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BlackBerry Bold 9700 and 9650 Series : Connect as a Tethered Modem (part 1) - Understanding the Options for Tethering

5/18/2013 7:59:21 PM
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1. Connecting Your Laptop to the Internet Using Your BlackBerry

Depending on your wireless carrier (phone company) and the type of software you use, you should be able to use your BlackBerry to connect your laptop (PC or Mac) to the Internet. This is called tethered modem or tethering, or sometimes an IP modem. You need the USB cable for PCs. With Macs you can usually tether with Bluetooth, but if that does not work, you can use the USB cable.

NOTE

Not every BlackBerry wireless carrier supports using your BlackBerry as a modem. Please check with your carrier if you have trouble connecting.

1.1. Tethering Your BlackBerry Usually Costs Extra

Most, but not all, wireless carriers charge an extra fee to allow you to use your BlackBerry as a tethered modem, or for dial-up networking or phone-as-modem. Also, you may not be able to connect using your BlackBerry as a modem unless you have specifically signed up for the "BlackBerry as Modem" or similar data plan. We have heard of users getting a surprise phone bill in the hundreds of dollars, even with an "unlimited BlackBerry data plan" because their particular carrier did not include BlackBerry modem data in the unlimited plan.

Some carriers allow you to turn the "BlackBerry as Modem" extra service on and off. Check with your particular carrier. Turn it off when you don't need it if you can. Also, beware that changing turning this modem service on and off might extend or renew your two-year commitment period. Ask your phone company for its policies. Assuming there are no extra hidden costs or commitments, you could just enable it for a scheduled trip and then turn it off when you return home.


We also want to thank Research In Motion, Ltd. and BlackBerry.com for valuable information contained in their extensive BlackBerry Technical Solution Center. We strongly encourage you to visit this site for the latest information on using your BlackBerry as a modem and anything else! Visit http://www.blackberry.com/btsc/supportcentral/supportcentral.do?id=m1, and search for "modem how to."

When searching the BlackBerry Technical Solution Center knowledgebase, do not enter your specific BlackBerry model; use the series. For example, if you have a Bold 9700, enter Bold or 9700 series, or just leave that out of the search.

To locate the modem instructions for your particular BlackBerry, you will need to know the network—3G, EDGE, GPRS, CDMA, EVDO—on which your BlackBerry operates. The Bold 9700 series runs on the 3G/EDGE/GRPS networks.


The steps and software to use your BlackBerry as a modem have changed and continue to change frequently, almost on a monthly basis.

So how can you find the latest information?

Please do a web search using terms like "BlackBerry as Modem," "BlackBerry Tethered Modem," or "BlackBerry IP Modem."

2. Understanding the Options for Tethering

You have a few options to use your BlackBerry as a tethered modem for your laptop:

  • Option 1: Purchase third-party software.

  • Option 2: Use your wireless carrier's software; contact your carried to ask if this is available.

  • Option 3: Use the BlackBerry Desktop Manager Software. This is usually only an option for you if carrier-specific software is not available.

2.1. Purchase Third-Party Software

Tether is a popular option (see Figure 1) and now works for both Windows and Mac computers. Check out its site at www.tether.com. The bonus claimed by Tether is that you do not need to pay for a separate modem plan from your carrier, and you may be able to save a lot on monthly connection charges. Cost for Tether was about $30 at the time of this writing, but the company offers a seven-day free trial, so you can give it a try before you buy.

Figure 1. Tether third-party tethering software

2.2. Use Your Wireless Carrier's Software

Contact your wireless carrier's technical support to find out if they offer software and service plans for this option. Tell them you want to use your BlackBerry as a modem for your laptop. In the United States, AT&T, Sprint/Nextel, and Verizon have simple software (e.g. Communication Manager or Verizon Access Manager) that you can download and install.

2.3. Use Desktop Manager to Connect to the Internet

This works for both Windows and Mac computers. Windows computer users read on below.
 
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