iPhone tethering

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Despite Apple and the assorted carrier’s best attempts to stop people from using the iPhone as a 2G/3G modem by pulling the NetShare App from their online store, it is still possible (and fairly widely documented, if you know where to look). All you need is a Jailbroken iPhone with the BIND (named) DNS server and 3proxy SOCKS proxy server installed.

The process basically goes along the lines of:

  • Create an ad-hoc network from your computer
  • Connect to it with the iPhone
  • Start the DNS and SOCKS proxy servers
  • Point your computer at the iPhone’s IP for DNS and SOCKS proxy
  • voila, very slow internet access on the move.

I’m actually witting this from a train, connected to the interwebs via my 2G iPhone. The combination of 2G and T-Mobile isn’t a good one. 2G/EDGE is slow enough as it is (I’m getting around 56Kbps) but that’s when I get any signal at all. I know the iPhone doesn’t have the best antenna in the world but my signal meter is swinging wildly from full to “no service” which is pretty frustrating (At my house, in the middle of Lincoln – a fairly large city – I struggle to get any singal when stood outside, let alone inside 2′ thick walls!. O2 doesn’t seem to have any problem inside or outside). As is the fact that I’m lucky to get a ping response of under two seconds!
Now, if I can ust convince MSN to actually use the SOCKS proxy…

Aside from being dog slow, there are a few gotchas.

  • It drains your battery REALLY quickly and makes the iPhone get a bit warm
  • Your app has to have support for connecting via a SOCKS proxy (no PPTP or IPSec then – TCP/UDP only)
  • You’ve got to hope that your carrier doesn’t block too many ports. I don’t seem to be able to get on to MSN/Yahoo/AIM despite the traffic being sent through the SOCKS proxy.
  • If you’ve got your iPhone set to lock itself after a set amount of time like I have to protect my e-mail and VPN (not much protection, I know. But good enough to stop your average bloke who might nick it or pick it up if I’ve left it lying around), then it will turn of the Wi-Fi when it does and won’t re-connect until you unlock it again.

All in all, usefull in an emergency but completely pants for day to day. I think it’s time I got off my arse and bought that 3G ExpressCard that I’ve been thinking about!

I’d better shut up now and post this before the iPhone battery dies. I’ve not got enough power in the laptop battery to be able to charge it 🙁


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