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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 three 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 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.

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281 responses to “Wireless Internet: BlackBerry Curve as Bluetooth Modem for OS-X Mac”

  1. Thanks to everyone for your useful comments. I have a TMO curve with the hotspot@home function but no data plan. It works at TMO hotspots. Can I tether the curve to my mac so I can use the internet via the wi-fi internet connection (as I understand it, the above discussed option uses the EDGE connection)? I spoke to Blackberry – they thought it should be possible but said they do not support this function. thx

  2. Yuri Cataldo 2007/10/22 5:06 pm

    I have been trying to get my ATT blackberry to work and it keeps telling me that my connection was rejected because the other side is not responding. I called ATT and RIM and they said they could not help because it doesn’t support mac. Did anyone have similar problems and know how to fix it?

  3. Lindsay Kintner 2007/10/23 8:15 am

    MOving from a Nokia e62 to a Black Berry 8300. I used this functionality with my Nokia e62. The instructions were clear and simple. Works like a charm.

  4. Thanks ! This managed to work !! Managed to get this to work for Etisalat UAE if anybody is interested. APN / user name / pw are all ‘mnet’.

  5. David Sanders 2007/10/23 3:32 pm

    I just installed v4.2.2.180 on my T-Mobile Curve and was hoping that it would work better that v4.2.2.177. Unfortunately it seems that my problem persists. I can connect initially for about 3-4 minutes then the connection stops responding (although Internet Connect says it’s still connected). Once I disconnect I cannot not connect again until I pull the battery.

    If anyone has a solution, please pass it along. I swapped to the Curve from the Pearl on the promise that Bluetooth tethered modem worked on the Mac.

  6. David,
    You say you swapped from the Pearl? Do you mean that it didn’t work your Pearl or that you were hoping for even more speed? Because the Pearl worked perfectly for me. I wish I had it back. Here’s hoping Bobboya hears some good news.

  7. David Sanders 2007/10/23 5:55 pm

    The Pearl worked well on the downlink but the best uplink speed I got was about 10 kbps, which was less than useful. I was hoping that the Curve would perform better on the uplink. At this point it seems I’m stuck using my old Motorola when faced with having to fall back to EDGE for connectivity. Overall, Im still very pleased with the Curve and have no plans of going back to the Pearl.

  8. Agreed, The Pearl is a bit too small, a bit slow and I couldn’t quite find a rhythm with the predictive text. I’m a journalist and it never seemed to anticipate my word choice. Maybe I use too many $5 words.

  9. Hi, Dave,
    Unfortunately, I did get a reply from the person at taniwha.org.uk who wrote the original modem scripts that everyone is using. He still doesn’t have a Blackberry, so he still can’t test them out himself. I did log all that happened with the modem and emailed him. He made a few more suggestions. I just haven’t had time to test all the ideas out, because I am facing a deadline, and, once I get playing with my Blackberry, I can use up hundreds of hours. So, I will get back to it later… After Nov. 5th… You could just write to Ross yourself, if you want to. If he knows enough people are having the same problem, he might take a closer look.

    Ciao! Bob

  10. I got it to work with the Curve on the Mac using t-mobile. Updated to 4.2.2.180. Make sure your apn is programmed into your BlackBerry Settings>Advanced>TCP. The apn is wap.voicestream.com. Leave the user and password blank.

  11. David Sanders 2007/10/25 4:56 am

    Bob and Stephen,

    I tried posting last evening, but for some reason my attempts didn’t make it onto the page. I started fresh by redownloading the modem scripts just in case they’d changed in the past year (I downloaded them last when I got my Pearl). My first attempt to connect was successful and the connection lasted for just over 10 minutes. Unfortunately the connection died (still connected but the link was dead). After I disconnected all subsequent attempts to connect failed until I popped the battery.

    Bob, since you already have a dialog going with Ross, I’ll let that play out. If there’s anything I can do to assist your investigation please don’t hesitate to ask.

    David

  12. David,
    I have had the same problem that you are having. I was able to fix it, by adding the apn settings into the BlackBerry. options>advanced options>tcp

    apn: wap.voicestream.com
    leave the username and password fields blank.

    Regards,
    Stephen

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