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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Using the Blackberry 8800 as an USB Tethered Modem

Several months ago, my post on using the Blackberry 8800 wirelessly via a bluetooth modem was the first on the RIM Blackberry 8800 series of phones. With the tips in the post, you could easily get your RIM Blackberry 8800, 8820, or 8830 device working as a high-speed wireless modem for your laptop or even desktop computer. In fact the post quickly became one of the more popular posts on my blog, and the number of people that visit the post each day is in the 100's.

Recently, Matt Silverman let me know about his post in which he was able to use his Blackberry 8800 series phone as a tethered USB modem. Since I just got my new Lenovo (no IBM label interestingly) T61 laptop computer, I thought I would give it a try since I had not yet setup Bluetooth.

Matt's guide was pretty good and with a few tweaks, I was able to get my Blackberry 8800 to work. I've combined his steps and my guide here to make it as straight-forward and easy for your setup your Blackberry as the tethered USB modem.

Here are a couple of reasons why you might prefer a USB tethered solution to the Bluetooth wireless solution:
1. You laptop does not have Bluetooth setup or you are having problems configuring it.
2. You need to conserve battery usage on your Blackberry. The wireless mode consumes significantly more battery than the USB mode. If you need to use the modem for any length of time, the USB tethered modem option is preferred.

This guide should be compatible with the following Blackberry models: Blackberry 8800, Blackberry 8820, Blackberry 8830, Blackberry Pearl, Blackberry Curve. In addition to the Blackberry device installed, you will also need the Blackberry Desktop Manager software installed (I have installed), and AT&T wireless with unlimited data. This may work with other cell phone providers such as T-Mobile or Verizon, but has not been tested. This guide was composed using Windows XP, so other operating systems may have slight differences.

Here is the step-by-step guide:
1. First you need to configure the "Standard Modem" that is installed with your Blackberry Desktop software. Do get to it quickly, right click on "My Computer" from the desktop and select "Manage Computer".

2. Click on "Device Manager" in the left hand pane.

3. Click on the plus (+) sign next to modems to expand them.

4. Right click on "Standard Modem" and select properties.

5. Go to the Advanced tab under Extra Settings and enter the following "Extra initialization commmands" without any leading spaces: AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","wap.cingular"

6. Click "Ok" to save the settings.

7. Now start the "Create a new connection" wizard from Network connections by right clicking on "My Network Places" and selecting properties. In the left pane under "Network Taks" click on "Create a new connection."

8. Click on 'Next' from the 'Welcome to the New Connection Wizard' screen.
Blackberry 8800 Curve Pearl Tethered USB Wireless Modem Picture 1

9. Select the 'Connect to the Internet' Radio button and click 'Next'.
Blackberry 8800 Curve Pearl Tethered USB Wireless Modem Picture 2

10. Select the 'Set up my connection manually' radio button and click 'Next'.
Blackberry 8800 Curve Pearl Tethered USB Wireless Modem Picture 3

11. Select 'Connect using a dial-up modem' radio button and click 'Next'.
Blackberry 8800 Curve Pearl Tethered USB Wireless Modem Picture 4

12. Select the 'Modem - Standard Modem' as device and click 'Next'.
Blackberry 8800 Curve Pearl Tethered USB Wireless Modem Picture 5

13. Name your connection as you desire. I choose 'Blackberry Tethered USB Modem' as my name and click 'Next'.
Blackberry 8800 Curve Pearl Tethered USB Wireless Modem Picture 6

14. For the phone number, enter the follow string without the quotes "*99***1#" and click on 'Next'.
Blackberry 8800 Curve Pearl Tethered USB Wireless Modem Picture 7

15. Select the connection's availability for 'Anyone's use' unless you have a reason to lock it down. Then click 'Next'.
Blackberry 8800 Curve Pearl Tethered USB Wireless Modem Picture 8

16. Enter the username and password information. For 'User name' enter "ISP@CINGULARGPRS.COM" without the quotes, and for the 'Password' enter "CINGULAR1" without the quotes. Enter the password again to confirm and click on 'Next'.
Blackberry 8800 Curve Pearl Tethered USB Wireless Modem Picture 9

17. Click on 'Finish' to complete the wizard.
Blackberry 8800 Curve Pearl Tethered USB Wireless Modem Picture 10

18. While this configuration with very little advanced settings will work, you need to adjust a couple of the settings to optimize the connection speed. Go to the properties of your new connection by clicking the properties button. Select the modem that is being used via the USB tethered modem, and click on 'Configure'.
Blackberry 8800 Curve Pearl Tethered USB Wireless Modem Picture 11

19. Now change the Maximum speed (bps) to 921600 from the default 115200 (EDGE can operate faster) and also select the checkboxes for 'Enable modem error control' and 'Enable modem compression' for the best results. Click on 'Ok' twice to complete.
Blackberry 8800 Curve Pearl Tethered USB Wireless Modem Picture 12

Now you can connect your computer to the internet via the Blackberry USB tethered modem connection. To do so, make sure you Blackberry is connected via USB cable, and that the Blackberry Desktop Manager is running with you modem connected. Then connect to the AT&T/Cingular/Edge network and enjoy high-speed access!

Did this guide work for you? If so, please leave a comment and let me know!


Jack.Molyneaux said...

Your AT&T tethering instructions worked like a charm.
Jack Molyneaux
Curve 8310

Jubbie said...

Worked for my 8800 with AT&T

Hussein said...

Do you think different phone services will not be easy to connect via bluetooth? I have T-Mobile and its only work by USB Cable. I was trying for hours to figure out how to make it work there are no chance at all.

I have Blackberry 8800 T-Mobile Phone Services. if someone figure out please post a reply

Thank you

Anonymous said...

I, too, had reservations about bluetooth and battery power so this was the answer.I thank you, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic guide. Did miss the part about having to open the Blackberry dekstop manager to connect.

Anonymous said...

Hi. Thank You for the help. I have a Blackberry Curve(8300) and the steps worked for me. I've had my laptop since 2005 with Windows XP. Your steps your are simple and easy to follow. Once again thank you.

Ola said...

I have the 8700 and it worked nicely for me as well... Only took a few short minutes before i was browsing the web. Had to remove my web-proxy setting but was good in no time.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for great info, any chance you have similar for Mac OS and TMobile service on Curve BB?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info. I keep getting an Error 633 when I try to connect. What am I doing wrong?

Dixie said...

Wow...didn't expect this to work so easily. I was stuck at the user id and password authentication step before I found your I just followed the steps you had and changed the APN from what I had, used the user id and password you listed and, voila, I was in. It is going to be extremely valuable to have this capability. Thanks for publishing this. Oh BB is an 8820.

Anonymous said...

This worked in Vista with BB desktop v4.6 on my AT&T 8820. I had to change the user name to WAP@CINGULARGRPS.COM. You can fin the user name under Options-->AdvancedOptions-->TCP. showed DL rates of 200kbps DOWN and 67kbps UP. We'll see if I get a extra charge for tethering on my next bill. ;)

Marc Paradise said...

Thanks for this post! Worked perfectly for me - the only problem I ran into was that I forgot to reboot after installing the Blackberry Desktop software. A quick reboot solved the problem.

Connections speeds seem to be around 200kbit - though I do notice if I try to do heavy downloads, I tend to get disconnected.

Also - a friend told me that this was against the terms of service for Cingular's Blackberry Data service; I am looking around to see if I can confirm that. I'll post back if I find anything.

Marc Paradise said...

Alright, so here's what I found:

Specifically, this paragraph indicates that they do /not/ allow tethering , and reserve the right to terminate your plan if they catch you doing it. Ah well, I knew it was too good to be true - but it darned sure isn't worth paying double my monthly data access in order to tether my PC (and with a 5GB limit that isn't present otherwise). Reckon I'll continue to do without :(

Here's the paragraph in question:

plans(unless specifically designated for tethering usage) cannot be used for any
applications that tether the device (through use of, including without limitation,
connection kits, other phone/PDAto
computer accessories, Bluetooth® or any other
wireless technology) to Personal Computers (including without limitation, laptops), or
other equipment for any purpose. Accordingly, AT&T reserves the right to (i) deny, disconnect,
modify and/or terminate Service, without notice, to anyone it believes is using the Service in any
manner prohibited or whose usage adversely impacts its wireless network or service levels or
hinders access to its wireless network, including without limitation, after a significant period of
inactivity or after sessions of excessive usage and (ii) otherwise protect its wireless network from
harm, compromised capacity or degradation in performance, which may impact legitimate data
flows. You may not send solicitations to AT&T's wireless subscribers without their consent.

Anonymous said...

I keep getting an Error 633 when I try to connect. What am I doing wrong?

Anonymous said...

Did not work for an AT&T BB Pearl. Had to use the AT&T software instead.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Guidelines worked for my BB Bold as well. Well done sir.. well done.

Anonymous said...

I have a Blackberry bold and I followed your instructions and I keep getting the 633 error. Are there any configurations withing the desktop manager that have to be done? I am using it via USB. The desktop software wants to log on to my email profile and I just hit cancel is that what I'm supposed to do?

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much good works great...

Anonymous said...

Hi - Thanks for taking the time to post the procedure. Unfortunately, on my 8800 I get an error 718. Not sure why. I updated all my software to the current level, but still doesn't matter.

Anonymous said...

Worked on my 9700 BB. I tryed a couple of other setups that I found online but this was the only one that worked. Easy to follow. Thanks for the help!

Anonymous said...

this procedure works great with my 9700 on my desktop running windows7

some errors appears when your phone is locked with password... make sure DM is running and the phone is connected to it first... if not, run the DM, it will ask for the password you use to unlock the phone, and try to connect again.