Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bluetooth Tethering via BlackBerry Bold

Ever since I've inherited the BlackBerry Bold, I've fancied tethering a laptop to its 3G connection via Bluetooth.

Recently I've tackled this and succeeded. To be honest, I hacked away at this off and on for months. I've referenced forum posts and blog entries all over that were very helpful. I can't give you a single step by step process to get there. What I can give you is a set of references and what my Bold and Asus Eee 1000H look like when I'm done and connected.

Pinstack Probably the most comprehensive
PortlandITGuy Good links to other sources
CrackBerry Not using Bluetooth

I didn't use the BlackBerry Desktop Manager nor the AT&T Communications Manager. While these may have made the process simpler, I didn't want the result to be dependent on another piece of software.

I also didn't add tethering to my AT&T plan. So far, I've only tethered to prove the concept. If I use this regularly I plan to add this $30/month feature.

This document doesn't cover pairing the 1000H and the Bold. That was routine and similar to pairing with a headset.

When I was done with the pairing here's what it looked like on the Bold.

By the way, I captured these BlackBerry screens with CaptureIT.

I didn't have to tweak any settings on the Bold.

It's another story on the 1000H.

The password is CINGULAR1.

Uncheck all of these.

This is after I'd clicked on "Query Modem."

You have to set this!

Now that you've waded through all these screen captures, I'm sure you're dying to know "How's it work?"


I don't have Flash on the 1000H so I used InternetFrog's speed test.

You can see that it showed almost 700kbps down and not quite 100kbps up. The QOS figure does NOT represent dropped packets but rather consistency of speed during the test.

Just to validate that test, I ran the same test on my ThinkPad connected via 802.11g to my (alleged) 3.0mbps AT&T DSL link. It tested at not quite 2.0mbps. I then retested the DSL using SpeedTest.net and got the expected 3.0mbps.

One way to read this is that InternetFrog is conservative or wrong. The other read is that SpeedTest is optimistic or wrong.

Regardless the Bluetooth tethering via the BlackBerry Bold ran somewhere between 700kbps and 1.0mbps down. That's very satisfactory to me. It feels quick.

If I left something out that you need, leave me a comment and I'll add it to the post.

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