How to Tether a Cell Phone

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

Just as we're all becoming closer connected through technology, our technological devices are becoming connected to one another. A current trend in electronics is tethering cell phones -- connecting your laptop to your cell phone so that it acts as a wireless modem. If you're out and you have an urgent task to do on your laptop but you can't find a wireless connection, you can connect your smart phone to your computer and benefit from the phone's 3 gigabyte or 4 gigabyte connection [source: Raphael]. With a few simple connections, you will be surfing your phone's web connection on your computer screen. Read the steps listed below and learn about how to tether an AT&T cell phone to your PC.

What You Need:

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  • AT&T handset with Data Connect service plan
  • Laptop
  • USB or serial cable

Certain cell phones, such as Blackberry, will require that you pair the computer and the phone to one another before you are able to tether them. Refer to your cell phone manual in order to learn how to pair the devices.

Here's how to tether your cell phone to your computer:

  1. Download and install AT&T's Communication Manager software onto your laptop. It's available on their Web site free of charge.
  2. Start the Communication Manager on your computer desktop.
  3. Connect your cell phone to your computer using a USB or serial cable. This connection should have been supplied with the purchase of your cell phone. If you don't have one, you can purchase a USB cable at a cell phone or electronics store.
  4. Click on the Connect button in the Connection Manager software. This will activate the cell phone to work as a modem that connects to the AT&T wireless data network [source: AT&T].

If your cell phone won't provide your computer with wireless Internet access, it may be that your phone isn't capable of tethering. It also may be that your data plan doesn't include a "plus tethering" premium. Contact an AT&T representative to find out what the problem is [source: Lendino].

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