I've been over in Dublin today at a customer event on Exchange and Unified Communications.  (straight back again this afternoon so not a chance to sample the wonderful Guinness).

Sat in the Costa Coffee in Heathrow at silly o'clock this morning I looked around watching people with their laptops scrambling to find their credit cards to login to the WiFi network. 

I too used to be of that order however since Windows Mobile 5.0 AKU 3 and Windows Mobile 6 I've been using the Windows Mobile feature Internet Sharing.

So what is Internet Sharing....?

Well it allows you to utilise your Windows Mobile device as a data modem.  Hardly revolutionary ... but what is cool is that if you have Activesync 4.2 or greater or Windows Vista you don't need to install any drivers or do any PC configuration to get it to work. 

You simply plug the device in and it will automatically connect yto our default APN and use the device as your laptop modem.   It replaces the old modem link application.

It will work over both USB and Bluetooth.

Requirements

To use this you need two things:

1) A PC using Vista or Windows XP with Activesync 4.2 or greater (preferably with XP SP2)

2) A Windows Mobile 5.0 AKU 3.0 (or greater) or a Windows Mobile 6 device.

USB Setup

If you want to use this via USB (which also has the added benefit of charging your device at the same time) you simply have to do the following:

1. Find the Internet Sharing application and run it. 


2. In the PC Connection list, select USB.

3. In the Network Connection list, select the name of connection that your device uses to connect to the Internet.


4. Press Connect

5. Plug in the USB cable between your device and the computer.

You will then see the device stating 'Connected' and in a few seconds your PC will be connected to the Internet. 

Bluetooth Setup

You can also use Internet Sharing over Bluetooth. 

1. FIrst pair your device with your laptop and create a partnership.

2. Then run the Internet Sharing program on your device.

3. Select Bluetooth PAN as the PC Connection.
4. From the Network Connection list, select the name of the connection that your device uses to connect to the Internet.
5. Press Connect.


6. On your computer, set up a Bluetooth Personal Area Network (PAN) with your device.
a. Click Start > Control Panel > Network Connections.
b. Under Personal Area Network, click the Bluetooth Network Connection icon.
c. Under Network Tasks, click View Bluetooth network devices.
d. In the Bluetooth Personal Area Network Devices dialog box, select your device, then click Connect.

 

This is such an easy way of getting Internet access from your laptop and removes the need to carry a data card or have another SIM in your laptop for data access.

Setting it up the old fashioned way meant creating dialup connections and connection strings like *99# for the default APN which most non-techies couldn't ever manage....