cannot handle voice and data connections at the same time. If a call came in while you were downloading a file through a WalkingHotSpot Wi-Fi connection, the download would be interrupted.  However this is a limitation of EVDO technology, so the same would hold true for use of these phones as modems via Bluetooth or a cable.

Shop ▾
arrow up Amazon Shop buttons are programmatically attached to all reviews, regardless of products' final review scores. Our parent company, IDG, receives advertisement revenue for shopping activity generated by the links. Because the buttons are attached programmatically, they should not be interpreted as editorial endorsements.

Subscribe to the Best of PCWorld Newsletter