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Mobile tethering: overview, perspectives and challengess

Mihai Constantinescu (Wireless and Mobile Communications Group, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands)
Ertan Onur (Wireless and Mobile Communications Group, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands)
Yunus Durmus (Wireless and Mobile Communications Group, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands)
Shahrokh Nikou (PhD Candidate based at Department of Information Technologies, Institute for Advanced Management Systems Research (IAMSR), Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland)
Mark de Reuver (Wireless and Mobile Communications Group, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands)
Harry Bouwman (Wireless and Mobile Communications Group, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands)
Miodrag Djurica (Senior Scientist based at Network Technologies, TNO, Delft, The Netherlands)
Philipp Maria Glatz (Wireless and Mobile Communications Group, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands)

info

ISSN: 1463-6697

Article publication date: 6 May 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze mobile tethering from technological and social perspectives. Mobile tethering allows us to share cellular data connection with others over WiFi, Bluetooth or USB. Although the technology is ready and has promising outcomes, service providers and the users still keep their distance. Therefore, the incentives for the users and service providers should be identified.

Design/methodology/approach

Technical challenges in terms of energy and bandwidth consumption are explored using an application specifically developed for mobile tethering. Usage issues are studied through conjoint analysis, in which we analyze the importance of technical aspects as well as social conditions for sharing data connection with others.

Findings

The research shows that although energy, bandwidth and security are important technical challenges, users are mainly concerned about social aspects, such as with whom the connection will be shared, rather than monetary issues. Mobile tethering is a viable cooperative service, only when users are familiar with the person with whom the data connection is being shared.

Research limitations/implications

In the technical evaluation of the mobile tethering application, only Android operating systems are being used. Other operating systems (e.g. iOS) may perform differently. Moreover, only a small fraction of smartphones and tablets has been tested.

Practical implications

Service providers tend to block mobile tethering technology, as they do not have control and do not expect to gain revenues. However, service providers have the abilities to satisfy the security and privacy concerns of the users and can create secure femtocells for their customers.

Social implications

Mobile tethering performance results indicate that more people can access the Internet while they are mobile even if they do not have cellular data subscription. More Internet-based services can be offered to people while they roam in other countries.

Originality/value

For technology developers, both the key technical issues and the concerns of the consumers are highlighted. Future applications must contain reliable security and privacy protocols in their design. Moreover, the significance of the social networks is shown in the decision-making of the use of mobile tethering, especially with respect to the credit exchange.

Keywords

Citation

Constantinescu, M., Onur, E., Durmus, Y., Nikou, S., de Reuver, M., Bouwman, H., Djurica, M. and Maria Glatz, P. (2014), "Mobile tethering: overview, perspectives and challengess", info, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 40-53. https://doi.org/10.1108/info-05-2013-0033

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited