Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Working Around AT&T's "Help"

I own an AT&T Tilt smartphone. I use it for all sorts of things, including voice calls, web browsing and email, and it's very rare that I leave home without it. But one thing that I have not used it for before today was connecting to the Internet from my laptop. Earlier this month I upgraded my AT&T plan to include "tethering" to allow me to do just this. I spent half an hour or so on the phone with a very helpful young lady at AT&T tech support who walked me through what I would need to do to set up and use tethering, including this and this. Life was good.

Except for the fact that it didn't work.

Following AT&T's "help" allowed me to connect my laptop to my phone, but not actually to the Internet. And today, since I'm preparing to be at the Rochester Microsoft offices for tonight's WDUNY meeting, I figured the time was right to figure out what was going on. I was getting ready to call AT&T support again to see what they had to say when I realized that this might not be the best approach. So instead I fired up my favorite search engine and found this and this. And by following the instructions on the second page, I was up and running - connected to the Internet from my laptop via my phone, and connected to my VPN from there, and talking on the phone at the same time - within 10 minutes.

Thank goodness for the Internet. But why did it need to be this hard? Why is the "official" solution obtuse and backward and (to top it all off) non-functional?

I don't have an answer, but with a little luck the next time someone is trying to tether his Tilt, he'll have one more resource to help him get going. And hopefully this solution will keep working, since I'm going to be on the road a lot over the next three or four weeks...

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