In this article I would like to provide a short overview of Internet Sharing on Windows Phone, one of the area’s in which Microsoft pioneered new functionality for smartphones.
It reminds me of an article of international friend Arne Hess, MVP Mobile Devices and Editor in Chief of the::unwired, “How Windows Mobile, Internet Sharing and UMTS saved me time” in which he states:
“Okay, I admit that I was quite “frustrated” and “irritated” when Microsoft replaced the dial-up modem functionality on Windows Mobile 5.0 AKU2 with Internet Sharing.”
In case you forgot the specific timeframe, Jaap van Ekris, MVP Mobile Devices, has published an overview of Windows Mobile OS versions and updates in time on the modernnomads website. The term Internet Sharing was introduced in 2005, but its predecessor dail-up modem goes further back in time.
Two options of Internet Sharing on Windows Phone: USB cable and Bluetooth
In the screenshot above you can see the Internet Sharing program shortcuts in the Windows Mobile 6.5 start menu on the HTC HD2. In the right screenshot you can see the simple and robuust user interface of the Internet Sharing application on Windows Phone, that just consists of two pull down menu’s.
You can select: (A) PC Connection, and (B) Network Connection, while furthermore the Internet Sharing status is shown in the top of the screen. As you can see in the screenshots above there are two ways of sharing the cellular data connection with your Windows powered notebook: (1) via USB cable, and (2) via Bluetooth Personal Area Network (PAN).
Jason Dunn, MVP Mobile Devices, Zune MVP and editor in chief of ThoughtsMedia has written an excellent tutorial that is published on Windows Phone Insider: “Using your Windows Mobile phone for laptop Internet access“. Both the PC Connection options are well described in the article, so I won’t be reproducing these steps for you here !
Finally you can quickly access and change both your connection-settings and bluetooth-settings via the right softkey.
Final thoughts and wrap-up
Internet Sharing has been a great feature in the Windows Mobile OS since 2005, and it still is part of the latest Windows Mobile 6.5.3 release. The HTC HD Mini featured the Internet Sharing application in addition to the Wi-Fi Router application developed by HTC.
Despite that there are other options to connect your Windows powered notebook to the cellular data network, for example an Option GlobeTrotter GT MAX HSUPA PCMCIA modem card, there are always situations where you can fall back on the Internet Sharing capability of a Windows Phone.
Internet Sharing is available both on Windows Mobile Professional (touchscreen) and Windows Mobile Standard (non-touch-screen) devices. While Windows Phone 7 breaks the compatibility with the current Windows Mobile 6.x ecosystem, I really do hope that we can see the next itteration of the Internet Sharing feature in some way on Windows Phone 7.
I consider it as a simple robust tool that helps me in particular situations, just like for example MoDaCo NoData that helps me to avoid an excessive cellular data bill when I travel !