We review JoikuSpot, a Symbian application that allows you to share your phone's 3G internet connection over Wi-Fi
If you already have a data allowance on your mobile phone contract – why do you want to pay extra money for a 3G dongle and separate data contract? If you happen to have the required USB cable with you, or your notebook has Bluetooth, then assuming you have the right software installed you can probably get connected.
However, this isn't always possible – especially if you want to deviate away from Windows and use Mac, or heaven forbid, Linux. Enter JoikuSpot, which turns your mobile phone into your very own portable Wireless Hot Spot. The beauty of this is that any device that supports Wi-Fi, in theory should work with your JoikuSpot enabled device – netbooks, notebooks or laterally thinking, your console device such as a Wii – or even your friend's iPhone 3G S if they refuse to pay the £15 for tethering.
JoikuSpot is available in two versions. The free version is ideal for casual users as it only supports standard web browsing and forces you to go to the JoikuSpot website when you first start it up. This isn't the end of the world if you're not a serious user. However, 15 Euros will get you the full version, which isn't a bad pricing considering what it does. If you want to use VPN, SSH or HTTPS – you're going to have to shell out for the full version.
From a technical stand point, JoikuSpot sets up an Ad-Hoc network rather than infrastructure. Some devices won't support this, which is worth taking into account. However, it does allow you to encrypt your access point to stop people stealing your bandwidth.
As with all 3G internet access, if you're on the move – it's going to be a little flaky. We found ourselves stopping and starting JoikuSpot consistently when driving around the M25 – much more than a dongle which seems to cope better. However, when stopped in a fixed place such as your local coffee shop, JoikuSpot is spot on.
Unlike a USB Dongles, you can also have multiple devices connect to your pocket hot spot and you can easily view who is connected inside the software.
One of the biggest downsides to using JoikuSpot is that it really saps your battery power. It'll suck the juice from a fully charged N95 in very little time indeed, so if you are using it in conjunction with a laptop – you might want to consider a USB charger to keep it powered.
JoikuSpot is a handy life saver and it's worth having the Light version installed on your phone, if only for emergencies.