The WP7 Mango tethering situation

The WP7 Mango tethering situation

Yesterday marked the start of the official roll out of the Mango update to Windows Phone 7. Needless to say, fans of the mobile line were quite excited. But lost in the hubbub, it seemed, was the lack of a certain feature.

Tethering, as only a few noted, missed the launch. What gives? We now know.

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If you recall, news about tethering in Mango came out in August, when a Samsung Focus was shown with the option enabled. From that point on, it was assumed that Mango, when released, would support it right out of the box. As it turns out, it’s not quite that simple.

Two things are needed for a Windows Phone handset to support tethering, the Broadcom 4329 chipset, and a proper driver. The 4329 chipset is found in new Windows Phone devices, and some of the first generation hardware as well. But where it exists, it is not enabled, due to that required driver not being present.

Vodafone summarized the situation very well, in an earlier blog post: “Regarding Wireless Hotspot, it isn’t integrated in the initial release of Mango however it may be deployed at a later date.” In other words, Microsoft is not ready for tethering to be in the general market.

Why? It is likely due to testing, timing, and development. If Microsoft decided to not release Mango until it was complete with a driver for all older Windows Phone hardware that had the proper components to support tethering, it might have delayed the software. On the other hand, it can now issue it via a patch and reap a second wave of positive press. It chose to wait.

So for now, it is a simple game of wait and see in regards to when tethering will appear.

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