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Mighty Jabba

Any way to tether an iBook/PowerBook to a modern iPhone for mobile Internet?

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I'm relatively sure that you can't just using the Personal Hotspot feature because the airport cards aren't compatible with the encryption used, but I was wondering about USB tethering. I've never really done anything with that, but it would be nice to be able to actually access the web while out and about. If that doesn't work, are there any other options like USB-based 802.11g solutions?

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You may be able to use the USB option, it depends on whether or not the system software supports it. I’ve used my modern MacBook Pro and iPhone to do that. It is seamless. Usually it is an option in your Network control panel as “USB” if it is possible. I recall “FireWire” being an option back when on the iBooks.

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What model of iBook and what OS are you running? The newer iBooks with Airport Extreme cards should be able to use WPA2 Personal encryption on their wifi cards. 

 

Mac OS 9 won't USB tether at all. The drivers just aren't there. 10.4.11 or 10.5.8 might, so it could be worth trying, but.

 

The accepted solution I've seen for this has been to use a travel router, ideally a dual band one or one with two radios, to join the iPhone's network (or any other) and then rebroadcast it without security or with very minimal security. You'll want to keep a very close eye on it if you do this because someone might join the second network and use your cell phone's data, which depending on circumstances could cost you  money or performance or battery life or all of the above.

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I wasn't able to get USB tethering to work, but I found a better solution (at least for OS X). Turns out that there is a tiny 802.11N USB dongle called the Edimax EW-7811UN that has drivers going back to OS X Tiger 10.4. This not only allows you to use a modern WiFi router with an older computer that has one of the original Airport cards, but you can also use it to tether to an iPhone. I've tried it on a Key Lime iBook running 10.4.11, and it allows me to both connect to my home WiFi and to my iPhone.

 

I'm really happy to be able to solve both of these issues, and it only cost about $12 on eBay. It would be nice to be able to also use OS 9, but I guess you can't have everything.

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