Charles Engelke's Blog

June 2, 2005

Bluetooth to the Internet

Filed under: How To — Charles Engelke @ 4:18 pm

When I’m traveling, especially when in airports, I often want to
quickly check my e-mail or find something on the web. Actually
dialing up for this has become impossible, as data-port enabled
phones are pretty much gone from public spaces, and Wi-Fi is usually
either not available, or outrageously expensive.

So I connect my laptop or PDA to the Internet via my cell phone,
using a wireless bluetooth connection. It’s great; I don’t even
have to take the phone out of my pocket. Just wake up the PC or
PDA, click on an icon to connect, and about 5 seconds later, I’m
online.

I’m using a Motorola v710 Bluetooth phone with Verizon Wireless
(for now, but see the end of this post), and here’s how I set it
up.

First, “pair” the phone and the PC or PDA. For a PC running
Windows XP, the steps are:

  1. On the PC, open the Control Panel (say, via Start/Control Panel),
    and start the Bluetooth Devices applet. You may need to make
    sure that your Control Panel view is set to “Classic View”,
    since I can never find any of the applets in the newer
    “Category View”. The “Devices” tab will be selected by
    default, and that’s where you want to be.
    Click the “Add” button to launch the “Add Bluetooth Device
    Wizard”.
  2. Now switch over to your v710 phone, and select the Menu
    button (top middle button on the keypad), then “Settings”
    (bottom left icon on my phone), then “Connection” (last
    entry in the list), then “Bluetooth Link” (the lefthand
    icon), and finally “Setup” (the last entry in the list).
    Now, select the “Find Me” button. You have 60 seconds to
    complete the rest of the steps in the pairing, but don’t
    worry if you run out of time; you can just keep selecting
    “Find Me” to get another 60 seconds as you need it.
  3. Back to the PC and the “Add Bluetooth Device Wizard”. Click
    the checkbox labeled “My device is set up and ready to be
    found” (that’s what the “Find Me” selection has done), then
    click the “Next” button.
  4. You’ll get a window listing all visible bluetooth devices
    (though it will take 15 seconds or so to display). One of
    them (probably the only one) will be “Motorola Phone”. Click
    that, and then the “Next” button.
  5. You’ll be taken the passkey screen of the window. Yes, you’ll
    need a passkey to pair the devices. Click the radio button
    for “Choose a passkey for me”. The wizard will display an
    8 digit number.
  6. Back to the phone. It should display the message “Bond with
    <computername>?” (where <computername> is the network name
    of your PC). Select “YES”. You’ll be prompted to enter a
    passkey. Enter the number displayed by your PC’s wizard
    screen, and then select “OK”. You should see a message
    saying “PIN verified”. If not, you probably entered it
    wrong, so try again.
  7. Now back to the PC, where you’ll click the “Finish” button.
    The wizard will close, and you’ve finished the pairing.
    You’ll probably get some pop-up messages in the system
    tray about new devices being found and installed. If you’re
    asked whether to check the Internet for new drivers, you
    can say yes or no; the default drivers already available
    work fine for me.

Check the pairing by running the “Bluetooth Devices” Control
Panel applet again, clicking on the “Motorola Phone” icon, and
clicking the “Properties” button. The window that pops up will
show some status information in the default “General” tab, but
click on the “Services” tab. You should see “Dial-up Networking
(DUN)” with a check-box next to it. Check the box if it’s not
done already. A COM port number (such as COM17) will be listed
next to the service; you may want to remember it, though you
shouldn’t need to know it. OK your way completely out of the
applet.

Check that everything’s working okay by starting the Control Panel
and then the “Phone and Modem Options” applet. Click on the
“Modems” tab for a list of connected modems. Your phone should
appear in the list, called something like “Standard Modem over
Bluetooth Link”, and attached to the COM port you saw listed in the
last step. Click on that modem, then click on the “Properties”
button. Select the “Diagnostics” tab, then click the “Query Modem”
button. If you get a message about another application using the
port, you may be using the Palm Hotsync program, which seems to
sometimes latch on to any port it finds. Close Hotsync and try
again. You should see a list of commands and responses show up
in the window in a few seconds, indicating that the PC is able
to use the modem. Click OK or Cancel to close all the open windows.

Okay, you’ve finally got the phone available as a modem, now you
need to set up the Internet connection over it. You should be able
to just purchase Mobile
Phone Tools
, an application that will handle all of the details
for you. But… I haven’t been able to get it to work with the
v710’s bluetooth. I don’t blame the software, I blame Verizon and
Motorola. Verizon has deliberately broken the v710’s bluetooth
functionality (and Motorola agreed to it) in order to lock users
into extra cost services such as paying a fee to get any photos
off the phone. This isn’t supposed to break the bluetooth dial-up
network capability, but it seems to make it more fragile. Anyway,
this software (which worked fine with a cable) never worked over
bluetooth for me. Besides, it costs $40, which is really more than
it’s worth for most people. So we will set things up manually,
at no additional cost.

On your PC, open a Window to all your network connections (there
are a lot of ways to do this, depending on how you’ve configured
Windows XP; I used Control Panel/Network Connections). Now, to
set up the new connection:

  1. Select File/New Connection… from the Network Connections’s
    menu bar. This will start the “New Connection Wizard”.
  2. Click “Next” to get started. Select “Connect to the Internet”
    as the type of connection you want, and click “Next” again.
  3. Select “Set up my connection manually” and click “Next”.
  4. Select “Connect using a dial-up modem” and click “Next”.
  5. You’ll see a list of all the modems connected to your PC.
    Make sure none of them are checked, except for the “Standard
    Modem over Bluetooth link” that you created when you paired
    your cell phone with your PC. Once that’s checked, click
    “Next”.
  6. Type the name you’ll give this connection. I called mine
    “Verizon Express Network”, but you can call it anything you
    like (such as “cell phone”). Click “Next”.
  7. Fill in the phone number. For the Verizon network, it’s
    #777 (be sure to include the leading # sign). Click “Next”.
  8. Decide whether anyone on your PC could use this connection,
    or only you. I selected “Anyone’s use”. Click “Next”.
  9. Enter the username and password (and confirm the password).
    For the high-speed Verizon network, the username is your entire
    phone number followed by “@vzw3g.com”, as in “5555555555@vzw3g.com”.
    The password is “vzw” (without the quote marks). Fill them
    in, leave “Use this account name and password when anyone
    connects to the Internet from this computer” checked, but
    uncheck “Make this the default Internet connection” (unless
    you really want this to be the main way you connect). Click
    “Next”.
  10. You’re just about done. You can check the box “Add a
    shortcut to this connection to my desktop” if you want (I
    think it’s handy), then click “Finish”.
  11. You should immediately get a dialog box for connecting to
    the Internet, but we need to tweak a few things first. The
    username, password, and phone number should all be filled in
    as you entered them a few steps ago, so click on “Properties”
    to fix the rest of the configuration.
  12. In the “General” tab, make sure your bluetooth modem is the
    only one checked, then highlight it and click “Configure”. A
    “Modem Configuration” window should appear.
  13. Select the fastest available speed from the drop down menu
    (921600 on my PC), then check all three of the “Hardware
    Features” check boxes. Then click OK to return to the
    previous window. Click OK again to get back to the connection
    prompt.

Now you’re finally ready. Click “Dial” on the connection prompt,
and you should be online in about five seconds. Maybe. If it doesn’t
work, you may have to add the high-speed Internet service to your
account, though you should be able to connect and just pay for the
time you use without it.

From now on, connect to the Internet by double-clicking the new
icon you added to your desktop and clicking the “Dial” button, and
disconnect by right-clicking the little networked computer icon
in the system tray, and selecting “Disconnect”.

If you use this a lot (or maybe if you use it at all) you’ll want to
get unlimited data service added to your Verizon account. That way,
you won’t be using your regular minutes for data, and you won’t
have to worry about how long you’re connected. It’s a flat fee
of $80 or $45 per month (they’re the same service, but the $45 is
only available for “smartphones”; tell them the v710 is one). Good
luck adding the service, by the way. Verizon has been really
clueless about data, and they’ll probably tell you that you need to
get a separate PC card (with a separate phone number) to connect
your PC to the Internet, but just persevere and eventually you’ll
get what you need.

I said at the beginning that I’m using this “for now”. I’m about
to switch to a Cingular bluetooth phone instead of using Verizon.
Part of the reason is that the Cingular phone (a Motorola v551) can
be used in Europe, and I can even put a local SIM chip in it over
there an pay only local phone rates. Part of the reason is that
Cingular charges only $45 per month for data, without any problems
about whether it should be a different price for the exact same
service. But mostly I just got frustrated with how Verizon has
made my use of the phone harder in order to lock me into their
extra cost services (that I don’t even need). Their attitude toward
their customers isn’t acceptible. They should be working to provide
me the services I want, and I’m willing to pay for them. Instead,
they’re working against my interests.

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