March 27, 2009

620 words 3 mins read

Tethering my AT&T Tilt to the Eee PC

Car Geekery

As John was behind the wheel this past Saturday, I had many hours to burn; thus, I decided to try my hand at getting tethering working. I was attempting to tether my AT&T Tilt (HTC Kaiser II) with my Eee PC 1000 running Ubuntu Jaunty 9.04. When I was buddy breathing (IE Charging) the Tilt off the Eee PC the night before, I had noticed that it showed up as a wired network connection to the Ubuntu — tinkering ensued. I spent about 2.5 hours google’ing around under PIE (Portable Internet Explorer… sigh) on the Tilt while trying to find an answer. This is especially difficult on a tiny screen; visiting sites not designed for a mobile device; and then of course there’s the cell service dropping periodically.

Anyway, I plugged in the phone and found out that it did indeed act like an Ethernet adapter to the computer, and even provided it an IP address via DHCP (169.something). I could ping the phone, but that was about it. I had remembered previously a “modem” application of some sort on the device so I found it, WModem Modem (Under Start > Settings > Connections) and launched that. Whenever that was enabled, the phone stopped providing network service and Ubuntu picked it up as an iPaq on ttyUSB0. I spent a good long while tinkering around here with the assumption that I could simply dial the phone like any normal modem. I found out that under Jaunty if I right clicked Network Manager and clicked Edit Connections there was a tab titled Mobile Broadband. I added some connections; thankfully, they had pre-made ones for AT&T and AT&T w/ Tethering. That was cool… so easy… but… I couldn’t dial them. I’m not a newb, but I don’t know what the new dialer is called apparently (and many applications are hidden in Netbook Remix, as far as I can tell). I spent a longggg time trying this approach but eventually gave up, being unable to dial the connections.

As I had exhausted all possible google’s that I could think of centering on Ubuntu, I switched to the phone. Then came the magical google ‘internet connection sharing at&t tilt'. As it turns out the HTC Kaiser II comes with an application called “Internet Connection Sharing” (which I had seen mentioned elsewhere), but it is removed by AT&T and replaced with that god awful “WModem Modem”. Luckily for me (and you) the handy hackers at XDA Developers have ripped it out and provided the cab for download!

You can get the application on the XDA Forum (Login Required) or by my local mirror.

It is damn simple to use, and worked like a charm for me. Download the .cab to your device (via computer then ActiveSync, or just PIE it up directly from your device). Install the CAB. Launch Internet Sharing (Start > Programs). Make sure your USB cable is already plugged in. Click “Connect” and enjoy. For me, it kicks out the Phone<->Computer connection momentarily and comes back with the computer assigned to a 192.168 address. At this point the computer is online using the phone as a gateway. Shiny!!! While I didn’t conduct many “benchmarks” other than actually using the connection (offline Gmail is extremely handy for its flaky connection mode), I can say that when I did an apt-get install (while in full 3G coverage in Sacramento) I got a max of 100KB/s download; I was floored. Granted the average was much slower, but 20-50KB/s for a mobile connection is still awesome. It was enough bandwidth to pull up and watch the Caltrans Live Traffic Cameras, which were helpful for our trip, but that is a story for another post.