Using your phone as a Bluetooth modem in Linux

Software Package Requirements:

  • wvdial
  • bluez
  • bluetooth

Install packages for Ubutun/Debian systems
sudo apt-get install wvdial bluez bluetooth

Steps to get your Bluetooth modem working

  1. Turn phone’s Bluetooth connection and set to discoverable mode
  2. Scan for your device:
    sudo hcitool scan
    Result:
    Scanning ...
    00:11:22:33:44:55 MyPhone
  3. Search device to see if supports Dial-Up Networking (DUN) for use as a modem. Look out for RFCOMM channel
    sdptool search --bdaddr 00:11:22:33:44:55 DUN
    Result:
    Searching for DUN on 00:11:22:33:44:55 ...
    Service Name: Dial-Up Networking
    Service RecHandle: 0x1000f
    Service Class ID List:
    "Dialup Networking" (0x1103)
    Protocol Descriptor List:
    "L2CAP" (0x0100)
    "RFCOMM" (0x0003)
    Channel: 4
    Language Base Attr List:
    code_ISO639: 0x454e
    encoding: 0x6a
    base_offset: 0x100
    Profile Descriptor List:
    "Dialup Networking" (0x1103)
    Version: 0x0100
  4. Bind the modem on the RFCOMM Channel to a device
    sudo rfcomm bind /dev/rfcomm0 00:11:22:33:44:55 4
  5. Dial and connect (ensure your wvdial configuration is correct, for sample see below)
    sudo wvdial dstbt
    Result:
    --> WvDial: Internet dialer version 1.60
    --> Cannot get information for serial port.
    --> Initializing modem.
    --> Sending: ATZ
    ATZ
    OK
    --> Sending: AT+CGDCONT=,,"dst.internet"
    AT+CGDCONT=,,"dst.internet"
    OK
    --> Modem initialized.
    --> Sending: ATDT*99#
    --> Waiting for carrier.
    ATDT*99#
    CONNECT
    ~[7f]}#@!}!} } }2}#}$@#}!}$}%\}"}&} }*} } g}%~
    --> Carrier detected. Waiting for prompt.
    ~[7f]}#@!}!} } }2}#}$@#}!}$}%\}"}&} }*} } g}%~
    --> PPP negotiation detected.
    --> Starting pppd at Wed Aug 19 23:45:04 2009
    --> Pid of pppd: 17558
    --> Using interface ppp0
    --> local IP address 10.84.2.128
    --> remote IP address 10.6.6.6
    --> primary DNS address 202.152.64.27
    --> secondary DNS address 202.152.64.28
  6. You’re connected! Surf and enjoy the Internet!

Sample wvdial configuration file

  • Stored in ~/.wvdialrc
  • Change “dst.internet” to your provider’s APN

[Dialer dstbt]

Modem = /dev/rfcomm0 # modem device
Baud = 115200 # 921600 / 460800 / 115200 / 57600

Init = ATZ # far card with no PIN
# Init = ATZ+CPIN=”0000″ # for card with PIN, replace 0000 with your PIN

# If you know your ISP’s APN, specify it instead of YOUR_ISP_APN below.
# There’s also an APN table at https://wiki.ubuntu.com/NetworkManager/Hardware/3G .
# use one of the following 3 options. change to your providers APN
Init2 = AT+CGDCONT=,,”dst.internet”
#Init2 = AT+CGDCONT=1,”IP”,”YOUR_ISP_APN”
#Init2 = AT+CGDCONT=1,”IP”

# Most services/devices dial with *99# . A few seem to require *99***1#
Phone = *99#

# These often suffice, but your ISP might require different details. They’re
# often dummy details used for all users on the ISP, frequently the ISP’s
# name, but some ISP’s do require you to use a real username and password.
# any details possible
Username = internet
Password = internet

PS: bmobile customers change APN to “bmobilewap”

Mobile Internet (DST) in Ubuntu with a Nokia E51

I heard about Ubuntu’s 3G support quite a while back, but yesterday was the first time I actually tried it out. This was done using a Nokia E51 connected via USB with a DST Easi card with Ubuntu 9.04. Please note of the importable troubleshooting note below

  1. Connect the phone and set connectivity mode to “PC Suite”
  2. A configuration wizard should pop up as shown below:

    New Mobile Broadband Connection - Welcome screen 

    If the wizard does not show, start it manually by following these steps:

    1. Go to the Ubuntu Menu: System > Preferences > Network Connections
    2. Go to the “Mobile Broadband” tab and click the “Add” button
      Network Connections - Add a new Mobile Broadband Connection
  3. Select the any setting as they will be manually edited later. For this example I chose Albania and Vodafone as the country and provider respectively as it has minimal configuration changes
    New Mobile Broadband Connection - Select Service Provider
  4. Give the connection a name: “dst.internet”
    New Mobile Broadband Connection - Name it / Summary
  5. Go to Network connections (System > Preferences > Network Connections) and edit the newly created connection
    Network Connections - Edit new connection
  6. Ensure the configuration is as follows:
    • Number: *99#
    • APN: dst.internet
    • Username and password can be left blank
    • If the Albania > Vodafone settings were used, only the APN needs to be changed

    Edit connection - Mobile Broadband Tab

    Edit connection - PPP Settings Tab

    Edit connection - PPP Settings Tab - Configure Methods...

    Edit connection - IPv4 Settings Tab

    Edit connection - IPv4 Settings Tab - Routes 

  7. Left click the network manager applet and connect to the newly created “dst.internet” connection

    Connect to dst.internet via Network Manager applet

  8. Enjoy your mobile broadband =)
    Connection Information 

Now I wonder if this works for the DST Go! and bmobile Zoom! modems….

Troubleshooting Note

If you have a problem connecting please note this bug that causes the connection to timeout if there is a shell running as root. So close all terminals open. It took me 2 hours to figure this out so I hope you won’t have to suffer the same.

Using your phone as a modem via USB

image35

Though Bluetooth is a nice wireless way to use your phone as a modem, Bluetooth has it’s issues and sometimes it’s just not worth it when you can connect your phone via USB easily and without fuss. Using a USB cable would ensure faster transfer speeds over Bluetooth, if the maximum Bluetooth speed is capping your speed, and would also utilize less battery from your phone thereby giving advantages if you don’t mind the wires flowing around

Requirements:

  • Ensure your phone is configured to be able to connect to the Internet (example for DSTCom Brunei)
  • Drivers for the phone to be recognized as a modem on your computer (should be on CD that comes with the phone, or in the installed software, or possibly find it online)

Notes:

  • Following guide is done on Windows XP, if you need a Mac version, do lend me your Mac and I can tried make 1 for you =)
  • To obtain maximum connection speeds, the modem’s maximum speed to maximum as detailed here

 

For All Phones

  1. Connect the phone and install necessary drivers to recognize phone as a modem
  2. Open up “Network Connections” in the “Control Panel” and a new connection should be created
    image41
  3. Use that connection and dial *99# to connect to the Internet
     

For Nokia Phones

Continue reading “Using your phone as a modem via USB”

Using your phone as a Bluetooth modem

As a follow up to “Configuring your phone for mobile Internet (DST)”, in this post I’ll detail how to use  your phone as a Bluetooth modem freeing you from the mess of wires and also providing a way to utilize tethering without installing bloated phone software like the Nokia PC Suite. Using this method also allows DST users with 3G SIM cards and 3G/3.5G capable phones to enjoy the great speeds of DST’s Go! without having to subscribe the the DST Go! service or buying the Go! SIM card or buying the USB modem.

Requirements:

  • Phone with Bluetooth
  • Computer with Bluetooth
  • SIM card with credit (duh)

Requirements for high speed Internet over 3G/3.5G

  • 3G/3.5G phone in 3G mode (3G only or dual mode is acceptable but not GSM)
  • 3G SIM card
  • 3G phone signal (for Nokia phones it is shown with a little “3G” icon under the regular signal bar)

Note1: if phone/SIM does not meet 3G requirements or no 3G signal is available, the phone will fall back to slower GPRS / Edge connection, but the Internet will still be accessible.

Note2: Not all 3G/3.5G phones are created equally and each have a maximum 3G speed that it can obtain. This can hinder These details can be obtained online from places such as GSMArena.com. E.g. Nokia 6680 max 3G speed of 384 kbps, Nokia E51: max speed of 3.6 Mbps.

My current configuration setup:

  • Windows XP Professional
  • Using “dst.internet” as the access point
  • HP Compaq nx6320 notebook
  • Nokia E51 / Nokia 6680 / Nokia 3110c

The following is the brief outline of the procedure utilizing “My Bluetooth Places” software provided by WIDCOMM preinstalled with the notebook, however the concept stays the same over any computer / Bluetooth software:

  1. Pair phone and computer
  2. Configure phone as a Bluetooth modem
  3. Create network connection dialing *99#
  4. Optional: set extra initialization command to:
       +CGDCONT=,,”dst.internet”
           where “dst.internet” is the access point to connect to

Despite the maximum speed defined in the modem settings is 921600 bps (= 900 kbps) which is less than 3.6 Mbps or 7.2 Mbps offered by Go! and typical phones, I have managed to get 1.5 Mbps connections using this Bluetooth method my previous speed tests so I’m not really sure what’s up with that.

Nokia Phones with Nokia PC Suite

Refer to this post. It is for USB connection, but follows the same concept

Detailed Pictorial

Continue reading “Using your phone as a Bluetooth modem”

DST 3G speed tests

While I did get a DST GO! SIM card quite a while back just to see how it is, I am reluctant to call these GO! speed tests as they were done on my phone with a 3G Easi SIM card, not a GO! SIM card. Basically all mobile phone customers of DSTCom (Prima or Easi) can enjoy the fast speeds of GO! without having to spend anything extra, so long as you have the following

  • 3G / 3.5G phone
  • 3G SIM card

Note: Not all 3G/3.5G phones are created equally and each have a maximum 3G speed that it can obtain. These details can be obtained online from places such as GSMArena.com. E.g. Nokia 6680 max 3G speed of 384 kbps, Nokia E51: max speed of 3.6 Mbps.

Jalan Kebangsaan Lama

 

UBD: Institute of Medicine

 

Configuring your phone for mobile Internet (DST/bmobile, Brunei)

Note: for Android configuration refer to this post

With mobile Internet being very cheap on DSTCom (B$0.05/MB) we all wish to to be surfing the ‘net but before that your phone needs to be configured to do so. The settings supplied by DSTCom are:

For Internet access
Name: DSTInternet
APN: dst.internet
Username: <no username>
Password: <no password>

For MMS
Name: DSTMMS
APN: dst.mms
Username: mms
Password: mms
MMS Server: http://mms.dst.com.bn/mmsc
Proxy Address: 10.100.6.101
Port No: 3130

However it’s not always easy translating these settings to your phone. I recently had issues with a friend’s Sony Ericsson G502 being a Nokia person myself.

Update 1: Due to search requests on bmobile internet connection I shall add it here based on the findings of Hazarry’s work here (PDF file) and bmobile’s iPhone settings.
Bmobile’s APN: bmobilewap. More detailed configuration can be found

For Internet access
Name: bmobilewap
APN: bmobilewap
Username: <no username>
Password: <no password>
Proxy Server Address & port (these settings seem optional as they are not listed in bmobile’s settings PDFs)
HTTP: 129.9.10.20:6500
WAP: 129.9.10.20:6500
Socks: 129.9.10.20:1080

For MMS
Name: bmobile MMS
APN: bmobilemms
Username: <no username>
Password: <no password>
Proxy Server Address & port: 129.9.10.20:6500
Socks: 129.9.10.20:1080

Server Name : B‐Mobile MMS
Gateway : 129.9.10.20
Port Number : 6500
Server Address : http://mms.bmobile.com.bn/was
Connect Via : MMS Servers
Size Limit : 300K
WAP Version : WAP 2.0
GPRS Authentication: PAP

–End of Update 1

Nokia E51 Configuration

Continue reading “Configuring your phone for mobile Internet (DST/bmobile, Brunei)”

DST’s OntheGo! on the fritz?

So DST just launched it’s OntheGo! service which is a “mobile portal product by DSTCom providing information and entertainment contents which can be accessed by all DSTCom customers on 3G as well as on GPRS/EDGE.” (yet again with the ‘!’ at the end of the name). It seems like a competitor to bmobile’s mobi.TV but as you can see from the completely different channel selections they are for different target groups.

OntheGo! mobi.TV
Rates Various as below $9.90 for 16 channels (does not state if there is a charge for streaming, which I believe there would be)
News CNN CBNC,Al Jeezera
Sports ESPN Sports Golf Asian Tour, Extreme Sports
Entertainment Disney, Nickelodeon, Astro Ria, and Astro AEC fashionTV, F Men, Luxe TV, Asian Food Channel, Travel Channel, Fun Little Movies, E!, Fish Tales, Animax, Taffy Kids
Music MTV, Astro Hitz C Music, Trace TV
OntheGo! Rates
Browsing Free except for Mobile ESPN & Star SPorts Mobile $1 each per month. Islamic Portal $3 per month and data charges apply for Facebook, Yahoo!, Daily News, Simpur Mobile Portal & Music Chart
Video On Demand
< 2 minutes clip $0.30 per view / $0.50 per download
>= 2 minutes clip $0.50 per view / $0.80 per download
Video stream $0.05 per min
Live stream $0.05 per min
Webcams $0.05 per min
Downloads
Ringtones, Phone Themes, Screensavers $1.50 per download
Wallpapers, Calendars, MMS Greetings $0.50 per download
MMS Uploading $0.05 per MMS
Games $4.00 per download

OntheGo! is trying to do more than mobi.TV by being a portal like iTunes which has it’s music store, video store and application store. It’s trying to be a one stop shop which for the moment. And I say this just from the information I get online (Brunei Times | Brudirect | Borneo Bulletin) because I can’t access the site on my phone / on my computer / via a proxy so I can’t take a look at what it’s like. I like the fact that they are trying to build media access on the go, however I think we still need better backend work. I’ve heard complaints about DST Go! speed, probably due to everybody jumping on that band wagon thus sharing the speed within the area of usage and I still get GPRS connection errors now and again. And I guess they should get the website up, running and ready when the news is out! Because that is totally unacceptable.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Of DST’s Go! and bmobile’s Zoom! (why must the names have an exclaimation mark?)

*Updated to add bmobile’s Macbook Air, Macbook, Viao offerings

So we people in Brunei finally have mobile broadband. For those who don’t know b-mobile launched their Zoom! service on the 4th April 2008 and now we have DST’s competing solution of GO! which was introduced on the 1st of May. Both are based on HSDPA which is a 3G protocol and require a 3G capable SIM card that allows voice, SMS and data.

When I first heard about Zoom! a month ago with its “up to” 3.6 Mbps connection I was intrigued and interested (which mobile warrior wouldn’t be?) so I went down to their road show at the Mall. So I went up to the guy to ask a few questions and he told me that there was 3 different speed tiers something like 1Mbps, 3.6 Mbps and something else that I can’t remember. After talking the one of the guys at their booth in the 2nd Brunei Consumer Fair last night I was told that they indeed do NOT have any tiers: just a single 7.2 Mbps (upgraded from 3.6 Mbps to meet the competition). Talk about misinformation. And the guy didn’t even want to tell me the prices plans. The guy was a bit unsure of the product as I asked if I needed to install special software for the device and whether it was cross platform and he said no. So I asked him if I were to boot into OS X or Linux would it work as well? Then he said something like no you need to install software from the CD. I take it, he was talking about the drivers but I honestly wonder how good is the Linux support as it does seem that they have Windows & Mac support which is nice but more on this later. So initially the Zoom! package is 3.6Mbps with 2GB of free data and $0.50/MB after the free usage. That how I read it until I went to the fine print or the FAQ page where it says that there is a cap of $40 on the excess data charges beyond which you are not charged, i.e. in other words for those who download loads of stuff it’s basically base price + $40 for unlimited usage. Now there comes to my other problem I had. What is the base price? It is not the listed on the website. Only after talking to them last night I found out the monthly charge just for the service is $59! So in total that would be $99 (at most) for unlimited data.

So come the 1st of May and GO! arrives and we get to see what offerings DST has up their sleeve has they had practically a month to see how Zoom! did and to strategize in order to compete. And after getting the details (all online I might add, as Jerudong Park Amphitheatre is a pretty long way to go just for the roadshow, and I just don’t have the time right now) I can say that they have indeed put up a great offer. 2 distinct plans: Basic and Unlimited (nice to see that they actually defined it properly). Prices for the basic: $38 with 2GB free data after which it’s $0.20/MB. The bill is capped at $88 (after which I assume it’s unlimited data) while the Unlimited package goes for $78. Both come with a free Simpur email account which is nice but nothing fantastic (Unlimited plan gets you Simpur Email Alert, which I guess is SMS to your phone?).

Now both solutions offer package deals with laptops and such but GO! even has a package with a wireless router (Ericsson W25 Router) that even has USB ports that support both print server and mass storage (and it better considering it cost’s $600)! b-mobile offers a Dell Vostro 1400 / HP Compaq V3700 / Asus EEE PC900. Yup that’s right the EEE PC900!! When I saw that In the papers on Friday I was estatic so I went there and only found a 701 so I was about to ‘scold’ them for getting my hopes up but decided not to. I asked them to show me how it work’s on the EEE but conveniently they didn’t have a modem to test it with. They didn’t have a modem to test it with? At a road show where you are supposed to be demoing the product? Perhaps the modem broke or something like that but still I doubt there is a good excuse for it. The guy did tell me that it does work in Linux but how true can that be if I dont’ see it before my very eyes. Now it has dawned on me I think they mean the 701 NOT the 900 because in specifications listed from a brochure they handed out it says “Intel Celeron 900MHz, 512MB RAM, 4GB SSD Drive, Display size 7″, Resolution 800×480”!!!!!!! Man and this isn’t the first time advertisement isn’t just right.

Here are the things I asked:

Me: Are you guys really giving out laptop?
b.mobile guy: Well, no actually, we’re loaning laptops. Meaning, you will have to purchase our laptop and modem when you decide to subscribe to our service.

Me: (Oh. -_-“ Why didn’t I think of that? How silly I am. I forgot there’s NOTHING free in this world)

Me: So, why is it written free here on the leaflet? (Finger pointing to the leaflet)
b.mobile guy: That…errmm…well…

Me: Never mind. Do I really have to buy your laptop when I subscribe? I mean, I already got one at home. Can I just buy the modem?
b.mobile guy: I’m sorry, sir. You really need to buy the laptop too.

Source: DENCORPORATION

Unless of course this is just another case of the people with wrong information / bad communication. But anyway so I was suprised to see in the papers today b-mobile response to GO!
b-mobile's new offering
So finally they made a fine distinction between their Unlimited and Lite plans but what I don’t get is the “Local Data usage capped at $70” for the Unlimited plan. And there they show the “Asus EEE PC 900” which is a picture of the 701 as you can see the black bezel of around the screen that isn’t there in the 900…. (I’m sorry if I love the EEE too much but I did spark the current subnotebook / netbook revolution and I believe this form of mobility goes back to my PDA days, but I digress). But even with this new ad they still haven’t overcome one of their main problems clearly defining their costs and terms and this ambigiouty would cause me to sway to DST’s GO!. Also take note that GO! offers prepaid broadband with the following details

  • $0.05 per Mb
  • License Fees: $25
  • Preloaded Balance: $10
  • Validity 15 days

So all in all the following is a quick run down comparison of Zoom! and GO!

Zoom! GO!
Lite Unlimited Basic Unlimited
Max download speed 7.2Mbps
Free data 2GB 2GB
Excess data charge

$0.50/MB

$0.20/MB

Monthly Fee $30*? Local data capped at $70 $60*? Local data capped at $70?? $38 $78
Deposit $50 (locals) / $100 (foreigners)
Annual License $25
Extras

  • Free 450 min (voice)
  • Free 50 min (video)
  • Free 50 SMS
  • Free 10 MMS

(only for calls between b-mobile and b-mobile / Telbru phones)

  • Free 1000 min (voice)
  • Free 200 min (video)
  • Free 800 SMS
  • Free 30 MMS

(only for calls between b-mobile and b-mobile / Telbru
phones)

  • Simpur Email Account
  • Supplementary GO! Broadband monthly discounts:
    • Basic: $3
    • Unlimited: $5
  • Subsidy for yearly subscriptions
    • Basic:
      • 1 year: $100
      • 2years: $300
    • Unlimited:
      • 1 year: $300 (i.e. free modem)
      • 2years: $600 (i.e. free router)

Simpur Email Alert
Packages

  • USB Modem @ $300
  • Laptop with modem:

    • Dell Vostro 1400: as low as $40/month*
    • HP Compaq V3700: as low as $38/month*
    • Asus EEE PC 900701? as low as $38/month*
    • Macbook Air $99/month# (only 1st 50 subscriptions), Unlimited plan
    • Macbook $70/month#, Unlimited plan
    • Sony Vaio CR35 $80/month#, Unlimited plan

  • USB Modem @ $300
  • Router @ $600
  • Laptop with modem:

    • Acer Aspire 4920-6A2G16Mi:
      $48/month
      48 months contract
      GO! Basic
    • Dell Inspiron 1420
      $78/month
      30 months contract
      GO! Unlimited
    • Dell XPS M1330
      $88/month
      Contract length not stated
      GO! Unlimited
    • Macbook 2.1GHz
      $88/month
      Contract length not stated
      GO! Unlimited

OS Support

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Linux (supposedly)

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Linux (no mention)

‘Fine’ print * prices based on a 60 month period by installments
# prices based on 36 month subscription plan

Now b-mobile has a good offering for those who want an all-in-one solution for your mobile communications as it has both phone and data on the same SIM card (only problem) would be taking it out from the modem and put into a phone. However the free minutes and SMS/MMS are only applicable for communicating with other b-mobile / Telbru lines and, correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe most people are still with DST be it for familiarity or be it for cost effectiveness thus these free bonuses will not cover your entire monthly phone (non-data) usage. Thus I will guess I have to give the edge to DST’s GO! as I am currently still using EASI (~$25/month) and I’m strictly only looking for a data plan. But I have to commend b-mobile in it being the first to market and being quick in it’s response to the GO! prices. Indeed this is what competition is supposed to do and I’m glad that there is some. But with that if I had any advice to b-mobile it would be as follows

  • Please make your terms clear because we all want to know as much as we can before committing to such a service (especially with 60 months installments!)
  • Do not try to hide the facts this only adds suspician and confusion to your possible clients. E.g. prices: perhaps I can’t find a nice definitive monthly fee, so if there is one and I have missed it, my apologies. The brochure I got yesterday states that the Dell laptop is a “High Performance Multimedia Laptop”. Just give us the model number like the HP Compaq and Asus EEE PC (refer to last point). But this is nicely stated in the newspaper ad so why couldn’t it be in the brochure as well?
  • Make sure your staff understands the service so that they do not give out wrong information
  • Get your facts right. If you are offering an Asus EEE PC 900 I might be a customer, but if not please correct the details, misinformation will hurt your image and ‘cheated’ customers, who don’t get what they think they are getting, are not fun do deal with

Whoa super long post and that took quite a lot of my time but I guess it’s the technolust of wanting to be a true mobile warrior with my access on the go (on GO!… ok bad pun but whatever). My current toss-up between an Asus EEE PC 701 / Asus EEE PC 900 / HP Mini-Note 2133 / Macbook is making my head spin wanting good battery life but something small to carry. The Macbook is only there for easy video creation that’s all, unless Linux video editors have a major milestone (not that it is horrendous, in fact it’s pretty good what you can get for free, but there are some little annoyances that annoy me a bit too much).

P.S. I wonder if it is possible just to use a regular 3G phone as a modem via AT commands and sorts thus bypassing a need for a modem entirely. That would be the best so you can use just your phone and anytime you want it on your laptop/computer just use a USB datacacble / bluetooth.