Articles

While this post relates to things in South Africa, it also contains lots of useful information about using your phone as a modem and therefore anyone can either use the same info regardless of were they are, or easily adapt it

You will find lots of info on this site relating to Opera Mini, which is a browser that works on Mobile WAP phones – I recommend that you should install on your phone, its great to have, it cuts your costs of internet down greatly and there is another BIG PLUS if you know that Opera Mini is working on your phone, then you know that it can connect to the internet, so the first place you need to start is here, before you tie yourself up in knots wondering if the Blue Tooth Adaptor is working, is this software loaded properly, are there things you need to edit, change or run – Your phone has to be set up to access the Internet, it will not do so out of the box because it does not know which service provider you will be using

There are lots of reasons why it is cheaper to use a mobile service, first is that you currently you do not have to pay an ISP charge(normally R45 – 80 a month) you do not have to pay for a fixed line phone service (nearly R 140,00 a month without making one call) and you only pay for that data that you use, not the time spent… and talking of time, you are not subject to this callmore curfew BS – it is the same rate through out the day – MTN CellC and Vodacom charge R2,00 per Meg or you can purchase data bundles for lower prices. Virginmobile can give you pre-paid data access at 60 cents a meg, the bottom line is that you should be able to get by on anything for 15 – 50 Rand a month – Virgin (ZA) currently do not have a 3G service and speeds are GPRS sometimes EDGE

A lot of mobile phones these days can connect to the Internet via WAP – they can also be used as modems and connect the PC to the Internet, this can either be done with either USB or Bluetooth. As with most things in life, there are a few things that you need to look into. Firstly what operating system the computer has, some of the software for the phones will not work with older versions of Windows, like Windows 98 or Millennium for example. Motorola phone Tools 4 works fine with Windows 98 and Windows XP and 2000 – It does not work with Windows 7 – Samsung PC Suite 3 however is designed to start running on Windows 2000 (SP4) and XP – putting this into perspective, an old P1 computer with 32 Meg of RAM will run fine with Windows 98 and a Motorola V360 – but will not work with a Samsung e250 because it would need at least Windows 2000 also the chance of it running nicely or up-grading the P1 are not that good – If you are going to be using an old PC and need a USB port for either the USB cable or Bluetooth dongle, you might want to have a look at the USB article

Blue Tooth vs Cable

Next is cable and Software, does the phone come with software or do you have to buy it? Is it going to cost less to get a Bluetooth dongle or a USB cable – Which leads us to the pros and cons of Bluetooth vs.USB – Both work fine, Bluetooth is a cordless connection and works with a Bluetooth dongle that is inserted into a USB port, basically it can normally work around the house, a USB connection has to be physically connected to the phone via a USB cable which normally cannot be more than five metres in distance, it has the advantage of being able to charge the phone while connected, but repeated plugging in a cable will cause wear in the power plug – It is always better to be informed of what your options are and then make your decision from there, for example if you have a phone that you use daily and take it with you, perhaps the Bluetooth option is better, if you have a phone that has a broken display or faulty battery maybe the USB cable would be better, for example the Motorola V360 uses a standard USB Mini cable, which a lot of cameras, MP3 players use, so you might have that cable already, some of the old Nokia phones use a special USB cable which can set you back at least R 130,00 and they are not easy to configure. Generally you can purchase a Blue Tooth dongle for about R 60-80

Once in a blue Moon

They set up for Bluetooth falls into two groups, here is what you need to know for Windows. If you want to use software that is designed to run with the phone under Windows, for example the Samsung PC Suite or the Nokia Suite then you have to purchase a dongle that installs it into Windows Control panel, not all dongles do this, in fact it is a rule of thumb that the more the dongle costs the better chance that it will work, with the really nice ones installing themselves as you plug them in

OK so how do you work out which is which? Well you can ask at the place you purchased it… read the book or PDF on the Disk, or you end up doing this – insert the dongle, Windows will pop up the age old message new hardware found, you tell it No you don’t want it to go on a wild goose chase and click next, if it is the type that installs into control panel it will find the drivers on the disk that it came with and install it, once it is in Control Panel you can then double click on the Blue Tooth Icon and pair the device, if it did not install into control panel, even after a re-boot then it is plan B

Chances are the dongle come with a software disk that has Blue Soleil (Blue Sun, or the Sun in a blue Sky) This is great for connecting older systems via bluetooth, for example Windows 98 but does not work for programs like Samsung PC Suite and Nokia Suite. In which case you will have to use Blue Soleil as you linking and dialling software. Do not have the dongle inserted, load the software on the disk and reboot the system, once the system is running insert the dongle, it should automatically find the device and load the drivers, if the Blue Soliel control panel has not come up on screen automatically there should be a Blue Tooth Icon on the desktop or on the taskbar, double click on them and it should open up. It should at some point ask you what type of security you want, the default is medium, which is fine for setting up and most usage. You now need to pair the phone and the PC – the phone must have its Blue Tooth service turn on, not be hidden and sometimes has to be discoverable or find me – Once that is done you can then ask Blue Soleil to search for devices, once it has found your phone you then need to pair it, you right click on the phone that is now in the Blue Soleil control panel and then click on Pair Device – a box comes up with enter number… so put in something like 12345 then click OK – Your phone then should go BEEP and ask you do you want to pair with the PC you say yes and then put in the same number and confirm – The two devices are now paired

Dialling out

If you know that the phone can get onto the Internet because it works with Opera Mini the next few steps should be easy, if you double click on the phone it should then work away and highlight / activate – The phone Icon is for dialling out, the others are for file transfer and testing. Double click on the Phone Icon and it should Set up and install the DUN (Dial Up Networking) Bluetooth modem, tell you that its on IRQ 14 or something like that – it should then come up with the dial out screen – Normally there should be no user name and no password, so back space any names that might be there and Click dial – With any luck you should connect and be able to use your Internet explorer and email program – One thing you should bear in mind is that you are charged for data used and not time spent so the first thing you need to check is that you are not leaking data, there is another article you should read on this called running on silent, which basically means that if you are connected to the Internet and not doing anything, ie no browser or email program open, then you should not be using any data, if you are you need to know what it is and decide if you want to plug the leak, generally it will be programs up-dating, like Windows or your Anti Virus / Spyware program – the faster your modem the quicker it will go, it is quite common to see first time users with small bundles and 3G modems having their data bundle zapped in a few minutes with nothing to show for it as the up-dates need to start from scratch – Anyway enough of that read the article for a better understanding

Problems you might encounter

Setting the APN – Connecting to the Internet can require a APN name, which in most cases is Internet, however for Virginmobile (ZA) it is vdata – If the APN name is not correct then you will not be able to connect… So what do you do if your APN is not listed in a program, as is the case of Virginmobile users in South Africa using Samsung PC Suite 3.0 It does not have a Virgin ZA setting and you cannot type in the vdata APN as it is greyed out. Here’s what you do, have a look at what the dial up string is for South Africa Vodacom, write it down, then select Other Country, this will then you to type in vdata into the APN box and then you just need to type in the dial up string and away you go
This is something that you have to remember when you are setting up other phones for Virginmobile, you have to change the APN to vdata – with Motorola phone tools once you have established the dial-up you would need to right click on the Internet Icon of the phone on display, goto properties, right click on the ISP link, again goto properties, click on the Identification tab and change the APN to vdata

Another problem you will get with the APN is sometimes using a Blue Tooth connection, it will dial out but give you an error that it could not establish a connection, this is a problem that I have had with a good few Vodacom accounts and also when trying to set-up a connection in Windows 7 – What you need to do is but the APN setting into the modem string – you can cut and paste the following:

at+cgdcont=1,”ip”,”internet”

To find were you need to paste it, goto Control panel, Phones and Modems, double click on Blue Tooth DUN modem, click on the Advanced tab at the top, paste in the string, click apply, click OK – This applies to any APN name, so for example if you had a problem connecting to VirginMobile South Africa you would put in the following string

at+cgdcont=1,”ip”,”vdata”

And if the APN for a service was xdatas then you would put that name in the last bit

Speeds and Stuff

3G and higher is fine, but as mentioned you need to be careful about data leaks, also you most of the time need to buy a Data bundle which can expire within a two month window (used to be one month) You can either get a 3G modem or a 3G phone, you need to weigh that one up, which would be more use to you, with 3G you should be able to run Skype Voice and maybe some Video, what YouTube movies and surf the net with good speed – EDGE or 2G is not too bad and it comes with a lot of your smaller phones like the Samsung e250 or the Motorola v360 – You should be able to do Voice Skype, surf the net and download emails, but YouTube Videos will stop and Start as they need to gather more data – GPRS is the bottom of the range and while it is a bit better than dial up it is not the best of connections. As one person pointed out to me once, and this is a point well worth considering…. If the very first Cellphones were capable of sending and receiving voice (from one phone to another) how come it is a pain to get it done with next generation phones, 2G and 3G