Figure 10-13. Tethering in Android 2.2

4. Click the box next to either "USB tethering" or "Portable Wi-Fi hotspot."

You can also save a few of these steps by using the QuickTeth app. It's a simple widget that allows you to go directly to step 4.

If you are using your phone as a portable hotspot, you can connect to it as if it were just another Wi-Fi hotspot. However, that means everyone else could connect to your hotspot, too. In the interest of both security and conserving your bandwidth, you'll want to set a password.

To configure your settings, click the Portable Wi-Fi hotspot settings link, and then click "Configure Wi-Fi hotspot." You'll see a screen similar to Figure 10-14.

Figure 10-14. Wi-Fi settings

From here, you can change your SSID (service set identifier)—that is, the name of the hotspot you'll see in your laptop's list of available networks. In standard Android 2.2, you only have two security options: Open and WPA2 PSK. Needless to say, Open is not the secure option. With this option, anyone who sees your network can use it. WPA2 PSK (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2, Pre-Shared Key) is an Internet standard for personal hotspots that lets you password-lock your network. Select this option, and then enter a password. If no one is looking over your shoulder, click the "Show password" option to avoid fat-fingering issues. Click Save when you're done, and then use your laptop to connect as if it were a regular Wi-Fi hotspot.

When your phone is being used as a hotspot, you'll see an icon in the notification bar at the top of the screen to let you know. You can turn off your hotspot by clicking it in the notification bar and then deselecting "Portable Wi-Fi hotspot."

Just because you don't need to plug your phone in with a USB cable to use it as a modem doesn't mean it's not a good idea. Portable hotspots use a lot of battery juice, and plugging in the USB keeps it charged as you go.

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