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Definition

tethering

Tethering is the practice of using a mobile device (such as a smartphone) as a modem to connect another device, such as a laptop or another mobile phone to the Internet. To do so, the phone must have mobile data enabled. 

Tethering is one method of creating a mobile hotspot (an ad hoc wireless access point). The practice is increasingly common for travellers, out-of-office employees and those who want access to an alternative to the corporate network from within the workplace. (See: BYON -- bring your own network.) Tethering may or may not provide affordable connectivity, depending on the user's data plan and contract.

A tether is a long leash. In phone tethering, the leash is either a USB cable or a wireless Bluetooth connection. 

See a video demo of tethering an iPad to an iPhone:

This was last updated in June 2016

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