How to connect your tablet to the internet with Fon routers

There's a public network of wi-fi routers called Fon. The idea of Fon is that everyone who owns a Fon router (also known as a "La Fonera") can use other Fon owners' routers too, with the ultimate aim of building a worldwide network of free wi-fi access points.

However, if you try to connect a Nokia N810 or N800 internet tablet to a Fon router it probably won't work. The reason for this is that Fon routers don't support power-saving measures used by the tablets and many laptops.

There is a way to get your tablet to work with a Fon router, by switching off the tablet's power-saving wi-fi mode. If you do that though, the tablet's battery will run out very quickly while using such a connection.

IF YOU ARE OKAY WITH A SHORT BATTERY LIFE WHILE CONNECTED TO FON, here is how to make Fon work with the Nokia tablets:

  1. Disconnect the tablet's current internet connection by clicking on the connection icon in the status bar (the curvy lines going upwards next to the battery icon) and selecting "Disconnect".
  2. When the tablet is disconnected, click on the connection icon again and select "Connectivity Settings".
  3. Select "Connections".
  4. Click on the connection you use to access the Fon router and then select "Edit". If you haven't set up a connection to the Fon router, click here to see our tutorial on setting up wi-fi connections.
  5. Keep selecting "Next" until you get to the box that says "Connection Setup Complete". Do NOT press Finish, but instead click on the "Advanced" button.
  6. Click on the "Other" tab.
  7. Select "On (Intermediate)" from the power saving dropdown menu.
  8. Select "OK", then "Finish", then "Done", then "OK". You should now be back on the tablet's desktop.
  9. Click on the Connection icon in the status bar, then "Select Connection".
  10. Select the connection you use to access the Fon router, which should now work. As noted above you will have a very reduced battery life when connected to Fon because power saving isn't at maximum.

If the tablet still can't connect to the Fon router, repeat the above process but at step 7 select "Off" from the power saving dropdown menu. This will switch the power saving completely off, and make the tablet's battery life very short when using the Fon router.

Note that these settings above only apply to the connection with the Fon router. Any other Wi-Fi connections you have will be untouched, and they will have full power saving.

[edit] Why can't the tablets connect to the Fon routers with power saving fully on?

Because Fon's routers are a bit old-fashioned and won't allow power saving wi-fi connections. There's absolutely nothing Nokia can do about this.

What needs to happen is for Fon to bring out a new router, or new firmware for existing routers, which supports power saving wi-fi connections. That hasn't happened yet.

This isn't just a problem for Nokia tablet users either, some Dell laptops won't work properly with Fon routers for exactly the same reason.