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Wireless Internet: BlackBerry Curve as Bluetooth Modem for OS-X Mac

Stay connected to the Internet wherever you go by using your BlackBerry Curve (8300) as a Bluetooth modem for your OS-X-powered Macintosh…

[ Apple MacBook ] This tutorial guides you through the process of connecting wirelessly to the Internet using your BlackBerry Curve (8300) as a Bluetooth modem for your Macintosh (running OS X) via native Bluetooth functionality. The benefits of such wireless connectivity are numerous, enabling greater productivity and maximized Internet access. The procedure is straightforward, and the tutorial assumes no prior knowledge of either Bluetooth or BlackBerry. Knowing your way around a Mac will help, but is not required. Note that using your BlackBerry as a wireless modem for your Mac (or any computer) is classified as tethering, and may or may not be covered by your wireless plan1. Having said that, the setup time for this tutorial should be well under thirty minutes, and requires2 the following items:

All set? Let’s get started…

Install the BlackBerry Modem Script

Unzip the BlackBerry_8300.zip file and save a copy of the extension-less modem-script to the “Modem Scripts” directory on your Mac: FinderHard DiskLibraryModem Scripts

Pair the BlackBerry Curve with your Mac

Okay, now to pair the BlackBerry and Mac via Bluetooth. Crack open your BlackBerry, go to “Manage Connections”, and enable Bluetooth via checkmark (the icon should then show a yellow minus icon). Then, go to “Bluetooth Options”, press the menu key, select “Options”, and ensure that the “Discoverable” option is set to “Yes”.

Now, open System Preferences on your Mac and open the “Bluetooth” configuration panel. Enable Bluetooth and make it “Discoverable” [ Screenshot ].

Next, within the System Preferences panel, select the “Devices” tab and click “Set Up New Device…” to begin the setup process [ Screenshot ].

The first step in the device setup process is a “Welcome” screen. Click continue. Next, in the “Select Device Type” screen, select “Any Device” from the list and click “Continue”. Next is the “Searching” screen, which eventually (it may take a few moments) should indicate your BlackBerry device as a mobile phone. After the device is found, select in the list and click “Continue”.

Next is the “Gathering Information” screen, which displays the progress of the information gathering process. Wait until the process is complete and then click “Continue”. The next screen displays the all-important passkey. [ Screenshot ]. At this time, your BlackBerry should display its “Enter Numeric Passkey” prompt. Enter the passkey in the field provided (Note: there is a limited amounted of time for this step — if necessary, click “Go back” on the Mac and try again).

Upon successful entry of the passkey, a “Pairing Complete” message appears briefly, and a confirmation prompt appears asking if you would like to “Accept connection request from mac?”. First, select “Don’t ask this again” and then click the “Yes” button.

Configure the Bluetooth Connection

[ Image: BlackBerry Curve and Mac PowerBook ]
BlackBerry Curve Wireless Modem for Mac
So far so good. We are almost finished! Now it is time to configure the Bluetooth connection. On your Mac, the “Devices” subpanel (System PreferencesBluetoothDevices tab) should display the BlackBerry 8300 on the Bluetooth device list [ Screenshot ]. Select the BlackBerry 8300 from the list and click on “Configure” to open the configuration dialogue (Note: the Device Configuration dialogue may have opened automatically after the device pairing process).

Next, in the “Select the services you want to use with your mobile phone” screen, select “Access the Internet with your phone’s data connection” and also select “Use a direct, higher speed connection to reach your Internet Service Provider (GPRS, 1xRTT)” [ Screenshot ]. Click “Continue”.

Then, in the Username/Password screen, leave the username and password fields blank, and enter *99***1# for the GPRS CID String. For the modem, click the dropdown menu and select the custom modem script, “BlackBerry 8300”. And finally, select “Show Modem status in the menu bar” and then click “Continue” [ Screenshot ].

Upon successful completion of the device configuration process, the “Congratulations” screen will display: “Accessing the Internet using a high speed wireless data service (e.g. GPRS) from your wireless operator.” — Excellent. Click “Quit” to seal the deal.

Connect to the Internet via BlackBerry

With everything properly connected and configured, we are ready now to connect to the Internet. Click on the small ‘Modem Status’ (telephone) icon in your menu bar and select “Open Internet Connect…” [ Screenshot ].

Within the Connections dialogue box, select the Bluetooth tab and populate the form fields with the following information:

  • Telephone: wap.voicestream.com (T-Mobile) or wap.cingular (Cingular/AT&T)
  • Username: guest (T-Mobile) or WAP@CINGULARGPRS.COM (Cingular/AT&T)
  • Password: guest (T-Mobile) or CINGULAR1 (Cingular/AT&T)
  • Screenshot ]

All set? Click “Connect”! If everything went according to plan, your Mac should be using your BlackBerry Curve as a Bluetooth modem and you should now see the “Connection Status” dialogue box, indicating connectivity [ Screenshot ].

Footnotes

  • 1 For Cingular/At&T subscribers: According to the customer service department, unless your plan specifically supports tethering, tethered connections will only work until the system catches on and blacklists your device (only as a tethered modem). Also, the representative assured me that pre-blacklist connections would not be billed.
  • 2 These are the devices used for the production of this tutorial. It may be possible to connect via alternate devices/software with similar features.
  • 3 Different carriers provide different data/internet access plans and thus have different connection credentials (e.g., username, password). While covering every different plan is waaay beyond the scope of this article, the tutorial does provide connection credentials for both Cingular/AT&T and T-Mobile.

Jeff Starr
About the Author Jeff Starr = Web Developer. Security Specialist. WordPress Buff.
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281 responses
  1. Rich Gates June 13, 2007 @ 9:42 pm

    I wish this worked. I’ve been trying to get this to work for a few days and what happens is that it tends to work for about a minute and then it starts to time out. Then I have pull the battery out of the phone to get it to connect again.

    At first I thought it was a blacklisting problem due to not having a tethered plan but I added tethering and tested it again and it still fails. :( I have full signal too. That is what is odd.

  2. thanks for posting up such a thorough tutorial. worked for me!

  3. Jeff Starr

    That’s great!
    Thank you for confirming the tutorial — glad to hear that you got it working.
    Thanks for the feedback!

  4. been stumbling more around the ‘net for more on this. on at&t it seems to have mixed success. the process is correct, but it seems that whatever is going on server side is making maintaining the connection difficult.

    basically what the previous poster suggested seems to be the norm, not the exception. :(

  5. Jeff Starr

    Yes, it seems that although the tethering process is well-documented and theoretically straightforward to implement, the server-side handling of such requests seems inconsistent across (and even within) any given service provider.

  6. Marquezgab June 20, 2007 @ 7:50 pm

    I have the same problem as Rich Gates: I can connect a first time and then I have to pull out the battery to get it to work again.

  7. I am having the same prob sustaining a connection. Is this issue specific to the 8300 and AT&T? Do Pearl users have the same prob? Could it be a modem config file issue? Is it related to the need for tethering on your plan?

    Sure would be nice to figure this out.

  8. It’s working for me…so far.

    It’s been running for 5 minutes. Hope this post doesn’t jinx it! (right as I finished writing this it shut off!) :(

    But it’s up and running again…

  9. Any idea what the settings are for a Verizon account\? I see Cingular/ATT and T-Mobile, but not Verizon. Can you help here?

  10. Jeff Starr

    maher,

    Sorry, no Verizon account.. I could search for something online, but would not feel comfortable posting results without actually testing it first.. Perhaps one of our readers will share the info..

  11. Can anyone help on how the blackberry curve can be used as a bluetooth modem for a WINDOWS pc?

  12. My AT&T rep is telling me that she can’t enable tethering on my account. That might explain why I can’t stay connected for more than 2 minutes. Have to pull battery and put it back in to get another 2 minutes. Woo hoo!

    Anyone have a tech contact with a clue on how to get tethering enabled on a curve data plan?

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