How do you connect your Windows tablet to the internet?

Earlier today we reported that the Surface 2 with LTE has begun to arrive at select Microsoft Stores for an impending launch.  The Surface 2 with LTE shipments are starting to arrive at Stores in order to build up inventory for an imminent launch. Here in the United States the Surface 2 with LTE will work on AT&T’s network, while abroad you’ll be using Vodafone. The option to hop to the internet without Wi-Fi or tethering is definitely appealing. But we’re wondering how the majority of you all connect to the internet on your tablet.

There are a few ways to connect your tablet to the internet. Which do you mostly use on your tablet?


We’re guessing this is how most of you connect your tablet to the internet. Mostly because it’s the easiest and probably cheapest option. Your home has Wi-Fi, as does your office and most public locations like coffee shops or airports. Plus all tablets have Wi-Fi, whereas all tablets don’t have a cellular options.


True mobile maven? Then you’re probably connecting your tablet directly to a cellular network through LTE. Cellular is great for a lot of people. At a coffee shop and don’t trust the public network? Connect directly to your data provider. The big downside of cellular is the extra cost on top of the data plan for your smartphone. Though it is super convenient.

Tether from Windows Phone

Another great option to connect your tablet (or ultrabook) is by tethering from your Windows Phone. Sharing the data connection from your Windows Phone with your tablet is awesome for when there’s n Wi-Fi and you need to be connected. The drawback is reduced battery life on your phone. Another is that most carriers (at least in the US) don’t include tethering in your basic smartphone data plan. If it’s already an extra charge you might just want to go the cellular route.


Use some sort of alien technology to connect your tablet to the internet? Please tell us about it in the comments after you take the poll below.

Reading this in our Windows Phone or Windows 8 app? Head to the browser to take the poll. On mobile? Go here to take part.

  • Personally I use all three options fairly frequently. Wi-Fi is obviously where my tablet is most connected. Then it would be a tie between cellular/tethering. I have a Lumia 2520 and will buy a data package for events like Build/CES/E3/etc. Then I like to tether from my Lumia 925/1020 if there's no Wi-Fi around and I don't have a current data plan for the 2520/Surface 2. 
  • Wi-Fi is my first choice on my Surface followed by tethering using my Lumia 810. I also tether "other" devices using my unlocked 810 especially overseas.
  • I want to tether however I don't want to pay $15 or whatever amount just to use my own data. at&t *sigh*
  • On family plans it's free. Since they lowered the price on the share plans, I get thethering, 10 gb of data and am paying way less than before for 4 phones. If you can find someone to share a plan, it might be worth your while.
  • I read a few threads down or up that share plans get it for free... Awesome. Love the new plans
  • I thought about the family plan but we are the family that usually upgrades and the then the additional lines will be like $40 making my current unlimited data on two lines cheaper.  I wish the would give me the option to tether though.  
  • Through what? Att, Verizon, tmo?
  • at&t. I use to pay $220 for 3 lines and only 6 GB on the share plan but now $145 (plus tax) for 3 lines and 10 GB on the share plan. Not baaaaaad
  • Wi-Fi first, tether in a pinch. LTE on Surface 2 though may be my first "truly connected" tablet (putting aside the 2520, which I don't use too often).
  • Daniel - you prefer the Surface2 over the 2520?
  • Boo!
  • Good for you Daniel....Surface pro 2 is much better than ANY tablet as it's a real computer. The added weight is worth it for the added power and speed.
  • He said Surface 2, not Surface Pro 2
  • I wasn't sure if he meant Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2.  I'd guess Daniel would not leave out the Pro distinction. I went to purchase a Surface 2 Pro but left with an Acer R7.  I love this machine!  It can transform to a giant tablet to go with my giant 1520.
  • Can't say I needed LTE for the 2520 but its nice to have cause my phone is not always around me and its not dependent on it when I need it.
  • I used wifi for my tablet cause my htc 8x sucks (lol) internet sharing doesn't work....or i just don't know how to work.
  • I used to have an ipad that used cellular cervice... I also had a wireless hotspot for my other devices or sharing with others... Not the best solution as a celluar only device only had internet service for itself and the wireless hotspot was never charged regullarly to be of service. Sharing from my phone was the best solution as I will always keepy my phone charged and i can share the internet service with any device I choose.  My 920 has been one of the best mobile soultions :)
  • I hate the internet sharing option on Verizon phones. My Lumia Icon was adjusted so that I would have to pay extra $30 a month so I could use mt tethering option... And I still have the unlimited data plan..
  • What internet is out and I have been using the hotspot on my Icon today. Surface 2 couldn't connect at first but a reboot fixed the issue.
  • I use Wifi al the time, and I just discovered the surface supports 5MHz wifi bandwidth as well! Didn't now that be because it is nowhere document whatsoever
  • Wi-Fi mainly, I only tether it if I absolutely need to.
  • I use wi-FI cause I don't want to pay for LTE on my 2520. Tethering to my 920 is also out because I don't want to lose my grandfathered plan of unlimited data on Att for a plan that would allow tethering as an option.
  • I feel you having worked and friends who work at ATT we found out that the mobile share wasn' t the best option for us right now.  The grandfathered unlimited for $30 was good when I had tethering enable on my 920 recent updates broke the functionality on that.  
  • Yeah and for that reason (and for having the best choice for Windows Phones), I'll probably never leave ATT.
  • I feel you I did a dumb thing and got my 2520 on the next plan so wife wouldn't question my addicition about to go ahead and pay it off, I wish they would do rollover data or just let me tether.  I am wasting the $15 a month because I will probably never use it especially with all the hotspots att has in my area.
  • Mostly WiFi, but I do use LTE sometimes with my 2520
  • At home it's WiFi. On the go, Freedom Pop access point..
  • spent 1200 bucks on a tablet, can't even have LTE built in -surface pro 2 user.
  • Hopefully you knew that before you bought it, otherwise you failed at basic research
  • oh don't worry, after my experience with the surface pro 2 december update which basically nearly bricked my device, this is the last surface I'll ever own. LTE or not.
  • I have the first gen surface pro, and it quickly took over from my other devices. I have had a great experience with it, and I take it lots of places I never would take a laptop. I usually use WiFi, but if I am at an airport or a coffee shop, I will share my phones internet. Never been a problem. If you stream Netflix constantly you might run into trouble with a data plan, but for regular email and web usage it is no different than using my phone. One way or another, its all drawing from the same pool of shared data anyway.
  • I use WiFi in my router
  • Tether from Windows Phone (Lumia 920)
  • WiFi at home tether everywhere else.
  • Cellular and WiFi on a Lumia 2520
  • My Xbox 360 connects to XBL and downloads the GWG by using the internet sharing option on my Lumia 822. Got rid of my house internet a few months ago.
  • Usually by tethering off my 925.
  • What Windows tablet?!
  • Title could have just said 'tablet'. Using an iPad, tethering to my 920 thanks to Three UK's unlimited data (when outside) or connecting to WiFi (when home).
  • WiFi at home.  Used to use public WiFi a lot, but now that I have the ATT 10gb plan I tether through my L920.  It is a lot faster and apparently safer.
  • I use my home wifi, and wifi hotspots when out of home.
  • Connected to the network at all times. LTE is amazingly fast. Moved to that 10gb plan with my devices and my wife. Feels so much better to not have to rely on another device or equipment for connection.
  • WiFi mostly, but I did discover that my new 4 device/10GB plan from ATT must include tethering because I'm able to use my 920 now which I couldn't do before. It's come in handy a couple of times.
  • Unlimited tethering on 3uk to my dell venue 8 pro
  • Last year my wife and I got an Android tablet through our mobile carrier (AT&T). It was nice to have an always-connected device with a bigger screen than our phones, but we returned it during the 14-day return period because it was not meeting our needs (productivity related). We instead purchased a Windows 8 tablet and we've been using WiFi at home and the tethering option when we go out. It's worked great and we love having office and a BT keyboard.
  • wifi
  • First of,all, the surface2 is one of the most perfectly designed things in life, lol, second I just pair my Lumia, and it is always available for me to connect to the internet, very sweet option.
  • I agree wholeheartedly and do the same
  • I was able to tether with a factory unlocked Lumia 620 on StraightTalk. But Internet Sharing option doesn't turn on on my AT&T Lumia 920. Is this because of AT&T or the 920?
  • AT&T's provisioning of your account.
  • These days you need  shared data plan to get that with AT&T. Share your data plan and have the privlege to pay more for it! :(
  • Whatever happened to the teather over Bluetooth that windows 8.1 promised? My DV8P won't even pair with my 925 for more than 3 seconds.
  • Btw, that feature worked great on WM6.5
  • I have a Dell V8P with no cellular radio. I use WiFi at home and tether to my Lumia.
  • I just wish I had Ethernet on my Surface 2. I use it for business and would be great if I could connect to a corporate network for SSH. Hopefully they get ethernet drivers for RT soon.
  • I its annoying my nexus 7 will teather no problem, uses my unlimited wifi my surface trips the teathering block. So can only really use it at home Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • As mentioned above, but in more detail with WP8 and Windows 8.1, simply pair your phone to your tablet/laptop via Bluetooth. Then from the WiFi conection in Windows your phone will appear as an option to connect to the Internet. You don't have to do anything on the phone at all. Just remember that if you check the box for an automaitc connection you could run into high data charges as it will connect all the time.
  • wifi at home and if available where I am otherwise it is the LTE 
  • untill intel fixes their centrino w8.1 drivers im not really going to use w8 or untill the new lte suface two comes out
  • I use lte most of the time for my 2520, sometimes I use WiFi but not often.
  • Well most of the time wireless since both university and work have WiFi.. Then if really needed then I can connect the surface to my Lumia 920 directly by Bluetooth.. Very nice feature since there is no need to activate the internet sharing since it goes on automatically when the tablet connect..
  • WiFi at home and at work. Internet sharing on my Lumia 920 when I'm out. 5GB data plan.
  • Love how pairing with Bluetooth on my WP shows the phone as a WiFi hotspot and I can just connect and launch ICS automatically
  • I use WiFi whenever possible, but sometimes that isn't an option or the signal is choppy. I tether using my L920. But even with 6GB, I can easily run through that with all my downloads, streaming, and syncing.
  • By WiFi and my phone
  • Tether my Surface Pro 2 to my iPad 1 - I knew it would come in handy for something lol...
  • WiFi then Tethering... as in... In my house it's WiFi, outside my 8S is always tethered.
  • I would use the internet sharing option to my Surface from my 920, but ATT pays extra for that stuff...if only there was an app like for Windows Phone!
  • I have a Nokia 2520 Verizon model. I bought it off contract. Its used in my home WiFi. Or at work WiFi
  • NZ has options to share your data allowance on your mobile plan to multiple devices, great idea
  • WiFi or tethering. In Australia you're not charged extra for using your own data
  • "porque-fi" made my day! Good job, Sam. I use Wi-Fi as my primary at home or work.. and then tether from my WP outside of those places if I do bring my Surface.
  • WiFi only until an American carrier offers a non-ridiculous tethering option. AT&T wants to push me to a share plan that will jack my bill from $160 to $200. They used to stick it to you with high priced minutes, then it was high priced text messages; now those are unlimited and they want to kill you with data charges and connection fees. The telco situation in the States is just depressing.
  • They are ethically bound to make as much money for their shareholders as possible.  They could get in trouble if they didn't make decisions in the interest of profitability.  There are so few players in the industry they can get away with it. 
  • There's an app called Tether-X that can be used without official tethering support from your carrier. It's a bit technical to set up but the instructions are pretty good. I've never used it for real (only in test), but it worked flawlessly.
  • It's an interesting app. I've looked into it but I'd need a real emergency to go through all those steps and connect to it as a proxy server. When I had the GDR2 hack I had tethering enabled for a bit.  So I guess there is nothing stopping it except for the phone's firmware.
  • You're certainly right about being able to get away with it due to a lack of players. As far as their obligation to shareholders, they're tasked with maximizing *value*- and that can mean many things besides making as much money as possible.
  • I didn't know about the tethering option on the AT&T shared plans.  I just switched over to one and the tethering never worked before.  But now, BOOM. Nice job AT&T.
  • So, since we're on the topic of connection, is there anti-virus software that can be used on surface 2?
  • You dont really need one - the ARM (NT base) System is so strict about privileges & so on, there is pretty much no maleware for it - like with windowsphone ;)
  • That's what I thought. I figured that at some point, someone would figure out how on install viruses or tracking onto a browser and so on.
  • When i'm at the university i use my mobile wifi hotspot (which connects to a usb umts stick) all the time :)
    Just before leaving the house i turn it on, throw it in my bag, and as long as my bag is around my lumia & surface pro always stay connected to it...
    Actually i share the my dataplan with some mates from my class :)
  • I am using Toshiba Encore 8, which does not have 3G/LTE built in. Therefore I use mostly WiFi, and occasionally with a MiFi device using my 3G data-only SIM.
  • I used to tether until AT&T dropped their rates. Then I caved and added my 2520 to my plan. No biggie, I'm still saving $ compared to what I was paying before...
  • i have a surface pro 2 and i use lte almost all the time.  i do not teather.  i have an old broadband express card that is still unlimited.  i have a usb adaptor that connects it to the surface.  that is yet another reason surface is better than then iTray.  the usb port was THE reason i got surface.  lte card to blu-ray player, surface does it all.
  • At home: WiFi Router
    Remote: Internet Connection Sharing from my Lumia 1020
  • Samsung Ativ Pro tablet, AT&T shared data plan. Have never used a tablet/laptop so much as an IT tech on the road, it is invaluable. Win 8 auto connects but only uses Cellular when no Wi-Fi, for me, well worth the $10/month to have on same plan and not forced to tether. Odd, on Ativ says have to have different data plan to share internet, but Internet share from my 920 flawlessly to friends & colleagues that don't have cellular built in or can't share on their own plans.
  • I use a Mifi device so I can connect both my laptop, tablet and smartphone at the same time with just one data plan. Works a treat!
  • Tether...
  • I tether from my Lumia 920.
  • Like most people, it's definitely WiFi mostly... as like the article said - it's at home (where my Surface is 95% of the time) and it's in coffee shops or friend's houses etc. I only tether it to my phone if I'm in a car, or train or out and about with no WiFi.
  • WiFi only for my Windows tablet.
  • Internet Sharing with AT&T. Pricey but fast and reliable.
  • Anyone here in the UK on EE tried tethering/using their phone as a hotspot? I'm on a pay monthly 4g EE contract with a 920, and I've always been curious if it works or will it devastate my data allowance for light browsing? I've not needed to do it yet, but I know there might be a time...
  • Wifi and I see no point in cellular data connections for tablets
  • I use both wired and wi-fi.  Bought a StarTech (no I am not connected with them in any way, got it through Amazon) USB 3 to Gigabit Ethernet adapter and whenever at home...much of the time...then my SP2 (8/256) is my PC then I am connected via ethernet through Comcast to the world. Its a great high bandwidth/higher speed connection. When on the road or meetings when my SP2 is my tablet or laptop then I use wi-fi via the built-in Marvel AVASTAR 350N which is sometimes fraught with "issues", though the 2-11-2014 firmware update seemed to solve most.    I also don't see a current Tablet need for LTE but that could change IF the data price from ATT were to get more reasonable. 
  • Remote: Paid $30/mo 5g plan from t mobile on my HSPA supported Lumia 521 then either tether in with tether X app or fork out the $15 for tethering