BlackBerry How To: Tether Your PC to the Internet via Smartphone

Get Internet connectivity via PC anywhere using your BlackBerry. CIO.com's BlackBerry black belt Al Sacco explains how to "tether" a Windows PC to the Internet using your RIM smartphone's wireless network connection.

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Thu, July 08, 2010

CIO — Sayonara spotty hotel Internet. Au revoir overloaded coffee-shop wireless. Bye-bye pricey airport Wi-Fi.

If you have a BlackBerry with a strong wireless connection, you may never have to deal with such unappealing connectivity options again. As long as you know how to tether that BlackBerry to your PC to share its connection, that is.


BlackBerry Desktop Manager Connected IP Modem Screen
BlackBerry Desktop Manager Connected IP Modem Screen

More than two years ago, I penned my first tutorial on how to use a Research In Motion (RIM) (RIM) BlackBerry smartphone to connect a Windows PC to the Internet, a.k.a., how to "tether" your PC to a BlackBerry and utilize its Web connection. It would be an understatement to say a lot has changed since then--in both the mobile/smartphone industry and from a tethering-perspective.

For example, setting up a BlackBerry tether connection used to require a lot of heavy-lifting; my first tutorial on BlackBerry tethering consisted of pages and pages of in-depth instructions. I wrote a second, equally-long post on how to wirelessly tether using with a Bluetooth-enabled PC.

Good news: Today, RIM's own, free BlackBerry Desktop Manager software does most of the work for you. And you can also purchase third-party apps that make tethering even more simple, while circumventing certain wireless carriers tethering fees. (More on that coming in the next section.)

Since the process has changed so drastically, I've decided to post up a new, improved tutorial on how to connect your Windows PC to the Web using a BlackBerry smartphone and the latest version of RIM's BlackBerry Desktop Manager.

Keep moving for step-by-step instruction on BlackBerry/PC tethering. And don't forget to peruse my BlackBerry Bible for mounds of additional BlackBerry tips and tricks, free apps, device reviews and much more.

BlackBerry Tethering: How to Connect a Windows PC to the Web via RIM Smartphone

First things first, you need to download and install the latest version of RIM's BlackBerry Desktop Manager, available here. BlackBerry Desktop Manager is currently available for both Windows and Macintosh computers, however, the two pieces of software have quite different functionalities. I will be focusing on the Windows version of Desktop Manager in this particular tutorial, since the Mac version makes tethering significantly more complicated. Desktop Manager is available for Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. (Read more about BlackBerry Desktop Manager for Mac here.)

You should also check in with your wireless service provider before attempting to use your BlackBerry to connect a PC to the Internet, because some companies charge pricey tether-fees after the fact and others require you to enable a special tethering feature on your account.

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