Using Your Tablet with No WiFi Internet Available

Discussion in 'Android Tablet Usage, Tips & Tricks' started by leeshor, Jun 18, 2012.

  1. leeshor
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    leeshor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Because I have seen quite a few posts about using 3G dongles and accessing the Internet when no WiFi is available I thought I'd put something together in one place, that may help.

    A few 3G modems reported from various location that are supposed to work
    * Vodafone K3765-H
    * Vodafone K3715
    * Vodafone K3565 / Huawei E160
    * Huawei E173
    * Huawei E1550
    * Huawei E1692
    * Huawei E1820
    * Huawei K3520
    * Huawei E1752

    Many of these will work with PPP Widget from the Google Store

    Also you can find a list of Android 3G modems on this China site that may at least provide some names or model numbers. Usb 3g Dongle Support Android,Buy Quality Usb 3g Dongle Support Android from Manufacturers and Suppliers on Alibaba.com

    Here is a forum sponsor with some 3G WiFi routers W2COMP Trading Company - W2COMP.com
    Please read to full descriptions. Standard disclaimers apply here. ;)
    I can't verify any of these

    First, the issues with a 3G dongle. (modem)

    Android, as yet, has very little support for plugging a 3G dongle into a USB port, (assuming you have a USB port) due to a lack of drivers. Those drivers are frequently specific to the carrier the dongle was obtained from. But there are a few that do work with many Android tablets. Here is a list of a few that work and how to enable them.

    How to setup your 3G modem

    Note 1, Not all Android versions have those options nor do all Android tablets.
    Note 2, for that to work it specifically addresses Android v 4.0

    If you don't have access to those specific 3G modems or you don't have a USB port you can use a portable router that supports a wide range of 3G modems. Here is a list of broadband (mostly 3G) modems supported by Zoom Telephonics' portable router(s).

    Here is a possible solution that requires root access.
    The app is called PPP Widget and will be found under widgets, not apps.

    1. Connect your dongle to your tablet.
    2. If it is not automatically recoginzed by the Widget, you will be required to configure it.
    3. Click on the configure button
    4. Add the username/password and the dialing number. You can google it to find the values required for your dongle.
    5. Click on Connect button and there you go..!!
    6. Message in the widget status bar will change to Connected.

    PS: This widget sometimes asks you to disable wifi first, even though you are not connected. You can either enable and then disable it or you can wait for some time (2-3 mins) before connecting again. This app is in its initial stage and the developer constantly asks for updates to refine and make it better.

    Requirements:

    - Needs root access
    - Needs USB host
    - Needs a powered USB hub (unless your device has plenty of power)
    - Some devices (e.g. Samsung) need additional kernel drivers
    - Android 4.2 may take away full network awareness
    - Contains native tools for ARM and X86

    Warning: there is no guarantee that every Android/modem combo will work. Don't blame me!
    !! If your combination does not work, help with improvement !! Don't just complain in a short comment.


    Zoom Telephonics - Mobile Broadband Modem and Smartphone Compatibility Information

    No 3G modem?

    So, let's say you don't want to invest in a 3G modem due to the contract cost. There are several portable routers that will allow your WiFi enabled tablet to connect to a wired network. One of those is a TP-LINK TL-WR702N N Nano Router. Another is an ASUS WL-330N3G Mobile Wireless Router. Both of these can also act as a WiFi extender or a WiFi bridge, but can be configured as a WiFi to wired network device, (using a computer for the initial configuration). The ASUS device also has limited support for some 3G modems. This is a short list as there are many portable routers that will do the same. The TP-LINK is particularly inexpensive.

    Another option is what is commonly called a MiFi device. This is a cellular modem, (about the size of a deck of cards or smaller), typically purchased from a cell phone provider that communicates with your tablet via WiFi. (no ports required). The drawback is that it also typically carries a fairly steep monthly contact cost. However there are some benefits. You can typically connect as many as 5 devices at a time. Since you could use it for your tablet, (1 or more) and a laptop and even your phone, and it works even when you have lost your Internet connection due to mechanical failure in the provider's system, it makes a great emergency backup. This would also work on any WiFi equipped desktop assuming you have a good cellular signal.

    Because the MiFi devices is so flexible it's like having a cellular connection with only one contract for multiple devices. I won a Verizon model MiFi and it enabled me to use minimum required data plans for my smart phones, so it is saving me some moey there that offsets the cost of the MiFi plan.

    Anyone with other suggestions is welcome to chime in.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2012
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  2. pbrauer
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    pbrauer Administrator Staff Member

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    You may be able to use your phone as a WiFi hotspot as well, either via your Carrier's service like VZW or Sprint, or if you have rooted your phone you could do it with a free app such as WiFi Tether. This takes a little setup but works very well.
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  3. EjBlack
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    EjBlack Junior Member

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    I carry around an old Linksys WRT54G (B/G) router flashed with a program called DD-WRT in my laptop bag.
    Whenever I travel and the WiFi signal is weak (most cases in hotels and public hotspots), this router can be set up as a repeater, bridge, or regular router behind a modem, or another router, hidden with its own subnet and firewall for added security.

    They are all over Ebay with and without the DD-WRT installed.

    I primarily use my WRT54G as a range repeater linked to my main router/wireless modem to pass the signal to the computer room and share media and internet with the whole house server and my laptop. Works great.

    Makes an excellent strong signal. I can repeat any B/G signal. With a 12v power requirement, I also set it up in the car when I travel and can repeat signals as I go.

    Note: Look out for the Versions 1-4, they have the most flash memory and the easiest to flash and configure.

    FYI,

    Ej
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2012
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  4. leprof001
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    leprof001 Junior Member

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    Hi
    I have problems connecting my device to internet and calling with it.
    It say : ERROR OF CONNECTION OR INVALID MMI CODE
    Can you help me
    Thank you
  5. leeshor
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    leeshor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It sounds as if you were making a phone call, or trying anyway. That tablet is not a phone despite the 3G capabilities from what I can see of the specs.
  6. Natey2
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    Natey2 Junior Member

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    I have made and received phone calls from my WiFi-only tablet, with Google Voice + GrooVe IP app + WiFi.
    You get a normal phone number via Google Voice.
  7. leeshor
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    leeshor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Vey true but that's using 3rd party software that would not be necessary if it was really a phone.
  8. Natey2
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    Natey2 Junior Member

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    Yes, it's certainly no replacement for a real phone, but for frequent calls from an area (like home) that has WiFi, it's basically unlimited calling at no additional cost.
    Even Skype charges for this kind of feature.
  9. Hovi
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    Hovi Junior Member

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    Please, how do i get to use nearest Wifi internet available? Cost of Wifi router here is outrageous. I used to use Hiren BootCD on my Windows laptop but this is not availabe for Android yet. (Galaxy Tab2). Thanks.
  10. leeshor
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    leeshor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    There are a few apps on the Google Store site that will help, like WiFinder but if you go to settings - WiFi it should display what's available along with the security status, (locked/restricted or not).
  11. spnnr26
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    spnnr26 Junior Member

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    @Leeshor, good to find you here!!

    I was using wifi at a home I was living at and it was secure but now staying in hotels with no security on the wifi-big surprise!

    What would you suggest as a portable wifi gadget that is secure? Can't tether my phone (Verizon nailed me for trying). I prefer something portable since I will never have a permanenet home so will need something I can pay for monthly/yearly and use wherever I happen to be living.

    Mifi sounds good but I don't understand how it works and do NOT trust a sales person from a carrier without doing research first.

    Any feedback would be SUPER!!

    FYI, considering an iphone 5 but I'm pretty sure tethering is not an option :)

    Many Thanks!!!!
  12. leeshor
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    leeshor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    2 routers are listed in the original post, one is an ASUS the other TP-Link, (there are plenty of other models that will work), that can work as a repeater or WiFi to Ethernet, both would be secure as various security methods are a part of the router firmware.

    The MiFi hotspot is safe. It really is more or less the same as a 3G dongle without the USB. The hotspot communicates over the cellular network and you communicate with it over your WiFi rather than having to plug it in.
  13. JamesP
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    JamesP Junior Member

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    As someone who has to support Android consumer electronics I cannot endorse the selection of a MiFi device enough. The ease of use plus the comparable $$ output makes the MiFi device a no-brainer where they are offered and they are fairly secure; certainly for my AT&T Elevate security isn't an issue. I understand people may have to go with a USB modem for XYZ reasons, but I recommend a MiFi/Hotspot device if that is an option.
  14. jorpei
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    jorpei Junior Member

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    Please, help me (sorry about my english i'm writin from Argentina)
    I want to know how can i get root access on my Lenovo A2109 IdeaPad tablet for using de PPP Widget to reach 3G Internet pen modem access?
    I have Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
    Thanks
  15. leeshor
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    leeshor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome to the forum

    There may also be an issue with finding a 3G modem that will work, but I'm moving your post to the Lenovo section where more people with your tablet can see it.

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