• ARTICLES
SEARCH

How-To Geek

How to Connect Your Android to Your PC’s Internet Connection Over USB

image

People often “tether” their computers to their smartphones, sending their computer’s network traffic over the device’s cellular data connection. “Reverse tethering” is the opposite – tethering your Android smartphone or tablet to your PC to use your PC’s Internet connection.

This method requires a rooted Android and a Windows PC, but it’s very easy to use. If your computer has Wi-Fi, it may be easier to create a Wi-Fi hotspot using a utility like Connectify instead.

Prerequisites

Before using this utility, you’ll have to enable USB debugging on your Android phone or tablet – open the Settings screen, tap Applications, tap Development, and tap the USB Debugging checkbox.

image

You will probably also want to disable SuperUser access notifications, or you’ll constantly see the SuperUser notification. Launch the SuperUser app on your device, open its menu, tap Preferences, and uncheck the Notifications check box under Notifications. If you don’t see the SuperUser app on your Android, your device probably isn’t rooted.

image

You’ll also need your device’s USB driver installed on your computer. You can get this from your device’s manufacturer or try downloading a generic driver from Google.

Android Reverse Tethering Tool

Android Reverse Tethering is a Windows utility that uses ADB – also known as Android Debug Bridge – to share your computer’s Internet connection with your Android over USB. It includes its own copy of ADB, so you don’t even need the Android SDK installed on your computer. You can download it from here – scroll down and click the latest ReverseTethering .zip file in the Attached Files section.

image

Extract the downloaded .zip file and run the AndroidTool.exe application inside its folder.

image

Connecting

Plug your Android smartphone or tablet into your computer with its USB cable, select it from the Select a device drop-down box, and click the Connect button in the Android Reverse Tethering Tool application. It will connect to your Android and install the required software (Busybox and Redsocks) on it.

image

Tap the Allow button in the SuperUser prompt to allow the USB Tunnel tool on your device.

image

If you encounter a crash, close the Android Reverse Tethering Tool application and start again. You can also try clicking the Kill ADB button on the Tools tab to relaunch the ADB process. You’ll see a connection notification when the tool establishes a connection.

image

Usage

After the setup process is complete, you can open apps on your device and use the Internet. Your Android will forward network traffic over the USB cable to your computer, where it will take advantage of your computer’s Internet connection. The Windows application shows information about the forwarded connections.

image

Some applications may complain that you don’t have an Internet connection, although most (with the notable exception of Google Play app downloads) will work properly. You can work around this problem by connecting to a 3G or Wi-Fi connection before activating reverse tethering – Android will think you have a normal connection, although all data will be send through your USB cable and not over the air.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 06/21/12

Comments (15)

  1. mike

    whats the difference between this and internet-pass through?
    i dont see the point

  2. Bubby4j

    I use a free app called FoxFi (foxfi.com) and it doesn’t require root access and allows wireless tethering. Some carriers may not allow the app and in that case you can download it directly from their website and install it anyways.

    After you connect to it, it may take a minute for the internet to start working, you might have to try doing a ipconfig /renew, but it does work.

  3. Bubby4j

    Whoops, I just misread the post. This is about REVERSE tethering. My bad.
    If you’re using a wired connection you can create a small ad-hoc network and share your internet wirelessly.

  4. Vincent

    Same as Mike,
    Whenever I plug my phone into the computer it gives me the option to tether or use Internet pass-through. Maybe the option is not available in US ? (I am using an HTC Sensations XE bought in Ireland)

  5. Nathan J.

    This is useless if you have WiFi, right? With my router right next to my PC, if I’m close enough to be tethered to the cable, I’m getting perfect WiFi signal.

  6. Stephan

    Auw, I just wanted to email you guys about what I discovered, then I saw the newsletter. :(

  7. Howard

    I am a bit puzzled about why I would want to do this. I do occasionally tether, when there isn’t an internet connection otherwise available, but anytime there is one available to my laptop, it’s also available to my Android devices. Plus, pretty much anytime I want to access the internet, I prefer using my laptop anyway. Especially since maintaining my WordPress sites is a PITA on my tablet, even with a bluetooth keyboard and USB mouse.

    So, can you give me a compelling reason for “reverse” tethering?

  8. Paul Q

    I have a Droid phone and do not have internet access at home.
    Can I use my Droid internet access for my PC with this reverse connection?????

    Thanks

  9. Kumar

    I am trying to do reverse tethering on my atrix phone, since i don’t get cellphone signal at work .I am planning to use my work laptop which is in a docking station(wifi doesn’t work). Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

  10. bemental

    Easy answer to all the naysaying “why would I” crowd is that you’re located someplace where it is too expensive (or just plain unfeisable) to get Internet on your phone.

    I realize a lot of apps are mere replacements for tools we have available on our laptops or desktops, but there are numerous situations (too many to count, really) where I’d rather reach for my iDevice then go for a PC.

    General example would be sharing a paid Internet connection (on an airplane, in an Internet cafe, etc).
    Specific example I’ve encountered was on a military deployment overseas where we logistically couldn’t have our personal laptops, but occasionally had access to the Interwebs, and to reverse tether our phones or tablets would have been a godsend.

  11. ali

    hi man
    thank you every thing
    you did a valuable work
    phone net has blood price in my country (50kb)
    i can use pc net (512) on my phone now
    i teach it in persian site for my people
    they waiting for a way like this too long time
    ==============
    i have a question my browser just use it
    how do i use for another soft?
    thank you man

  12. Bakrain

    It is amazing feature,…why ROM developers doesn;t integrate this feature to their ROMs….third world countries people need to this very much…because ADSL connection has low price compared to wifi.and 3G,4G are not available at all.
    we need best solution for google market downloads to work with reverse tethering.

  13. gregec

    woooooooooow

    it wooooorks, finaly :D like,like,like

  14. kev breezy

    mmmmmmh!!!!sounds promising,,ima try it awwt####111##pap!

  15. Ankush

    Great! The speed is also awesome, Thank you very much and you may want to open the download link through Mozilla or IE

Get Free Articles in Your Inbox!

Join 134,000 newsletter readers

Email:

Go check your email!