Android Wi-Fi Tethering – Great But Watch The Battery

In my ongoing exploration of the Android OS I've arrived at Wi-Fi tethering. Quite simple to set-up on Android 2.2 and while I wished the settings would also allow WPA to be used as an encryption algorithm instead of WPA2, I don't think one can really ask for it. Too bad one of my notebooks will only do WPA and is thus not usable with it. But apart from that things work straight out of the box.

Performance is also great with the full speed of the HSPA chip forwarded to the Wi-Fi interface as proven by the 6 MBit/s throughput I got. Impressive! Also, the stability is impeccable. I tried the tethering over two days and the device didn't crash once. Also, on-board apps remain fully usable even while tethering is active and share the same network connection. There's not much more you can ask for.

Two little quirks though in addition to the missing WPA encryption:

  • Power consumption: The battery of my Galaxy S lasts for about 3 hours when a notebook is connected over Wi-Fi and modest web surfing is done in addition to having a continuous ping running (see next bullet point for the reason). One can of course connect the mobile via USB to supply power.
  • Fast dormancy (pre-Release 8) while tethering: The Galaxy S interrupts the RRC connection after 3 seconds of inactivity resulting in long waiting times especially during web browsing on the PC. While fast dormancy is great when only background applications are running on the device itself, it should really be switched off while tethering for performance sake. O.k. you can have a ping running on the tethered device to keep the mechanism from kicking in but that's a bit of a kludge…

Thanks Google, a very worthwhile functionality that will find it's way into my everyday use for special scenarios!

3 thoughts on “Android Wi-Fi Tethering – Great But Watch The Battery”

  1. I’ve started using the tethering option on Verizon’s LTE network with Android here in the US. The speeds and relatively low latency are really impressive. I believe the latency will improve over time as well. I am seeing maybe 10 mbps down and 3 mbps up on average.

    My Android 2.2 does support WPA2 but I found some instability on it.

  2. My HTC Desire Z (Android 2.2) has 128-bit WEP, WPA (TKIP) and WPA2 (AES) as options in the tethering feature.

    The UI surrounding it is heavily HTC-customised, but I would have thought the base functionality would come from the Android OS, rather than being altered by vendors. Interesting.

  3. Hi Christopher,

    That is indeed very interesting. Just had a chat with a friend who has an HTC Desire and he confirmed that also here, WPA can be selected as well. So not as deep down a functionality in all aspects as we thought…


Comments are closed.