Your Smartphone as a Bluetooth Modem for Your Laptop

By Kris Kumar on Monday, January 24, 2005

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Smartphones, in spite of their small form factor, pack in a lot of power and functionality. And combine that with the unlimited Internet data plans that are now available from most carriers, you get a powerful mobile device that lets you check email and surf the Net. Sometimes you may run into the limitations of the small screen and the lack of keyboard/thumb-board. That's when the Bluetooth functionality and a laptop can come in handy. So the next time you're on vacation or on a business trip and want to reply to your emails, you can connect your laptop to the Internet using your Smartphone as the modem.

The following How-To article takes you through the steps required to connect your Smartphone and laptop using Bluetooth, so that the laptop can access the Internet using the Smartphone's data plan.
- Smartphone with Bluetooth [e.g. Audiovox SMT5600, Motorola MPx220];
- Windows XP Service Pack 2 based laptop with Bluetooth;
- Internet Data Plan with the carrier, unlimited data plan is preferred.

Please note that for this step-by-step guide the Microsoft Bluetooth components are being used. These come standard with Windows XP Service Pack 2. In case you are running a different Bluetooth stack [e.g. a vendor specific one], then some of the desktop based screen shots may vary. But the overall steps and the sequence should be the same as illustrated by this guide.

Before you begin, please verify that the Smartphone's Outlook mailbox and Pocket Internet Explorer can connect to the Internet. Perform mailbox sync or browse to a Web page on the device. If you are unable to connect, then verify the settings under Start->Settings->Data Connections. You can use the My Windows Mobile Website to configure your device.

In case you are using a Bluetooth dongle on your laptop, ensure that the dongle is plugged in and Bluetooth is enabled on the laptop.

Let's begin the configuration process.

Step one: Launch Bluetooth manager on your laptop.

Figure 1: On your laptop, click on the Bluetooth icon in the system taskbar and click on the menu item titled "Open Bluetooth Settings".

Figure 2: In case you do not see the icon in the system taskbar, try the Control Panel.

Figure 3: This is the Bluetooth settings applet on your laptop that will help you establish a connection with a Bluetooth Smartphone.

Step two: Make Smartphone discoverable via Bluetooth.

Figure 4: On your Smartphone, click Start->Settings->Bluetooth. Select "Discoverable" and click "Done".

You are about begin a process which is called pairing in Bluetooth lingo. This process involves discovering the Smartphone via Bluetooth on your laptop and establishing a connection between the two.

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