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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 = Creative thinker. Passionate about free and open Web.
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281 responses
  1. I followed the instructions and were able to connect to my Curve but after it was connected on the “Select the services you want to use with your mobile phone” screen, I get a red “There were no supported services found on your device”message instead. On my blackberry it says my PC is connected. What am I doing wrong? Thanks.

  2. David Sanders September 24, 2007 @ 12:18 pm

    I recently purchased the T-Mobile Curve and am having the same issue as reported by ebb in port #24. The issue occurs when connecting via Bluetooth from my Mac as well as via USB from Windows XP. Any suggestions are most welcomed.

  3. Could anyone please tell me how fast the connection is compared to tethering to a 3G phone? Also, would tethering the Curve with a cable be faster than Bluetooth (and can it be done)?

    Thanks in advance.

  4. Just as everyone else here, I’m experiencing the “one-time connect for 2 mins” deal. So has anyone figured out where exactly the problem lies? Is it the wireless company servers? (I think this is not so likely because it’s happening on several different wireless networks, plus I had a pearl on the T-Mobile and could connect with no problem) So is it the script? Or is it some software, or worse yet, hardware issue with the Curve?

  5. I, too, have had problems using the Tmo Curve as a modem for my Mac. I am pretty sure it is a script problem. The reason I think that is that most of the scripts being used for the modem purpose originate here

    http://www.taniwha.org.uk/gprs.html

    If you check the website the guy wrote: “These scripts may have bugs in them- I can’t test them myself as I don’t have a Blackberry”. If anyone figures out how to get a Tmo Curve to work as a modem for a Mac, please let me know!

  6. I have not gotten to work but once, I wish I was as far along as yall are and just getting it to connect for two minutes. But I have found in the past that if you tell your configuration not to send ppp packets that the two minute thing goes away. From bluetooth preferences, click show all, network, ppp options, uncheck send ppp echo packets, ok, bluetooth modem, uncheck enable error correction…, apply, then re attempt to connect. It worked for windows mobile, so we will see.

  7. Hi, Brooks, I wish it were simply a matter of turning off “send PPP packets”. Unfortunately, no such luck. I was aware of this potential problem and I switched off that feature. What I did is I wrote to the person at taniwha.org.uk who wrote the original modem scripts and asked if he had any idea of what is wrong. He had me log what happens during an attempted connection and send it to him. I am waiting for his reply. He doesn’t have a Blackberry, and he just wrote the scripts based on common principles.

  8. Bobboya,
    As soon as you hear anything from Taniwha, please post. It drives me crazy that I could connect so easily with my Pearl and not at all with the Curve. But my Pearl got wet and died so there’s no going back. You know it’s got to be something [relatively] simple.

  9. Yes yes, please do post once you hear back from Taniwha. I wrote him as well, hoping he could solve this problem but haven’t heard anything back. Deseguin, I’m in the same boat as you. Had the Pearl and LOVED the tether feature and am so bummed it’s buggy with the Curve. I travel a lot so it’s a pretty key feature for me. Someone has got to figure this out!!

  10. David Berman October 14, 2007 @ 10:31 am

    Wow! I am posting this using my 8300 connection! Spent half of last night and some of this morning trying to get scripts from another site to work but, I just kept getting kicked off. This script works for me – I have been online for 17 minutes.

    Thank you for the clear and concise directions!

    David

  11. David, When I saw your message #34, I was inspired again to try to use my Curve as a Bluetooth modem for my Mac. No luck — just the same transient connnection, and then no further data transfer after about 20 seconds. Which Blackbarry do you have and who is the carrier? I am using a Tmo Curve 8320. I am wondering whether there are subtle differences among the difference Curves from Tmo vs other carriers, like AT&T.

  12. Jeff Starr

    David,
    That is great news, indeed! I am glad that the article is still useful. Thank you for sharing your success with us ;)

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