How-To: Using Your Nokia Phone as a Modem

12 May

Originally this was supposed to be a new phone preview, but alas – there are no new phones (other than that rumored e62i which I do have to write about soon, more about that at a later time). So instead I’m going to write up a quick how-to on getting your Nokia phone set up to connect to your laptop.

Tether your phone to your laptop. Not a ball!

Learn to tether your phone to your laptop.

First, you have to make sure that your phone supports some type of data transfer, whether it’s GPRS, EDGE, HSDPA/3G or whatever. Every smartphone that Nokia sells (at least the Nseries line) supports some kind of packet data.

Next, you’ll need some kind of connectivity between your device and the laptop. Bluetooth and IR (infra-red) both work, but you might want to use a standard USB cable for speed (not to mention saving previous battery life). Infra-red generally sucks, as the IR ports on both devices need to be facing each other and in fairly close proximity. Don’t forget to install the Nokia PC Suite if you have a Nokia phone as this is required to get your connection working.

After you’ve successfully determined that your cell phone will indeed work as a modem, you need to correctly provision your account through your service provider. Cingular, T-mobile, Verizon, etc. Basically this means that you need to have the wireless internet feature applied to your account. Here’s a quick rundown with Cingular, my current service provider:

Cingular offers 3 types of wireless internet for different devices (and at drastically different prices too). MEdia Net, Smartphone Connect, and Laptop Connect. The obvious train of thought would be the laptop connect, considering it is by far the most expensive plan of the bunch, would have the most bandwidth available. Not so. To be honest, all three (even the lowly MEdia net plans) allow the same bandwidth usage. HOWEVER, you’re “expected” to use only a certain amount of bandwidth depending on your device – and Cingular knows exactly what phone you’re using and how much bandwidth you’re taking up.

Bottom line for Cingular is if you’re looking to download a lot of “stuff,” don’t get the MEdia Net plan because Cingular has been known to remove customers from the plan without warning (allowable under their Terms of Service). If you’re careful or planning on doing only moderate web surfing, you can just get an unlimited MEdia net plan and “tether” it to your laptop as another wireless Internet connection.

Now back to the tutorial. Once you’ve gotten past this potential obstacle, congratulations! You’re pretty much there. All you need to do is connect your phone to the laptop via your own connectivity method (USB cable, Bluetooth, IR, remember?), run the Nokia PC Suite software, select the “Connect to the Internet” option, and finally click CONNECT.

If all goes well, your phone should be providing a wireless connection. One note: you can receive calls while connected to the Internet. However, once you pick up a call (or initiate a call), your connection will be interrupted (put on pause, sort of) until you hang up.

Hopefully this helps out some people who’ve been having problems trying to get wireless internet on their laptops.

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