Root Reviews: Barnacle WiFi Tether

Ever since Android devices were first being used as modems, there’s been a lot of debate surrounding the subject – Best app, USB or wireless, should you pay, etc. As far as all this plus compatibility and ease of use is concerned, I’ve only ever felt the need for one app:

After first opening Barnacle WiFi Tether, you are presented with all you really need to effectively use the app. There’s a Start/Stop button, an Associate button, and three tabs – Log, traffic, and clients.

Start

The Start button’s purpose should be fairly obvious. Upon pressing Start, Barnacle will begin hosting your device’s internet connection. Once you press Start, the button will change to say Stop, which will stop Barnacle from broadcasting. By default, the ad-hoc network hosted by Barnacle can be found under “barnacle,” something that can be changed in the settings if you so desire.

Associate

The Associate function is used to beacon Barnacle in case the device you are trying to use doesn’t find the connection. According to Szym, the developers for Barnacle:

To preserve battery, the phone attempts to associate for a limited time only. If you laptop didn’t scan at that moment, it would miss the beacons.

The recommended procedure is:

-Press Start, Barnacle will start associating immediately.
-Right after it starts beaconing, tell your laptop to scan for wireless networks.
-If the laptop didn’t detect Barnacle, press Associate and try scanning again.
-Tell your laptop to connect with the ad-hoc network.
-Right after it starts connecting, tell Barnacle to Associate again to close the deal

Log

The log, which lies beneath the Start and Associate buttons, displays a list of all the actions preformed by Barnacle. The log will display when Barnacle starts broadcasting, when it’s running, when devices connect/disconnect, and when Barnacle stops broadcasting.

Traffic

The traffic tab will come in handy should you ever need to see your download or upload numbers.

Clients

The final tab, labeled clients, shows currently connected clients.

Settings

From the start screen, you can press the menu key to access the settings. From here forward, you’ll be entering slightly dangerous territory, where upon changing the wrong settings, performance of Barnacle can be affected. There are options within the settings for more than anything you’d ever need -

- Wireless LAN

SSID (for changing the network name), BSSID, wireless encryption (where you can set a WEP access password), channel number, custom WiFi ad-hoc (for different device configurations), skip wpa_supplicant, and the ability to turn on/off the Auto Associate function.

- Clients

Access control (Restrict NAT to selected MAC addresses), new client actions (notification settings for when someone connects to Barnacle), and on/off for local mode.

- Advanced

DHCP (LAN host configuration) and Network Address Translation.

- Interfaces

WAN and LAN options.

If you have problems using Barnacle properly, you can use the Help function (found from pressing menu from the start screen) to visit Szym.net for troubleshooting and to view frequently asked questions.

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Alright folks, that’s just about all there is to it. I’ve had a lot of experience tethering my Android device when I’m in a pinch, and so far, Barnacle WiFi tether is the only app I’ve had to whitelist. Should you have any questions, feel free to ask me on Twitter, @du57in, or post in the comments below.

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