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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Blackberry 8800 – Modem for Laptop via Bluetooth – Step-by-Step Guide

Wow, my quest is finally complete; I can finally use my Blackberry device as a broadband modem for my laptop computer! I was sick of paying airport and hotel charges in order to get a high-speed connection – and now I never have to again, thanks to Cingular’s GPRS / EDGE connectivity!

Fortunately, it did not last that long for my Blackberry 8800, but it has plagued me for my last couple of Blackberry devices. Neither my 7780 nor my 8700c had the capability to work as a modem – or at least I never was able to get it to work.

So, this morning I was completing a post on my new Blackberry 8800 and I did some quick blogsphere checking to see what else was out there. Unexpectedly, I came across Derek Perez’s Hidden Manuscripts Blog where he reports success connecting his 8800 to Cingular’s network. I tried out his instructions, but they did not quite work for me. After toying around with the settings and searching through some posts at the BlackberryForums, I was finally able to get it to work.

To simplify this for everyone else who wants to ditch their wireless air card to use their blackberry as a cell modem, I decided to put together this how-to tutorial. This way you can get it work easily, basically tethering your Blackberry 8800 series phone to your computer via Bluetooth for high-speed broadband connectivity. Plus, I have included pictures of the configuration process.

In addition, this guide assumes that you already have your Microsoft Bluetooth Devices setup with your Blackberry 8800 – which sets up the Bluetooth modem. If you have not set this up, I have published a guide here.

Here is the step-by-step guide on how to configure your computer. Of course, you may incur charges with Cingular, depending on your plan. Does this guide work for you? If so, let me know with a comment below!

If you are interested, these are two additional posts in regards to using the Blackberry as a Laptop Wireless / Broadband modem:
1. Cingular EDGE Blackberry 8800 Speed Test
2. Cingular EDGE Use of IPSEC and VPN connectivity, does it work?

1. First, you need to configure you modem for your ISP or cell phone provider specific information. Go Start --> Control Panel --> Phone and Modem Options. Click on Standard Modem over Bluetooth link (COM8 on my machine) and then click on the “Properties.” This guide covers Cingular (AT&T) specifically.

2. Click on the “Advanced” tab and in the “Extra initialization commands:” enter “+cgdcont=1,”IP”,”wap.cingular” and click on the “Ok” button.

3. Next start the New Connection Wizard to setup your Internet connection. Click on the “Next” button.

4. Click on the “Set up my connection manually” radio button and click on the “Next” button.

5. Click on the “Connect using a dial-up modem” radio button and click on the “Next” button.

6. Select the “Modem – Standard Modem over Bluetooth link” and click on the “Next” button.

7. Name your connection. I named mine “Blackberry EDGE” – but the name does not matter. Click on the “Next” button.

8. Enter the phone number to dial. For Cingular the phone number is *99#, enter that exactly and click on the “Next” button.

9. Select the restrictions for your dial-up connection. Click on the “Next” button.

10. For username enter “ISPDA@CINGULARGPRS.COM” and for the password use “CINGULAR1” all caps. Click on the “Next” button.

11. Click on the “Finish” button to complete the wizard.

12. Now for the important part, my connection would not work until I entered the specific DNS information for the connection. Otherwise I got the dreaded 718 error. Start up your newly created Dial-up networking connection and click on the “Properties” button.

13. Go to the “Networking” tab, select “Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and click on the “Properties” button. (You can also increase the speed of your connection from the “General” tab and clicking on the “Configure” button for your Modem. I increased mine to 921600)

14. Enter your specific DNS information. For Cingular, & are the DNS entries you need. Click on the “Ok” button. Click on the “Ok” button again.

15. Connect to the Cingular Edge network and you are connected via broadband!

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Derek P. said...

in case your wondering, the way I got my blackberry to connect was through a hack I recently discovered is only possible (to my knowledge) via the toshiba bluetooth stack. Which screws you if you want to have bluetooth modem and bluetooth sync, does your way of doing this utilize the Microsoft bluetooth stack?

Ken Hanscom said...

I'm running an IBM Thinkpad. No hack was required and I just went through both the Microsoft and RIM Blackberry wizards. Pretty straight-forward for enabling both the Bluetooth modem and Bluetooth sync -- and both work.

Anonymous said...

What kind of data package do you need for this to work on the BB 8800?

I have the Blackberry Corporate Unlimited Package...would I need to add Data Connect, or will it work with the BB Corp Service Plan?

Vecheva said...

I'm also running an IBM ThinkPad and get Error 732: blah blah could not agree on PPP protocols. Anyone else have this problem?

Vecheva said...

Never mind. I was able to solve the problem by disabling LCP extensions under the Configuration for PPP. I kept software compression enabled.

Ken Hanscom said...

I just have a standard unlimited data package on my phone and this seems to work fine for the connectivity. However, not sure exactly what the Corporate data plan is, so I cannot speak specifically to your situation.

Ken Hanscom said...

Vecheva, great find on the LCP extensions. I too, any finding some interesting variability in the various places where I connect with EDGE. For instance, in both the Los Angeles (LAX) and Las Vegas (LV) airports -- I cannot connect unless I have my DNS setting set to automatically find. On the other hand in the city I live in, I have to have them hard coded. Looks like Cingular or the "new" AT&T still have a ways to go in terms of standardizing everything.

Michael Vellucci said...

Hey Guys:
I am still recieving the Error 718 after correcting for the Cingular DNS. The device (BB8800)and comp (IBM Thinkpad T43) are talking correctly.

On the DUN connect, it sits at username and password for a little while and then pops back with the 718 Error. I also used my corporate DNS servers...still no luck. Any thoughts? Looks like I have a very similar setup as you Ken, just not the same luck.

Thanks. MV

Ken Hanscom said...

Michael, I would suggest leaving the DNS to find automatically. What I have learned over the past couple of months is that depending on what area you are in. Lately, I have needed nothing other than the automatic DNS settings. Have you tried that?

Anonymous said...

Hi, I managed to connect my BB8800 as a modem to DELL D420 almost automatically using Toshiba drivers for Bluetooth (this setup came as preinstalled with my laptop). However despite showing the connection speed as 230.4 Kbps it's VERY slow in dowloading emails on Outlook (takes for ages to receive a two-line text!). What could be a problem? I am with T-Mobile UK. Thanks, IG

Dave Graham said...

i'm getting a 692 error that i can't seem to shake. any ideas? Also BBDM can't seem to find my 8800 using blue tooth but it IS recognized by my MS Bluetooth stack (for my Laser Mouse 8000).

Ken Hanscom said...


Have not yet come across the dreaded 692 error -- which I believe is either port or hardware error. I'm guessing that there are driver or other issues with the connection to your laptop. By chance, have you checked out the setup guide here?

Anonymous said...

I see that this process is specific to Bluetooth connections. My laptop does not have Bluetooth, will this process still work if connected via USB?


Ken Hanscom said...

I believe this will only work specifically for the Bluetooth connection. I personally have not attempted a USB based tethered internet connection yet.

Chris said...

Wow - I must be lucky; i have never had any trouble using my 8700c as a modem for laptop, and when I had an 8800 for a few as a "promotional offer", I was able to use it as well using the exact same settings as I had used for my 8700c. Granted, I was using the USB connection both times, but on both occasions I never even needed a username or password to access Cingular's network. Used same settings as original post above but with no username/password to connect.

Anonymous said...

I am able to connect my 8800 with my IBM Thinkpad T42 Laptop via bluetooth (@921.6 kbps/ sec)however, I am unable to access the internet. I get the infamous "Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage" error. I have tried changing the configurations pertaining to compression on and off; I have also tried the PPP Link on and off under Advanced TCP/IP Settings. Any suggestions????????

Ken Hanscom said...

Usually the DNS settings. If you have them set to automatic, change to specific DNS servers. If set to specific DNS server, change to automatic. Hopefully, that will work for you.

Anonymous said...

I have having the same issue:

I am able to connect my 8800 with my IBM Thinkpad T60 Laptop via usb (@921.6 kbps/ sec)however, I am unable to access the internet. I get the infamous "Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage" error.

Anonymous said...

I used to do network testing for RIM, and I can assure you that using the 8700g and the 7130c both work as modems. I don't remember the steps I had to take to do it, but the steps above sound about right.

Ken Hanscom said...

It is very possible that RIM's Blackberry 8700g did work as a wireless modem. However, my experience was with Cingular's 8700C which did not support the tethered modem feature for Internet access.

Also, to the person with the issue accessing the Internet, the problem is almost always the DNS configuration when you have that problem. If you're dynamic in terms of your DNS server, change it to specified based on your provider.

Anonymous said...


thanks for your thoughts on changing the DNS configuration to enable web-access. Anonymous - did this fix your problem? I have exactly the same issue on my Thinkpad X60 running Vista as well. I spent 3 hours on the phone with various T-mobile and blackberry help desks and no-one knew how to fix it. I am trying to get the DNS info from t-mobile now so that I can try it, but it would be great to know if it has already worked for someone else.


Padmanabhan said...

Hi, I have connected my BB8800 as a modem to DELL D620..However the connection speed is 115.3kbps and any idea if this can be increased and how?


Anonymous said...

I am using Cingular and I have tried the following DNS entries: &

I live in Tucson Arizona. Are those the same entries that I should be using?

"I am unable to access the internet. I get the infamous "Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage" error."

Ken Hanscom said...

Have you tried using Automatically select DNS? That is the alternative option,

Anonymous said...

yes i have tried automatically select DNS.

Anonymous said...

let me just say your directions ROCK!!!!!!

i spent 3 hours with the 718 error and other set up issues... once i found you posting i was up in 5 mins..

thank again


Anonymous said...

The instructions are absolutely great. It works very well. I made twp mistakes following them which are worth noting:

1. Find the blackberry from the computer; not the other way around

2. in the model initialization string , watch for the quotes. Look at the screenshot to know exactly what to enter

Now, if there was only some way to get EDGE provide more that 120kpps bandwidth! it is slow!

Paul Stefon said...

Maybe a silly question...

Having to creating a "DIAlING" option, ie: *99#

Does that go against your minutes with cingular or i have unlimited data with my blackberry and will it go with my data pack.

I would hate to get a $500.00 bill at the end of the month...

Thanks in advance...


Anonymous said...

having to actually dial *99# will that go againsts your monthly minutes, or does it go with your data pack?


Anonymous said...

For all those having error 718 issues / hanging at username & password check:

At the connection screen (the one with username and password) press "Properties"

Select the "Network" tab.

Click "Settings" (button at the top)

-unselect the bottom checkbox

-click ok twice and dial

have fun :)


Anonymous said...

I was having the 817 errors and setting the DNS entries as other posts suggested did not work in fact were the wrong DNS entries for my ATT/Cingulat connection. Finally have gotten it working by setting "modem error control" and "modem compression" under the modem configuration. I am running vista.

Anonymous said...

Ken, have you had any success using your 8800 as a modem to dial in to a corporate network?

The company I work for has two ways for me to access their network remotely. One is to use the Nortel Contivity Client with a SecurID token. The other is to do a direct dial-in.

When my internet connection is via my 8800 (thanks to your excellent instructions) I can connect using the Contivity Client, but it seems really slow.

I can't help but wonder if I could bet a little bit more speed by dialing in directly.

When I've tried it I get the initial modem handshake sounds on my phone, but it fails.

Any hints you might have on this would be greatly appreciated.

RMSko said...

I'm trying to set this up, but have a few questions.

First, my laptop did not come with Bluetooth, but I have a ZOOM Bluetooth PCMCIA Modem. As a result, in the first step there was no option for a Bluetooth modem. I added "PCMCIA Modem" to the list of modems and ran the setup that way. I'm running Vista so the setup was a bit different, but I was able to add everything in the instructions. Does anyone know if using this "PCMCIA Modem" is correct?

Second, my company has disabled discovery of my Blackberry. I'm going to try to get it enabled, but is there any way to set this up if discovery is disabled (I can pair my laptop to the BB through the BB, but I don't think this will work).

Does anyone know if there are any other Vista issues?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I've been trying for weeks to use my blackberry 8800 as a modem in preparation for a long train trip over the xmas holidays. The key piece of information was the fact that the Blackberry Desktop Manager program MUST be running during this process. I kept reading over all the message boards and your blog was the only one with this key piece of info. thanks a million!

RMSko said...

I was able to put my BB into discovery mode and got it to connect and was able to connect and disconnect a number of times. I then was had to take my BB out of discovery mode (it is disabled by my company) and now it won't connect and sometimes I get the 692 error. I would think disabling the discovery feature should be irrelevant once paired (and able to connect), but does anyone have any thoughts on what is going on?

Pakse said...

I have a Blackberry 8800 and a Dell D620. I followed the directions exactly with a single modification, for my connection string I entered:


Which is the same as shown in the picture, but slightly different from the text.

My connection is great, no problem surfing from multiple physical locations.

Thank you very much for this excellent guide.

craZYR0bot said...

Working well on my 8700C when tethered with BT. I was never able to get this phone working with the USB tether.

I did have the DNS problem though, but setting it to automatic worked.

Anonymous said...

When I attempt to connect via this new modem connection I receive an "Error 87: The Parameter is Incorrect" error. I am using a BB8800 with a DellD620 laptop. Thought?

Koms said...

This was working for me fine until recently and now I get Error 721: no response from the computer. Any idea what could be causing this?

Anonymous said...

Guys this info was awesome, very weel done. Pakse's comment from 12/18/2007 07:09:00 AM saved the day for me...slower connection but free airport boradband is worth well as the times I spend stuck in traffic...anybody have any ideas on possible additional charges?

Anonymous said...

this also works perfect with the blackberry curve! Thanks! I am also running vista.

Anonymous said...

For those having connectivity issues, what worked for me after going over settings dozens of times and not finding anything out of order was that I simply deleted dial-up connection and created a new one following the same steps (didn't mess with modem at all) and it worked fine. I'm on a tmobile, curve and I kept getting variety of errors related to PPP or server not responding or user name/password incorrect...when all else fails just start over.

cheap computers said...

I just went through both the Microsoft and RIM Blackberry wizards. Pretty straight-forward for enabling both the Bluetooth modem and Bluetooth sync.

Jeff said...

Do you know of a way to use my 8830 in the manner that you described but that will not use cellular minutes? If I have unlimited data on my Blackberry, there must be a way to use that, rather than minutes.

I have Verizon. They charge an additional $30 a month to use the 8830 as a cellular modem.

I hope that somebody can help me.

Science For All said...

Hey - Thanks! Just used this info to set my old 8820 / AT&T and it's working fine. (Automatic DNS)(All I really need is for the next week - I am however checking my data usage rate).

Send Flowers to UK said...

Nice effort, very informative, this will help me to complete my task.

Anonymous said...

@storm 9/08/2007 10:37:00 PM

thank you thank you. reimaged my laptop, and lost my config... found your comment (after an hour of trying to set up the connection).

with the 3d box unchecked, works beautifully.

plantronics wireless headset said...

Not a bad article, I might have taken it in a whole different direction but still good information.