I was just reading an advertorial piece in the New York Times about the forthcoming Novatel MiFi 2200 from Verizon. The device small, the size of a fat credit card, and it uses Verizon’s cellular network to connect to the Internet and create a personal, password-protected WiFi cloud of connectivity around you. Of course, the device will cost you an additional $40-60 per month to use above and beyond what you may already be paying for cellular voice/data access.
This reminded me of conversations I had with one of my nerdiest friends a few years ago when we both got iphones, jailbroke them, installed openSSH, and marveled at the possibility of using an iphone in just the same manner as the MiFi device so lovingly described in the NY Times article. The difference is that you wouldn’t need to carry any additional devices, and a hacked iphone would let you do this all for “free,” (assuming you already have an unlimited data plan for the phone). Of course, people far nerdier than we were already busy making this concept real. A quick google search reveals that at least one such product exists now; it’s called PDAnet.
To get PDAnet to work on your phone (it works on Windows Mobile and PalmOS platforms, too), you have to jailbreak it and install Cydia. If you don’t know about jailbreaking your iphone and want to do it yourself… start by reading the iPhone Dev-Team blog, and then start googling like mad. Always read any DIY instructions you find very carefully and at least twice all the way through before actually trying them out.
Don’t Fuck It Up.
If you do it wrong, you could end up “bricking” your iphone (“bricking” happens when you screw up the phone so bad that it’s no more useful than a brick).
You can also just search craigslist and pay someone about $100 to do it for you.