How to Share Wi-Fi over USB Tethering Using Android

tether wifi

The other day I was in a rather peculiar situation. I needed to connect my desktop computer to the internet using my phones mobile data to do something urgent but the poor reception I was getting from my carrier was making the USB Tethering an effort in futility.

The poor reception had me throttled down to 2G in area where one should typically get at least some average 3G and 4G connectivity. To compound matters, my sorry excuse of an Android phone (that is, unlike my previous one) had no way of forcing 3G connectivity in the mobile network settings. Instead I got only two options - 4G/3G/2G and 2G - that is to mean, should it have a hard time getting a fix on 3G/4G it will automatically fall back to 2G.

So that got me thinking. I had a Windows Phone lying around doing nothing better other than discharging its battery and like most Windows Phone, this one had very good reception. Even better, Microsoft had in my last update made it possible to force 3G only connectivity. Unfortunately, the Windows Phone platform does not support USB tethering favouring Wi-Fi Hotspot only. This was no good for me as my Desktop has no Wi-Fi adapter. But what if I tethered my Android Phone to a Wi-Fi hotspot created by the Windows phone? Would it possible then to share this hotspot over USB tethering to the desktop?



What I was essentially proposing here is "USB tethering a Hotspot" or even more interesting, to use my Android Phone as a Wi-Fi adapter for my computer. It didn't make much sense to me but then again it didn't hurt to try. As it turned out later, my proposition was not only valid but also, as odd as it may sound, the fastest USB tethering connection I've ever had the pleasure of using. I should however point out that the latter had more to do with the fact that the Windows Phone was getting good 3G reception rather than Android's USB Tethering capabilities.

To accomplish this is quite straightforward and I'm certain some of you have already figured how to going by my lengthy introduction. For those still out of the loop, read on.

What we need

  • Wi-Fi to connect to (a Wi-Fi Hotspot will work too)
  • Android Phone
  • USB Cable for Tethering
  • Computer with Windows (should also work on any Linux Distro that supports USB Tethering)


STEPS

1. First disable your mobile data if it's on. We don't want to tether our mobile data do we?

2. Next, connect your Android phone to an available Wi-Fi network. To do that go to: Settings >> Wi-Fi >> Turn On >> Connect to a Wi-Fi network.
connect wifi
Connect to a Wi-Fi Network

3. After it has connected to a Wi-Fi network, take your USB cable and connect your phone to your computer using it.

4. When you get prompted for a USB mode (Connect as), select USB Tethering.
usb tethering
Select USB Tethering

If this option is not available here check for it in your Android Settings under Mobile Network Settings (Tethering & portable hotspot) and enable it.
tethering settings
Tethering & Hotspot Settings

5. Android should then automatically tether the Wi-Fi connection to your computer.
tethered
Wi-Fi "USB Tethered"


NOTE
  • Some carriers disable tethering (or requires you to pay for it separately) so it may not be available in every phone.
  • This may not work on older Android versions (particularly Gingerbread [2.3] which I've tested). I've only tested this on a device running Android 6.0 (Marshmallow).


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