[GUIDE][MOD] Guide to Enable Mobile Hotspot & Tethering on Q-Link Wireless & Bypass Data Throttling

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Q-LINK WIRELESS
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GUIDE TO BYPASS DATA SPEED CAP AND ENABLE 4G-LTE/5G
MOBILE HOTSPOT & TETHERING
(ROOTING NOT REQUIRED)

OVERVIEW:
QLink Wireless is one of the top providers of mobile phone service to thousands of eligible subscribers of the FCC-based Lifeline program, an initiative funded by the federal government to assist low-income individuals with mobile phone service and a mobile device.

Currently, QLink subscribers who are also approved for the EBB are allotted a free monthly service plan that includes unlimited calling, text messaging and 4G-LTE/5G mobile data. Normally, the plan would include unlimited calling and text messaging with 4.5 GB data. The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB), renamed to the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) on January 1, 2022, provides eligible subscribers with an unlimited mobile data allotment versus the normal 4.5 GB limit.

QLink has taken steps to cap the maximum download speed of subscribers' 4G-LTE data to 2.0 Mbps. In addition, QLink configured its latest SIM cards to disable data sharing via Mobile Hotspot, Bluetooth or USB Tethering. This guide provides instructions to bypass QLink's data throttling cap and set up a mobile hotspot access point for sharing your unthrottled QLink 4G-LTE/5G data with other WiFi-enabled devices.

PLATFORM COMPATIBILITY:
This guide is premised on the presumption that you are using an Android-based smartphone or tablet for your QLink mobile plan, as the apps provided in the downloads section below are Android APKs. For Method 2, outlined below, you will need your QLink Android mobile device and a PC or laptop running on a compatible build of Windows 10 or 11.

BYPASSING THE DATA SPEED CAP:
As mentioned previously, when QLink made the switch from Sprint to T-Mobile's nationwide 4G-LTE/5G network, a server-sided throttle was put into place to restrict the maximum 4G-LTE download speed to around 2.0 Mbps. This speed cap took effect when QLink sent out the upgraded GSM SIM cards to subscribers. To bypass this restriction, you simply need to connect to a reliable VPN server. This will increase 4G-LTE download speeds from 2 Mbps to upwards of 40 Mbps, depending on signal strength and other factors. I have not verified the increase on 5G data connections, but it is safe to assume the improvement will be substantial. Do this before setting up your hotspot via the instructions below if you want to share the unrestricted data with other devices. Otherwise, your hotspot will be sharing throttled data. For a good, free VPN service, I recommend using ProtonVPN. It is very simple to set up. Download the app from the link provided below, install it on your QLink device, open the app, grant the requested permissions, and follow the on-screen prompts to set up and connect to a VPN network. ProtonVPN is also available for free on Google Play Store. If you already use a VPN service, or have another preferred service, any reliable VPN server should suffice.

METHODS USED:
There are a number of different methods and setups that can be used to successfully bypass QLink's mobile hotspot & tethering restrictions. I will cover a couple of these methods, based on their ease of setup, cost and efficiency. (I try to outline only those methods that do not require a purchase of apps or services.) For the first method, you will need only your active QLink Android device and a couple of free apps, both of which are available in the downloads section below.


DISCLAIMER:
This guide is strictly for educational purposes. The procedures used to bypass mobile hotspot restrictions may or may not violate the terms of the customer agreement as set out by QLink Wireless. I have not reviewed these terms nor any other QLink Wireless subscriber terms, conditions or guidelines. Therefore, by proceeding further, you are assuming sole liability and responsibility for adhering to the customer terms and conditions set forth in your subscriber agreement with QLink Wireless. Accordingly, I am thus absolved of any civil liability that may arise from the steps or procedures outlined in this guide.

I. METHOD 1 -- PDANet+ WiFi Direct AP
This setup is very straightforward. Download the PDANet+ APK file from the link below and install it on your QLink mobile phone. Download and install the companion FoxFi app as well. Both the PDANet+ and FoxFi apps can be updated via the Google Play Store or by the app market/repo of your choosing. You may also visit the PDANet official website which always hosts the most current APK builds for download. http://pdanet.co
Open FoxFi, grant any permission requests, then select
WiFi Direct Hotspot. This will open the PDANet+ app, where you will enable the same option, WiFi Direct Hotspot. At the top of the interface, framed in blue, you will notice some connection information. Now, on the mobile device with which you want to share your QLink phone"s data connection, you have a couple of options. Using the standalone option, open WiFi settings on the device you want to share with. Select the SSID name displayed in the blue header on the PDANet+ UI. Enter the password displayed in that blue box as well. Below the password field, tap Advanced Options > Proxy, then choose Manual. For the Proxy hostname enter 192.168.49.1. Just below that field enter 8000 for the Proxy port. Now hit connect. If everything is correct, the connection will be established and will be validated in the top box of your PDANet+ app interface. Keep in mind that you will only need to configure these parameters one time on the device you want to share your internet connection with. Thereafter, the device will save the settings and will even auto-connect to the PDANet+ hotspot whenever in range, depending on your connection preference settings. To test the connection and data speed, open your mobile browser and go to https://fast.com.

In addition to the standalone option, you may also install the PDANet+ app on any device with which you want to share your data. You will simply select "
Connect to a PDANet Hotspot" on the desired device and follow the connection prompts.
IMPORTANT NOTE: PDANet+ software integrates features such as alternate UUID porting, DNS resolvers and local proxy tunneling to keep data sharing undetected by your carrier. Nevertheless, it is strongly advised that you enable the Hide Tether Usage option anytime you are sharing your mobile data connection with other devices, regardless of whether you are using WiFi Direct, Bluetooth, USB tethering, or the legacy connection protocols provided by FoxFi.

II. METHOD 2 -- Using EasyTether to Set Up a Windows 10/11 Mobile Hotspot

As inferred by the title, this method will require a PC or laptop running on Windows 10 (Build 1603 or newer) or 11. You will also need a good quality USB data syncing cable. Both the EasyTether Android app and its PC client companion app are available in the downloads section below. In a nutshell, you will first be establishing a tethered internet connection by sharing your QLink phone's mobile data with your Windows PC or laptop. That internet connection can then be used to set up a native mobile hotspot on Windows. This access point can be used to share internet with multiple devices at once.


First, download the EasyTether app and PC client from the below link. Install the app on your QLink device and install the client-side software on your PC/laptop. Go ahead and enable USB Debugging on your phone at this time as well. Open EasyTether on your QLink device and select USB setup wizard. This option will provide you with step-by-step guidance on establishing a tethered internet connection. It also provides links for drivers and helps with troubleshooting should you have any difficulties. Once a tethered internet connection is in place, let's set up a Windows Mobile Hotspot. The following provides instructions for both Windows 10 and 11.

A. WINDOWS 10 (Build 1607 & Later)
If you are running Windows 11, skip down to those instructions. Open Windows Settings and select Network & Internet. On the left sidebar, choose Mobile Hotspot and turn it on. In the box titled Share my internet connection from, choose your tethered connection. Click on the Edit icon to set a network name for your mobile hotspot as well as a network password.

B. WINDOWS 11
Click the Start button, then select Settings > Network & internet > Mobile hotspot. For Share my connection from, choose your tethered internet connection. For Share over, choose the protocol by which you want to share your tethered connection -- WiFi or Bluetooth. (WiFi is generally the fastest and is set as the default.) Select Edit to name your mobile hotspot network, set a network access password, and select a network bandwidth (2.4 GHz/5 GHz). Now save your preferences and turn on Mobile Hotspot.





DOWNLOADS:

PDANet+ v5.23.2 / FoxFi v2.20

EasyTether v1.1.19 & PC Client

ProtonVPN: Private, Secure APK









ProtonVPN APK
 
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What can I use for iPhone
I would highly recommend using PDANet+, which has been ported for the iOS platform. Full instructions and download links are available at the official PDANet website here:
As a caveat, you will need to apply a jailbreak to your Apple device and use the Cydia app market to install PDANet. This is because Apple does not host the PDANet app on the Apple App Store, and because installing apps from unknown sources is not natively permitted on stock iOS.
If you are not comfortable with this type of modding, and if you are financially able, it would be far simpler to acquire a very cheap unlocked or T-Mobile compatible Android smartphone, which you can use just for purposes of sharing your QLink 4G-LTE-5G mobile data via hotspot or tethering. There are many pre-owned Android devices which would suffice within the $10 price range on eBay and Swappa.
 
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jak369

Member
May 25, 2022
5
1
I would highly recommend using PDANet+, which has been ported for the iOS platform. Full instructions and download links are available at the official PDANet website here:
As a caveat, you will need to apply a jailbreak to your Apple device and use the Cydia app market to install PDANet. This is because Apple does not host the PDANet app on the Apple App Store, and because installing apps from unknown sources is not natively permitted on stock iOS.
If you are not comfortable with this type of modding, and if you are financially able, it would be far simpler to acquire a very cheap unlocked or T-Mobile compatible Android smartphone, which you can use just for purposes of sharing your QLink 4G-LTE-5G mobile data via hotspot or tethering. There are many pre-owned Android devices which would suffice within the $10 price range on eBay and Swappa.
I’m on the qlink network with an ios 6
 
Is there anything newer than pdanet, or at least actively maitained? AFAIK it hasn't been updated in a couple of years.
True. The present builds of PDANet+, however, do fully support the WiFi Direct data sharing protocol, which continues to work on QLink and most other MVNOs currently. I'm.running it on both an Android 11 and Android 12 devices with no issues. The changelog for the current PDANet+ v5 23 APK build indicates that the codebase and libraries have been updated to support Android versions from 4.1 to 11. So, this should also work on most Android 12 devices with no issues.
Are you having trouble with PDANet+?
 
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Alkuam

Member
Mar 10, 2017
20
1
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
True. The present builds of PDANet+, however, do fully support the WiFi Direct data sharing protocol, which continues to work on QLink and most other MVNOs currently. I'm.running it on both an Android 11 and Android 12 devices with no issues.
Are you having trouble with PDANet+?
No trouble that was the fault of PDAnet, had to try my phone's different usb modes so it would stop disconnecting (turned out to be "charge only" mode).

I was just curious if there was anything still being updated in the event that pdanet and easytether stop working for some reason.
 
No trouble that was the fault of PDAnet, had to try my phone's different usb modes so it would stop disconnecting (turned out to be "charge only" mode).

I was just curious if there was anything still being updated in the event that pdanet and easytether stop working for some reason.
Yeah, PDANet+ is actually an actively maintained project. Although the last codebase update was December, 2020, the introduction of WiFi Direct data sharing support and native Android 11 support has required no further updates to this point. I'm sure when Android 13 launches this fall, the devs will see fit to update the codebase again to keep things running smoothly an all newer devices.
Glad you figured it out. I have ran into the same issue before myself, and ironed things out once I changed the USB mode from charging only to USB Tethering.
To answer your question fully, there are dozens of apps just like EasyTether and PDANet+. I chose those two for this thread because members can use the builds I provided without having to pay a fee.
 

jak369

Member
May 25, 2022
5
1
I've researched your inquiry regarding hotspot & tethering services for Apple iOS. Unfortunately, I'm not finding anything feasible that does not first require an iOS jailbreak procedure. The fact that Apple does not natively permit third-party apps from unknown sources greatly limits your options.
They zuck
 

jak369

Member
May 25, 2022
5
1
qlink is not giving me unlimited data I was wondering if there was a way to enable that @ can I just put my sim into an android phone so I can download the pda app
 
Sure, you can put your QLink SIM in any GSM unlocked or T-Mobile compatible Android smartphone. Then, use the links and instructions I provided above to download and set up PDANet+ w/FoxFi. As far as your data limit, there is no known way to enable unlimited data on an otherwise limited QLink data plan. You can, however, use PDANet+ to share data via WiFi Direct or USB Tethering without QLink being aware that you are hotspotting. Your sharing usage will count against your available data balance; however, QLink will not be aware that the data is being shared.
 

Ollipopbean

New member
Aug 1, 2022
2
0
Using a z fold 2 followed all directions I can get it to tether wont wifi direct unless i turn vpn off but my laptop hotspot settings won't allow me to change anything, it says connected through broadband... windows 11 thanks for the tips
 

Ollipopbean

New member
Aug 1, 2022
2
0
Yes but I've been tethered using wifi share beta through pda+ and that was working fine but now it seems even when on a VPN I'm capped at 2mbs
 
Yes but I've been tethered using wifi share beta through pda+ and that was working fine but now it seems even when on a VPN I'm capped at 2mbs
Yeah I suspect that QLink has somehow figured out a way to enforce the speed cap even when internet traffic is routed through a VPN server. I, too, have been experiencing the same thing on my end -- speeds once again capped at 2.0 Mbps or less. I'm going to run some diagnostic tools on the network later today and see what's going on. If I can pinpoint QLink's protocol I'll try to find a remedy for bypassing it.
 

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