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Connecting to to a wireless network in Windows 8 is easy, it’s about the same as connecting a network in Windows 7 (though some of the screens have the modern Win8 UI). 

Many of the new smart phones released in the last few years support connection sharing. Sharing your cellular data connection with another device is often called tethering . On Windows 8 phones, it is officially called Internet Sharing and it provides a simple way to turn your phone into a mobile hotspot.

I currently have a new HTC 8x (Windows 8 phone).  It is an AT&T phone that has an data plan, including tethering.   My day-to-day phone is on Verizon (where I don’t have tethering yet).  I was anxious to try tethering, as my current phone has never had that capability.

The Movie

I recorded a short video that demonstrates how I connected the Microsoft Surface tablet to my Windows 8 phone.  Details about how to make the connection are later in this post.

If you cannot see the video in the post:
  either refresh the page or go to http://vimeo.com/52988939

Yes, I keep saying click, instead of touch and PC instead of tablet in the video.  Old habits die slowly.


Setting up the Phone

Start by opening the Settings application on the phone.  On the System tab, touch the internet sharing item.


Figure 1 – Settings


On my phone, the sharing is turned off.  This is the default setting.  Also, if the phone detects that no devices are connected, it turns off the sharing after a short interval.  This is nice, as is preserves your battery life, and prevents your phone from inadvertently inviting connection stealing.



Figure 2- Internet sharing, off


Touch the Sharing slider to turn on sharing.  As you can see in the Figure 3, the phone shows the access point name (HTC PM23…) and the connection password.  In order to use the shared connection you need to provide the password when making the connection.  On the bottom of the screen you can see the number of current connections.  Since I hadn’t connected when I took the screenshot there are no current connections. As you can see, my phone allows up to 8 simultaneous connections.


Figure 3 – The connection name and password.


You can rename the connection and change the password, just touch the setup button and enter the new values in the setup view.


Figure 4- Change the name and password.


Connecting the Surface tablet

The phone is configured and ready to receive connections.  Here are the steps to connect the Surface to the phone.

Start by swiping in from the right side of the Surface screen to open the charm bar, then choose Settings.  On the setting pane, the network connection shows that there are available connections (see Figure 5). Touch the network icon to continue.



Figure 5 – Touch the Network icon


In the Networks screen, touch the access point name (HTC PM23…)


Figure 6 – The HTC access point


Touch the Connect button to connect to the phone. YOu can also choose to automatically connect to this shared connection  in the future by checking the Connect Automatically checkbox. 


Figure 7 – Connection settings


Next, Windows shows the status of the pending connection.


Figure 8 – status report on pending connection


Now it’s time to enter the connection password.  BTW, I love the new “eye” icon in Windows 8 that lets me check the hidden password. 


Figure 9 – Enter the connection password


Finally, you have to specify the sharing options for this connection.


Figure 10- Choose your sharing options


That’s all there is to it. Now the Surface is connected to the phone.


Figure 11 – Successful connection


Real world testing

The initial setup on my phone and Surface took about 10 minutes, mostly because I hadn’t done any prior tethering with these devices and I wasn’t sure about the proper steps.  Now that it’s configured, it usually takes less than a minute to complete the connection.  I haven’t tried in on a long trip yet, time will tell.  I did use tethering on a twenty minute drive to town this week and it worked flawlessly.

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