BlackBerry How To: Use Your RIM Smartphone As a Tethered Modem for Your PC

Use your BlackBerry as a tethered modem to connect your computer to the Web and save yourself countless headaches--and a wad of cash. Follow these four steps and you may never have to tinker with public Wi-Fi hotspots in coffee shops, airports or hotels again.

Tue, May 06, 2008

CIO — During the past few weeks, we've brought you our best BlackBerry tips: keyboard shortcuts, tricks for advanced users, a dozen free software downloads, tips on how to extend your battery life and put that Bluetooth to good use, as well as hints on how to free up your device memory. This week, we'll show you how to use your BlackBerry device to connect a Windows notebook or desktop computer to the Web.

A tethered modem lets you access the Internet with your laptop computer anywhere there's cellular data coverage. Forget about lengthy Wi-Fi hotspot login processes and usage fees.

I've you use a BlackBerry 7130v, Pearl, Curve or 8800 series device it can be employed as a tethered modem. And all of the major U.S. wireless carriers, including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint, allow their BlackBerry devices--as well as some additional smartphones--to be used as tethered modems. However, their charges for the functionality differ dramatically, from as much as $30 on top of existing monthly data plans (AT&T) to nothing at all (T-Mobile).

1) Download and Install RIM BlackBerry Desktop Software

The first step to connecting your Windows notebook or desktop computer to the Internet using your BlackBerry smartphone's data connection: download the BlackBerry Desktop Software from RIM's website or the CD that came with your device. You'll need software version 4.1 or higher to use your BlackBerry as a tethered modem.

This software ensures that you've got the appropriate drivers to enable your BlackBerry to use your computer's USB and virtual COM ports to upload and download Internet data via dial-up connection.

If you find that you're already running an earlier version of BlackBerry Desktop Manager that doesn't support tethering, simply download the updated software from RIM. You may to need repair the software after upgrading from v4.0 to v4.1 if the necessary USB and virtual COM ports can't be found. To do so, simply re-install and select the Repair option.

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