My scenario: (skip-able background)
The cost of mobile data has really come down in the last 2 years, but unfortunately, the networks do not make these affordable data packages available to voice SIM-cards.
I recently upgraded to my first "smart-phone", the Samsung Galaxy S2 and it took me about 30 seconds to realize that my 100MB monthly data (from Cell C's straight-up 100) is not going to cut it. Using an Android device without data is like drinking warm, flat beer. But getting enough data for a single month, even for moderate use, would imply buying at least 500MB of data-bundles.
I already pay R150 p/m for my 2GB data contract, why would I pay another R150 p/m for a 500MB data-bundle? Some people might, but I won't, there must be another way (other than swapping SIM's all the time).
If you have a Windows 7 laptop with a compatible wireless card you can create a Virtual Wireless Hotspot.
(This is a hidden feature within Windows 7 called Virtual WiFi)
The best part is, this is not an ad-hoc network, and multiple devices can connect!. Android, by default does not support connecting to ad-hoc networks without rooting and hacking, so you basically need an AP (Access Point).
To achieve this, follow these easy steps:
1. First of all, you need Windows 7, nothing prior to Windows has this feature (including Vista).
2. Update your wireless card's drivers. (If the steps below fails, then try updating your firmware as well).
3. Open a command line with admin privileges and run the following command:
netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=MyHotspot key=MyPassword
(Replace MyHotspot and MyPassword with your own values!)
4. Now start the adapter by running this command:
netsh wlan start hostednetwork
You will notice that you have a new Wireless adapter in your Network and Sharing Center called "Microsoft Virtual WiFi Miniport Adapter"
5. Now simply enable your 3G interface's Internet Connection Sharing (ICS):
* Locate your 3G interface in your Network and Sharing Center
* Right-click on it and select "Properties"
* Click on the "Sharing" tab
* Check the top box called "Allow other network users to connect through this computer's Internet connection"
* In the "Home networking connection:" drop-down box, select your newly created Wireless Interface.
* Click OK.
6. Connect your PC's 3G.
Viola! You are now running a wireless Hotspot from your PC and you'll be able to connect with multiple devices simultaneously (including Android), who will in turn have internet connectivity via your 3G Dongle in your PC.
This solution is ideal for those of us who don't have great network infrastructure at home/work (e.g. ADSL & WiFi, etc.)
There is a software solution that automates all of these steps, but it's not free, it's called Connectify ( http://www.connectify.me/ ). I bought the pro version but after an entire day of struggling I still couldn't get it to work. My 3G internet simply died whenever I installed it.
Enjoy your new Hotspot!!