A Nokia N80 as WLAN Access Point – A Double Blow for Mobile Operators?

Every now and then I go and check which search phrases lead people to my site. Today I stumbled over "Nokia N80 as WLAN access point". Google was nice enough to lead the searcher to an earlier post of mine about the N80 WLAN and SIP capabilities. The person looking for this was probably a bit disappointed as the blog entry did not touch this particular idea. But it looks like nobody else has had it so far, either. I think it’s a pretty cool concept. When traveling in a group, your Nokia N80, E60 or other N- or E-Series phone put in the middle of the table could give Internet access for the notebooks of all people traveling with you.

Linksys has dome something similar with their WRT54G3G Wifi router which has a slot for a 3G card. In the office or at home, the access point serves all local wlan subscribers and offers Internet access via the 3G card. However, it needs a power socket and is bulky, so not the ideal device to set up an instant hotspot for a mobile work group. This is clearly something an N80 or similar device could bring into the game. So come on Nokia, how about putting some Access Point capabilities in your phones?

Opportunity or double blow for mobile operators? Some people will argue that operators might not have been happy in the first place about Nokia putting Wireless LAN capabilities into their phones. They might see this as a way to drive usage and thus revenue out of their networks. Putting access point capabilities into a phone on the other hand drives usage back into the network, but not necessarily additional revenue. But let’s look at it from a different point of view: Many people do not use 3G so far for various reasons. Now just imagine what would happen if you invite your co-workers to use your "3G-Wifi Access point" while they travel with you. Sure, they’d happily accept and see how convenient it is not to have to search for the next wifi hotspot but to have Internet access right when and where you need it. Next time they travel on their own, they might want a 3G card, a 3G phone or a "3G-Wifi Access point" with a subscription of their own. An ideal 3G marketing tool?

Update: Still no S60 solution for this but the story continues here.

17 thoughts on “A Nokia N80 as WLAN Access Point – A Double Blow for Mobile Operators?”

  1. Interesting idea. I wonder could this work in practice… At least the battery life could cause challenges (you know, the simultaneous usage of 3G and WiFi could be power-hungry). But still, I find this worth trying. Anyone, anyone? 🙂

  2. Nokia would need to add Wireless Infrastructure support, routing, NAT, proxy DNS services… and then there’s the power consumption and battery life issue. Is Nokia willing to be that disruptive?

  3. Hello Miguel,
    when compared to the other functionality already in the phone, adding the capabilities required for acting as WLAN access point does not sound like an insurmountable task to me. AS to the “disruptive” part, that is anyone’s guess.

  4. Hello

    I’ve just obtained a N80 on the three network and i’ve spotted that the phone has Wi-Fi capabilities. I’ve also read on the blog that there could be a way of using skype via the N80. Is it possible, and if it is, how do you go about setting it up? Thanks

  5. I’d sign up tomorrow.

    I’m curious to understand whether the additional functionality needed requires hardware support, or could be developed in software (or as a hack)?

  6. Can the N80 be used any more easily as a 1-to-1 (peer to peer) modem using wifi for the connection?

    I want a mobile phone I can use as a modem for my PDA. Getting PDA phone drivers to connect over Bluetooth for the latest phones to connect with last year’s PDA is often very difficult.

    So I’m imagining that a Wifi-based link would not need any specific drivers on the PDA or PC that was using the modem, so it would be much more flexible. And let me switch between my PDA and laptop on the same data plan.

  7. Hi there I hope you don’t mind this message but I Have the nokia N80 wich is fantastic and reading your post I was wondering is there anyway to get the N80 to connect to a Bluetooth Network instead of just being uesd as a Bluetooth Moden !?


  8. Hello Robert,

    thanks for leaving a comment. I guess your question is whether the N80 can establish a connection to the Internet via a Bluetooth network. I haven’t tried myself but I don’t think that it is supported.

    Anyone else?

    Best regards,

  9. Connecting to the 3G intarweb over bluetooth is certainly possible, by using the magic dial codes such as *99***2# (where 2 is supposed to refer to the connection “number’)

    Of course getting the Bluetooth connection up and running is everything but simple, even on OS X..

  10. Wow. I was wondering if anyone else had any thoughts on this subject. I guess so. I am one of those poor souls that is desperately waiting for the N95’s release. My idea is to have my N95 mounted on the dash of my car, with my PSP mounted next to it connected via wifi streaming video from a location free player so I can watch my divx collection or satellite in my car on the Sony PSP. Any chance this is going to be do-able? I don’t understand the claims that a hotspot N95 wouldn’t have practical applications. As Martin mentioned, if you’re out and about with others you can set up the N95 as a hotspot and everyone has Internet connection on laptops or PDAs- my idea even furthers practical usage- only isn’t so disruptive as it only pertains to me using my unlimited Internet connection from my cell provider to another device of my own. I’d just be streaming my home media to the N95 on a smaller screen if I can’t connect my PSP to an N95 hotspot. So Cingular wouldn’t lose anything- I would just have a bigger screen to watch tv on in my car.

    So what are the chances that a PSP could connect to the N95’s Internet connection via wifi?

  11. One way to do this now would be to hook up an XP machine to the phone using bluetooth and then use ICS (Internet Connection Sharing) on the XP machine to share the internet connection with the other machines in the peer to peer wi-fi network. This solution isn’t particular to the N80 and I’ve never actually done it but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work.

  12. Bluetooth is too slow for HSDPA. I want to connect using Wi-Fi to get better speeds out of the HSDPA connection. It goes much faster over USB and I could get these same great speeds if I could connect my laptop to HSDPA over WiFi instead.

  13. i was wondering if its possible to Access the Wifi on the N95 via a PC, using a data cable.

    If thats possible people could using laptops or desktop PC’s without wifi capabilities to surf the net, using the wifi on the N95.

    Please post a comment if its possible.

  14. Now smartphone support WiFi, and is easy to install new program. Can we develop WLAN-AP software, so smartphone can act as WLAN acess point like N80? Or it depends on chipset and low level driver, so infeasible?

  15. I have just started to use this exact concept on Windows Mobile
    It is basically a hack of the “internet Connection sharing” app that is already built into WM6 devices , routing the USB option over Wifi (this works over BT too as standard and is very useful! )
    My motivation for this was that I want an iphone – I already have a Touch , but I am not looking forward to browsing at 2.5g speeds – the Touch Does not support Bluetooth , but DOES support WIFI – in fact the Touch and the iPhone appear to offer WiFi as the main means of connection
    Fortunately , I always carry two devices anyway – so it is no big deal to be carrying the WM6 device – which acts as my own Wifi access point for the touch (and hopefully the Iphone ! )
    This will give me HSDPA browsing on the iPhone – which will be great
    The whole thing works amazingly – I am sure if someone knowledgable enough was to spend time trying to do the same thing on S60 it would be possible – I certainly hope so as I have just got an e90 , and would like to use that as an Access point too
    TITLE: Bluetooth Phone
    URL: http://www.jarviss.info/cell-phone-antenna-stub-for-motorola-v22xx2397/buy-phone/bluetooth-phone/
    BLOG NAME: Bluetooth Phone
    DATE: 02/05/2007 10:30:37 AM
    Two-line operation; 2.4GHz Digital Spread Hi, I am new in the field of Windows The
    TITLE: Using S60 device as shared WLAN access point
    URL: http://blogs.s60.com/tommi/2006/08/using_s60_device_as_shared_wla.html
    BLOG NAME: Tommi’s S60 applications blog
    DATE: 08/02/2006 01:38:46 PM
    Martin has an interesting idea: “When traveling in a group, your Nokia N80, E60 or other N- or E-Series phone put in the middle of the table could give Internet access for the notebooks of all people traveling with you.”…

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