Use a Blackberry Curve as a Modem

Michael Kwan
 Use a Blackberry Curve as a Modem

There are times when you may want to use a Blackberry Curve as a modem. The process is not nearly as complicated as some people believe it to be and it can grant you full Internet access on a laptop computer. That's right! No more hunting for free Wi-Fi hotspots, because you can surf the web anywhere you have a cellular connection.

A BlackBerry Can be a Modem

Generally speaking, most BlackBerry PDA phones can be connected to a laptop computer, granting users the ability to surf the web at will. Called "tethering", this process essentially transforms your Blackberry Curve into a modem for your notebook.

Why would you want to do this? After all, you can use existing Blackberry applications to surf the Internet right on your handheld device. Well, I need not remind you that it's a lot easier looking at fully-rendered webpages on a laptop than it is on the small screen of a PDA phone. You can also use the Internet connection afforded through tethering to do all the other web-based things that you may want to do, such as download files, chat over instant messenger or use online applications like Google Documents.

Thankfully, the process to use a Blackberry Curve as a modem is reasonably simple and does not require any specific applications downloads, assuming that you already have hte BlackBerry Desktop software set up on your laptop.

A Warning About Tethering

Before you proceed with the tethering process, you will want to check with your celluar service provider about charges. The cost of wireless data can be very high and even though you may have a lot of data (maybe even unlimited) on your Blackberry, this typically does not cover tethering costs. Different providers have different policies, but you can usually choose an option that includes tethering.

If you do not look into the tethering charges, you could end up with a very expensive bill at the end of the month! Wireless data on a pay-per-use basis is very expensive. It's not out of the ordinary to be surprised with a monthly invoice of thousands of dollars. Remember, using wireless data through tethering is not the same as using the data directly on your Blackberry Curve.

How to Use a Blackberry Curve as a Modem

Below is a brief tutorial about how to use a Blackberry Curve as a modem. It has been tested on a few different devices and appears to work, but if you run into any trouble, you may want to contact your cellular service provider directly for technical support. Individual differences and settings may affect how well this process works for you. The guide below is for the BlackBerry Curve 8300 and 8320, though it should work with the Cingular/AT&T model as well.

  1. Connect your Blackberry via USB cable and ensure that your BlackBerry Handheld Manager is running. This program automatically launches when you open BlackBerry Desktop. It is also possible to pair via Bluetooth, but this form of connection could be a little more problematic.
  2. Install the appropriate drivers if needed. If you have a recent version of BlackBerry Desktop, it should already have the required drivers. If you don't have the drivers, then you may want to upgrade your version of BlackBerry Desktop.
  3. Check to see if the drivers are working. To do this in Windows XP, go to the Control Panel (under the Start Menu), and then open Phone & Modem Options. A new window will pop up. Click the Modems tab and you should see a new Standard Modem on a new port. Highlight this new modem, click on properties, then diagnostics, then query modem. Check to see if there is a response. If there is no response, something has gone wrong and you should call technical support.
  4. Configure the modem by highlighting it as before, then clicking on properties, then advanced. The configuration will be different depending on your service provider. For T-Mobile USA, try one of the following: +cgdcont=1,"IP","wap.voicestream.com" OR +cgdcont=1,,"wap.voicestream.com" OR +cgdcont=1,"IP","wap.voicestream.com". For Cingular Blue (AT&T), use +cgdcont=1,"IP","proxy". For Cingular Orange (old Cingular), use +cgdcont=1,"IP","ISP.CINGULAR".
  5. Add a new internet connection. For Windows XP, click on Control Panel, then Network Connections. Near the top left, you'll find the ability to create a new connection. Choose that, then Connect To The Internet, then Set up my connection manually, then Connect using a dial-up modem, then Next.
  6. Check to ensure that IP Header Compression is deactivated. Go to BlackBerry Modem under Network Connections (Control Panel), then Properties, then Networking, then TCP/IP, then Properties, then Advanced. Disable the "Use IP header compression" checkbox. Click OK. You will also want the following turned off: Enable Hardware Flow Control, Enable Modem Error Control, Enable Modem Compression.
  7. If you are on BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server), you will need your administrator to enable the BlackBerry IPModem setting on the BES. This is for BES Version 4.0.
  8. Done!

See, that wasn't so hard, right?

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Use a Blackberry Curve as a Modem