What happen when your home Internet is down and won’t be available for a while?

Internet has become part of our daily life. Many of our activities involve Internet access. From gaming, online shopping, banking, searching for information and etc. Simply put, it’s really inconvenience and tough when home Internet is not available.

I once had a power outage for several days because of a winter storm. Of course there were no Internet during power outage. The trouble was, there were still no Internet access after power was restored. And it would take ISP provider a week to have their technician came and restore the Internet. Those were the time when you realize how connected we are to the Internet. Without Internet, it has become a huge inconvenience and disrupting our daily routines.

Tethering mobile phone to home network

If you have unlimited data plan and strong signal with your mobile phone, it probably would be a great backup Internet connection for your home. What you need is a router that supports tethering mobile phone. With proper settings, your home network can then connect to this router instead of the ISP router and boom, your home network now has Internet access again.

For some, wireless Internet (using a hotspot wireless device from wireless carrier) may even be a viable option to serve as your primary home Internet connection. It all depends on the availability, pricing, signal strength and stability at your area.

The router I used is ASUS WiFi Router RT-AC3200. It’s a solid router that serves me well mostly as a wireless access point for a couple years. And when needed, paired with my mobile phone to serves as a secondary Internet connection.

There are 2 ways to setup this router to provide Internet connection: usb tethering using router mode or hotspot connection using repeater mode.

Quick note: Wireless carriers may have restrictions on what protocols are allowed. Some services, especially those that require port forwarding may not be working properly.

Preparation

You would need the latest firmware to have a stable connection and repeater mode method is only available with the latest firmware. Please update your ASUS router to latest firmware first, if needed, before proceeding.

We need a computer to connect to the ASUS router to configure the router. The default IP address of the router is 192.168.1.1. If the IP address is different, login to the router, and manually set the IP address back to 192.168.1.1.

Next is to set computer’s IP address manually to 192.168.1.100 so that they can communicate to each other.

  1. In windows 10, go to Windows Settings > Network & Internet > Change adapter options
  2. right click on the Ethernet adapter, then Properties
  3. select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click on Properties
  4. Set the static IP address as follow and the click OK.

Optionally, you can use the command ipconfig at a command prompt to verify that the network adapter is assigned the IP address 192.168.1.100 correctly. We can switch back to ‘Obtain an IP address automatically’ once the setup of the switch part is complete.

Both the router & the computer should be isolated from your home network now. Disconnect them from home network. Then connect the computer directly to this router and login to the router at 192.168.1.1

Method 1: USB tethering using wireless router mode

This method only works for android phones, doesn’t work for iPhones.

tethering - home

If the operation mode is already in ‘Wireless router’ mode, you can skip the next sub-section. Otherwise, we need to switch it to Wireless router mode first.

Switch to Wireless router mode

  • go to Administration > Operation Mode
  • select ‘Wireless router mode’ radio button
  • click ‘Save’
  • wait for the router to update its settings
  • login to the router again and it will do the ‘Quick Internet Setup’
  • select No for ‘Does your Internet connection require user name and password?’ and click ‘Next’
  • then select ‘Automatic IP’ and click ‘Next’
  • Next is Wireless Setting. Just keep your previous settings or quickly enter one. click ‘Apply’ when done.
  • Click ‘Complete’

Your router should now be in ‘Wireless router mode’ as shown below.

tethering - router mode

Connecting the mobile phone

now connect your mobile phone to the top USB port of the ASUS router. Allow permission if your phone requests for permission. Now refresh the browser and your phone should show up as USB device. Turn on USB tethering at your phone.

tethering - usb device

  • go to USB Application > 3G/4G > Internet Connection
  • turn on ‘Enable USB Mode’
  • select ‘Android phone’ for ‘Select USB Device’
  • click ‘Apply’
  • wait for Applying Settings and then login again.

The Secondary WAN should show as ‘Connected’ as shown.

tethering - connected

Method 2: Hotspot using repeater mode

This method should work for both android & iPhone. Turn on mobile hotspot on your cell phone first.

  • go to Administration > Operation Mode
  • select ‘Repeater mode’ radio button
  • a list of available SSIDs should appear. select your mobile hotspot.
  • enter the mobile hotspot’s password, then click ‘Connect’
  • ‘LAN IP Setting’ screen will show up. Let it obtain info automatically. Simply click ‘Next’.
  • Next is Wireless Setting. Just use default settings or quickly enter one. click ‘Apply’ when done.
  • wait for the router to connect to the hotspot

tethering - hotspot connected

Once the router finished connecting, your computer should be able to connect to the Internet. However, the router will obtain a different IP address from the mobile hotspot. As a result, you would need to find the IP address in order to connect to the router’s configuration webpage. For android, you can find the router’s IP address at the cell phone hotspot’s connected device. For iPhone, however, there’s no information about that. You would need to use a network scanner or ASUS device discovery utility. Or when you disconnect the mobile hotspot, the router will reset it’s IP address to 192.168.1.1.

This Post Has 35 Comments

  1. This worked flawlessly (I have the same router) and saved me after lightning killed my cable modem. I had been curious about this for years – thanks very much for this.

    1. Sorry to hear that your cable modem was fried but glad that this guide is helpful for you. Cheers

  2. I didn’t see the 3G/4G > Internet Connection, what should I do?

    1. The probably mean your router doesn’t support it. Double check with your router’s manual.

  3. thank you for the explanation. can you advise which router you used for usb tethering? i know you said ASUS WiFi Router RT-AC3200 but your screen shots (GUI) shows RT-N66U?

    1. Good eye. Ha ha. I have both RT-AC3200 & RT-N66U and both work.
      RT-AC3200 is newer model that why I mention it in the post. But apparently I took screenshots while working on RT-N66U instead.

      Alan

      1. I tried this with my N66U recently. Problem I had was when I changed the USB mode to 3G/4G modem it did some sort of reset, and my Android phone Galaxy S7 turned off USB tethering. I turned it back on but then had to do a reset of sorts on the router (working off memory here), and it seemed like an endless cycle.

  4. Is there an WiFi 6 router equivalent that you would recommend that supports hotspot tethering via mobile phone? Also, is there a particular advertised feature on routers that I could look out for that supports the mobile tethering function? Thanks.

    1. I’m interested as well!

  5. So I bought the ac3100, Asus says the only phone that will tether is the note 4…are you kidding me. How do you get around this stupid issue?

    1. The tethering setup was tested against S8. So definitely more phones would work.
      But technology is changing with new phones, new Android versions, new routers.
      The only way to find out if it works for your phone and router is to try it out. cheers.

  6. Thank you for this suitable article about tethering mobile phone to home network, it will help me and people like me looking for the same. I appreciate your effort for taking time to do your research and present these details before us. Really nice way to present this content, very appreciative!!

  7. Does anyone know if USB tethering works on the ASUS RT-AX58U WIFI 6 router ? The interface looks very similar to RT-N66U but I didn’t find much online.

  8. Thanks. Would some please add to the list of capable routers.

  9. After tethering you a phone with this router, could you them set up a mesh WiFi system to cover your home?

    1. Technically yes. But you should check with phone service provider’s terms and agreements if tethering to multiple devices are supported.

  10. I have a ASUS RT-AC86U with firmware updated and have followed the instructions above. Everything makes sense except my secondary wan is not connected. Any help would be appreciated.

    1. Followed the instructions with the same router and it works great connected to the Samsung S21.

      1. awesome

  11. The easiest way is just use your laptop and plug in to your USB port and then configure a hotspot that’ll give you update devices including your printer and it’s so easy and most people don’t even use their laptops anymore and everything’s done on the phone but you can tether two phones as many USB ports that you have you can tether to your laptop. I have both of my phones tethered to it and I’ve got some great speed going on plus my security system all runs off of my laptops hotspot so I don’t pay or run out of hotspot data from the phone I hope this is helpful

  12. Hi Alan, I didn’t have to change my Internet Protocol Version 4 to login. Was able to follow your instructions to the end. But can’t get the Secondary WAN to show as ‘Connected’ as shown. (Says The network cable is unpluged) Help please. RT-ACRH12. 3.0.0.4.382_52107
    Thanks for the great website.

    1. Different router has different firmware that could behave differently. You can check if your router has new firmware that may support tethering.

  13. Amazing! Thanks so much! I had gone through all the hassle of setting up an old WiFi client device to the WAN port of my ASUS router to share my Visible connection. Didn’t know this was possible! Worked perfect on first try at setup. It eliminates another device in the chain. The only remaining problem is that the 5Mbps cap on Visible ends up being shared, so if 2 devices are active, they each get about half the bandwidth (i.e. 2.5 Mbps). Any ideas on how to overcome that?

    1. Changing tthe TTL of the router to 66 is suposed to mask the tethered status

  14. Hi Alan, I have already learnt so much from your great site! thank you.
    Please could you advise on my particular requirement!
    Can I tether an iPhone (using repeater mode) to an Asus RT-AC68U ( or any other modem/router that you might advise ) which has been enabled/configured for a VPN service?
    My purpose is to use the VPN service to effectively disable Geotagging whilst streaming to my Apple TV box!!

    Cheers again!

    1. Hi Mike,

      thanks. Unfortunately, this tethering doesn’t work for iPhone.

      Alan

  15. Thank you for the information, it was very enlightening, it would be advantageous if you could please reveal the firmware version that you have on your ASUS RT-AC86U router that functions perfectly please, I have just bought one and would like to ensure that the firmware is the same and will do as you say when I connect my phone.
    Many Thanks in Advance
    George

  16. Sorry I made a typing error I meant to type ASUS RT-AC3200

    1. It has the older firmware running 3.0.0.4.382_50624.
      Yours should have a newer firmware and I would expect newer firmware would work. Cheers Alan

  17. Will this work with an AC1900 from T-Mobile, tethered to a Galaxy s7? I have a really old unlimited legacy plan through a major carrier and since I live alone, I’d much rather pay a little extra a month for hotspot capabilities if I can do this trick with the modem, than having to get dedicated hard line. I just wanna be able to play ps4 and all the stuff I need for school while having the flexibility of quickly unplugging/plugging up my phone whenever I leave or come back. The speed isn’t throttled anyways so hopefully it’d work.

  18. thanks, Alan. got this working on RT-66U. My RT-AC86U appears to have same options to configure so likely would work on it as well for those who may be interested.

  19. Been using the Asus RT-N66U with a Moto G4 with Android 6 for about 4 years. Works great once I get it started. The trick to get it to work is to first boot up the router. After the router fully boots, connect the phone then turn on tethering in Android.

    What I wish I could do is 1.) While tethered, transfer files to and from the phone to other devices on the network and 2.) Print from the phone while tethered. The phone is my household internet connection and I can’t untether to print or transfer files. Anybody know how to do that?

  20. Hey Alan, just wanted to say thank you very much for this.
    I stuffed around for ages trying to see if there was a way to do it and pretty much gave up.
    But then came across this and after a few attempts finally worked it out, so thank you for taking the time to document this for us all to use.

    1. Awesome! Glad that its helpful to you.
      Cheers
      Alan

  21. Interesting solution. I went with an ethernet solution and directly replaced my modem with my cell phones. I got a USB2-Ethernet dongle and plugged my cell into the modem slot on my router vs USB tethering described in other comments. I left my home network router connections (two desktop PC’s, printer and wireless) alone. I alternate my Motorola Edge and Samsung Galaxy A32 5G phones. Both have a selection for Ethernet Hotspot (under Network Connections) that I now use. I didn’t have to reconfigure anything. Only issue is the phone likes to burn electricity while tethered and inexpensive USB2-Ethernet dongles won’t provide a charge. Longest I’ve been active is 14 hours and the phone got down to 20% so if you want to be online even longer you’ll have to spring for a more expensive USB2 multiple port device to keep your phone charged. This solution also uses Tethering Data, not your normal Unlimited Data. We currently use about 2GB a day and my current plan provides 40GB per phone so we’re good for now, with some extra if we decide to stream up to 8-10 HD movies a month. I was able to justify the extra expense of a tether friendly data plan by eliminating my cable provider. I no longer have any redundancy so I’m totally down if my cell provider has any issues. I wouldn’t recommend this as a standalone solution if I had a critical need for connectivity, but for everyday folks, this appears to be a good alternative to living with a greedy internet provider or not having the last mile of cable installed in your area. (Note: my wife isn’t a big cell phone user so I’m able to forward her phone calls to my phone while I use her phone (and tethering data) for 1/3 of the connect time. Your wife may have a different opinion about your tying up her phone so proceed at your own risk!)

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