Whatever you are paying for tethering, it's too much. PdaNet is a free tethering solution that works great and is completely free. (They also offer a paid version for a one-time cost of $23.95, currently on sale for $15.95, which allows you to access secure sites). pdanet

Specifically, PdaNet is a cross-platform application that allows you to tether your smartphone to your laptop or PC and access the internet, without incurring additional costs.

PdaNet has come to my rescue in a different way. Since I live in a rural area, I am unable to receive a true high-speed connection. Instead I have to rely on a very slow satellite internet provider who shall remain nameless. But by jacking my smartphone into my home PC and turning on PdaNet, I dramatically increase my upload and download speeds.

Better still, when I lose my satellite connection altogether due to snow or rain, I get it back immediately simply by turning on PdaNet and surfing the internet via my cell phone carrier network instead of the clumsy satellite service.

Most folks, however, will find PdaNet an excellent free tether solution to their laptops when they are away from home and no WiFi is available.

pdanet_setupAs mentioned, PdaNet is a cross-platform application, so it will work on Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, PalmOS and Windows Mobile. Click here for the download.

If you are as skeptical as I am about any application that claims to accomplish a meaningful task without hassle, test drive the free version and see what you think.

In order to use PdaNet, the application must be loaded onto both your smartphone and the laptop you intend to use. What's more, you do not need to purchase the paid version for each laptop; only for the smartphone you intend to tether.

For a complete list of PdaNet FAQ, click here.

As for speed, PdaNet fares quite well. While clearly not DSL, it does offer excellent tethering speeds.

According to June Fabrics, maker of PdaNet, "PdaNet can handle at least 35Mbps (35000kbps, currently no data service can even get close to that). It has been optimized to run with zero latency, which means you should expect the exact same download speed on the computer compared to your phone (except for Bluetooth DUN which may have a baud rate limit.)"

Conclusions

As far as utility apps go, PdaNet is most definitely a dime in a handful of nickels. If you decide to try it out, please let us know what you think.