Question Tethering into my router via laptop?

jjgurley

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Jan 27, 2015
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My wife's small office has a Mikrotik router that connects to our DSL ISP. Unfortunately, the ISP has rare, but long, outages whenever a car hits a pole or they screw something else up. Out model of router does not support USB.

The office runs an EHR Windows app that uses several local servers and everyone has a slim-ish client. When the ISP is down, tethering to one of the servers doesn't work, and tethering individual clients doesn't either, I believe because the app makes internet based checks in addition to the servers doing similar things.

Given that we have lots of spare laptops around, could I tether my Android to a laptop, then use ICS on the laptop to connect the ethernet port to the router WAN port? Mikrotik supports multiple WANs, but I'm generally not available to mess with configurations when the failures occur. Simply unplugging the DSL modem and plugging in the laptop would be something the staff could handle.
 

jjgurley

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Jan 27, 2015
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I don't think the problem is with the tether, it a problem with multiple computers needing internet connectivity for the app to operate. The client opens a patient record on the server, and the server accesses eligibility and insurance records on the vendors site, then as the client modifies the record, various checks are made with the vendor for pharmacy info, etc.

I think it would work fine if I had a handful of phones tethered to all the various machines, with routing tables to keep them going the right direction.

On the assumption its not a tethering issue, I ask the original question again. I expect I'll just have to try it. I'll need to set the wired adapter on the laptop to the same subnet as my router's static IP, set up ICS, and see what happens.
 

gggplaya

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If this is a business that relies heavily on it's internet connection. They really should get a commercial router that supports WAN2 failover and/or load balancing and get a cellular home modem. I don't know what country you're in, but my dad pays, I think, $50/mo for a T-Mobile home internet and you would just plug the tmobile modem/router into WAN2.
 
This all depends on how stupid ICS is. They have fixed stuff a bit related to tethering to phones since I last tried it. The driver needs support. I know your theory will work if for example you connect from the laptop to the phone via wifi and then share that connection to the ethernet via ICS. Both are forms of tethering but the USB one wouldn't work for me, but this was number of years ago I tried.

You have to remember ICS was designed to share dialup phones lines it is that old. They have improved it a bit but it is extremely basic and has almost no options.

The other concern is the laptop. Make sure it does not do stupid stuff like go into sleep mode. This will work better than people who think they can actually use the machine while it is running ICS. ICS uses more CPU that I would have thought.

Still I agree with the above, if this actually happens fairly often and a business is dependent on it the cost of a small mobile router to act at the second internet connection is going to be must more stable than some hack with a phone and laptop.
 

jjgurley

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Jan 27, 2015
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We have a commercial router (Mikrotik 1100H4) and it does support up to 12 WANs. The problem is that the outages are rare, so having a dedicated cell modem is hard to justify. It's a very small rural private medical practice, and even $50/mo is expensive insurance.

I guess no one wants to answer my original question.
 

gggplaya

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In the Ubiquiti forums, most people just use a travel router which you normally connect into a hotel's ethernet, then share it with all your devices. But they use it the other way and connect the router to the phone's wifi hotspot and plug the ethernet into the WAN2 port of the commercial router. Seems like the simplest solution.

The problem is that over the year, people will buy new phones and the name of their hotspot may change. So you need to find a travel router with a very intuitive UI which they can use to connect to the phone's hotspot.

GLInet travel routers may be your best bet, you can tether via USB from android or iphone, and they aren't very expensive: https://docs.gl-inet.com/en/3/setup/slate/internet/#:~:text=For Android phone tethering, connect,shown on the device list . They have a smartphone app, i'm not sure if you can accomplish tethering through the smartphone app. You might need to go on their forums to get that question answered.
 

ex_bubblehead

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Moderator
Just to interject. Have you fully sussed out all of the potential HIPPA violations that this may entail? HIPPA is nothing to play fast and loose with. If you touch it you own it as far as violations go. Just keep this in mind.

HIPPA fines can run into the millions in a very short order.
 

jjgurley

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Jan 27, 2015
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I've got everything working by doing the following:
1) Bought a GL-mt300n-V2 travel router ($19 on Amazon)
Discovered the LAN config restricts the IP values to 10.0, 192.168. addresses, which doesn't allow me to mimic my modem.
  1. Updated the factory firmware with OpenWRT open source stuff.
  2. Configured device to duplicate my existing modem's network settings (IP, Subnet, and GW)
  3. Taught the travel router to automatically connect to a 4G wifi hotspot (on a Samsung S7)
  4. When the link fails, just swap the cables between the DSL modem and the travel router (into the WAN port of the main router).
Everything works fine (better actually, since 4G is 5x faster than my DSL).
I do lose all my external VPN access and the ability to do SFTP operations that are IP locked. Not a horrible tradeoff for being able to stay open. The main router does have the ability to connect to multiple WANs and supports fallover, but the configuring is complicated and the boss (my wife) prefers manual intervention.

HIPPA isn't affected.
 

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