Travel router tips: use Android for Internet, Ethernet crossover cable for file transfers
I have a makeshift travel office setup: Lenovo X220, Dell M6500, Dell 27″ LCD, keyboard, mouse and a couple Optimus V Android phones…
Wifi Hotspot: useful for more than just internet connection sharing!
I’m working for a few weeks away from home with only the equipment above. One of the handiest features has been the Android phones. They have the Wifi hotspot feature enabled. This allows both laptops to connect to the Android phone and share its internet connection. But another bonus feature is that the Android phone’s wifi hotspot also functions as a wireless LAN. I am able to easily RDP (remote desktop) between laptops or transfer files (via SAMBA). It is absurdly simple:
- Turn on the wifi hotspot feature on the phone
- Connect each laptop to the wifi hotspot
- Voila, via DHCP each laptop gets an IP address similar to :
Wireless LAN adapter Wireless Network Connection 2:
Connection-specific DNS Suffix . :
IPv4 Address. . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.43.4
Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.255.0
Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.43.1
This has been working extremely well. The only issue is that on the Optimus V, even when plugged in and charging, the wifi hotspot feature can eventually drain the phone’s battery. Thankfully, with two phones I can simply alternate.
Supplemented with Gigabit Ethernet
But what about large file transfers etc.? Unfortunately, throughput seems to top out around 5mb/s (500kbs actual) when transferring files between laptops via SAMBA (Windows File Sharing). So when I need to do a large file transfer (hundreds of megabytes or gigabytes) I have a single Ethernet cable directly connecting the two laptops and I manually assigned IP address (192.168.1.49 and 192.168.1.50) though you could use anything valid that didn’t conflict with your Wifi IP addresses. The direct Gigabit ethernet connection allows me to transfer files at 700-800mbs (76mbs actual)! Likewise, I can turn all the RDP connection settings (RDC) up to their highest settings (like enabling font smoothing, themes, etc.)
Conclusion: minimal equipment, maximum utility
With very minimal networking equipment (an Android phone and an Ethernet cable) I am able to share internet (via WWAN) and large files (via LAN) between two laptops easily. Of course this can be extended to even more laptops/tablets/iPads etc. wirelessly. To extend the Gigabit Ethernet, however, I would need to add a switch or router…
If you are in a similar situation I hope this information was helpful to you!