Tether has taken the task of connecting your Blackberry and laptop to a whole new level of simplicity. Tether consists of two pieces of software: a) a small utility that installs on your BlackBerry device via over-the-air (OTA) link using the browser, and b) a PC/laptop software component that you download after purchasing the product at the Tether site.
Use and Testing
went flawlessly on the Bold 9700 running OS v5.0. We tested Tether
using a BIS connection only. Our test laptops were a Dell Vostro 1400
running Windows 7 Pro 64 bit and the latest Blackberry Desktop Manager
v5.0.1. We also tethered the Curve 8520 running OS4.6 to an Acer Aspire
Netbook running Windows with SP3.
most cell carriers want to charge you a fee for tethering a PC to your
BlackBerry. In most cases you have to install some sort of utility
software from your wireless provider on your PC. The utility is used to
track your tethered usage. Cost varies widely from carrier to carrier,
and some offer package pricing and flat fees ranging between $15-$30
extra per month on top of all your other voice and data
subscriptions. Some carriers will add a per-megabyte tethered usage
charge of as much as $9/MB (and more in many cases). So if you tether,
for example, 1MB a day for 30 days (checking email and web browsing
while on the road) you'll find a whopping $270 worth of tethered usage charges on
your cell phone bill in addition to your monthly voice and data
subscriptions. Justifications for such outrageous tethered usage rates
charged by the competing carriers remain opaque and difficult to
understand. We've asked, repeatedly, for some sort of rational
explanation for such exorbitant fees but never received a coherent
answer. The carriers are free to charge whatever they want, so they do.
The Tether developers win hands down
because they have basically been able to figure out how to tether your
BlackBerry and laptop to use the data portion of your subscription and
avoid those extra tethered usage charges. Be aware that those who have
capped data plans must still keep track of the amount of data used
during connected sessions. The Tether desktop application does this for
you per session. Break through the limit and you'll pay heavy rates no
matter how you're connected or tethered. For anyone who regularly needs online access
while traveling (with or without a BlackBerry or Tether), one of the
many so-called unlimited data plans is strongly recommended. Be warned though that even
unlimited data plans have monthly caps in many cases, so try to avoid
streaming video from YouTube and TV shows from Hulu or you'll find out very quickly that your unlimited data plan actually has some very real limits.
is great for those who travel and have difficulty finding a free hotspot, but who
still need to connect. With Tether, as long as your BlackBerry can find
cellular coverage, you've got your data connection too. Your connection
speeds will be determined by how strong your cell signal is and the
type of coverage you are in, e.g., 3.5+G, 3G, Edge, 1X, 1XEV. Overall
we had download speeds that were more than adequate to check e-mail or
surf the web. Compare data connection and usage costs with the same connectivity using Tether and the excellent value becomes readily apparent.
Cons: No Android support yet although Tether is working on it. We
have also heard that there are some compatibility issues with some
Blackberry models and RIM operating system versions out in the wild.
All we can say is that this software product is already quite solid and
can only get better. With time, and as it continues to mature, all
the kinks should be ironed out. Our usage during the review period was trouble free.
Pros: 7 day trial version available.
Ease of use and quick setup. Decent connection speeds, primarily
limited only by your carrier's network speed. Great first release of
this software. As Tether matures, additional features will be added (so
say the developers). Excellent technical support and busy user support
forums provide lots of help and advice. Thirty day money back policy if
you're not satisfied. If you need mobile access on your laptop and you normally have trouble finding free hotspots or wired connections, Tether may turn out to
be the godsend among all your BlackBerry utilities. Highly recommended.
Note: Some wireless carriers will care about your use of Tether, some
won't. Some wireless data service plans actually specify that
third-party data service access software is strictly prohibited. We're
not particularly concerned, but we're still obligated to advise that
you check with your wireless carrier before installing and using