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Old 01-03-2005, 02:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
Mark Rejhon
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Can I Dial My ISP?
A: No, you cannot and you should not. You should use the existing Internet connection that is built into the BlackBerry, which is accessed by simply dialing *99# .... You can probably access your ISP email normally, regardless, though.

Q: Will It Cost Money To Stay Connected?
A: You can stay connected 24/7 without any airtime charges. It's the amount of data you download that matters. BlackBerry is always-on and it costs nothing to simply idle in a connected manner, if you're not running any software. Make sure Windows Updates are disabled for dialup connections, as you don't want Windows to gobble up bandwidth.

Q: What Data Download Charges Will I Incur?
For some carriers such as Rogers, the data charges will come out of the same existing BlackBerry plan that is used for email and web browsing. If you are on an unlimited data plan, be very careful! For example, Rogers Unlimited has a hidden 25 megabyte softcap on the Unlimited plan. AT&T charges separately for data. Some carriers are very generous with their unlimited plans; so you may never run into trouble. T-Mobile charges $29.99 extra for truly unlimited data. Other carriers may charge more (up to $150 for unlimited data). Other carriers will hit you with extra charges even on an unlimited plan. Surfing through the laptop will no doubt consume data more quickly. Instant message chats do not take much bandwidth, while heavy web surfing will gobble a lot of your data.

Q: I have BES. Can I use data over my BES connection instead of carrier data?
A: You can do this by using Shark Modem instead, at MobiShark Online Blackberry Store: Blackberry as a modem. This is third party modem software that can bypass several limitations of the modem software built into the BlackBerry.

Q: Why Use A Laptop?
A: A laptop is still useful for occasional untethered use for things BlackBerry cannot easily do inexpensively for the average user, such as grabbing a forgotten PowerPoint presentation from your home desktop computer via remote control, or running a proprietary application. Chatting via instant messaging is a lot more fun on a regular laptop keyboard if you're parked at a Starbucks or sitting on a 3-hour train trip. You can also write your occasional 2-hour-long supersized email reply by laptop keyboard instead of BlackBerry thumb keyboard. You can easily send Microsoft Office attachments directly from your laptop. Even from hotel while travelling. Some web pages will not load on the BlackBerry itself. Online banking. Etc.

Q: I use Cingular. It doesn't work!
A: It works now, but it is tricky to set up at first. You have to telephone Cingular and ask for these line items to be added to your Cingular bill, if it does not already show up on your Cingular bill, called "Wireless Internet Express" and "Wireless Internet Express Data Connect":
Next, you need to use the proper APN username and APN password as follows, in all uppercase, when you start the "BlackBerry Modem" connection when using Cingular:
Username: [email address]
Password: CINGULAR1
It is very important to make sure that all the WIX lineitems are already on your bill, including "Wireless Internet Express DATA CONNECT". This is required for tethered modem operation with Cingular. Once this is done, then there is no more port blocking anymore! Sometimes these items are removed from your account occasionally (such as on January 1st start of year), so you may have to call them to get them re-added. Occasionally, you may need to override the nameservers and specify your own DNS nameservers. Please see the below for more information. As an alternative, if you use BES, you can use modem over MDS instead by using Shark Modem.

Q: I get an Error 692 when I try to connect!
A: This problem is because the BlackBerry is not visible as a modem to the computer. Please make sure that the instructions are followed correctly. If necessary, upgrade your handheld OS to 4.2 and your BlackBerry Desktop to 4.2. This will increase your chances of full modem functionality.

Q: I get an Error 628 when I try to connect!
A: Several causes exist, but the most common cause is when the BlackBerry is manually added as a "Standard 56000 Modem". Re-add it as a "Standard 33600 Modem" instead. For more information, see
Solving Error 628 and 692.

Q: I get an Error 718 when I try to connect!
A: This problem happens most often on Cingular and T-Mobile. It looks like you may have a DNS server issue. You may need to manually configure your DNS servers. To configure, follow these steps:
1. Go to Start->Network Connections->Show All Connections
2. Right-click your BlackBerry Internet icon, select Properties.
3. A window will open. Click the Server Types tab.
4. Click TCP/IP Settings.
5. Select "Use the following DNS server addresses:"
6a. If you use Cingular, enter: and
6b. If you use T-Mobile, enter: and
6c. If you use another carrier, enter: and (or recommended DNS)
Further information can also be found in this thread.

Q: I use ACMEMobility Inc. What Special Config String Do I need In Step 8?
A: In order to create a custom initialization string, you need to read this APN Settings link. For Step 8, replace the "XXX" in this string with the APN listed in the APN Settings document.
If an APN username or password is required, you can enter them when you start the "BlackBerry Modem" connection from Start Menu->Network Connections.

Q: I tried that on another carrier. It doesn't work!
Test some non-web Internet applications on your BlackBerry first, such as Verichat. Configure your Options->TCP settings. Your carrier needs to support TCP/IP without need for MDS. If other applications such as Verichat or WebMessenger do not yet work on your BlackBerry, you will have to look at other alternatives such as getting BES hosting.

Q: I use Vodafone, which is supposed to work. It doesn't!
A: Your carrier may have APN disabled for your phone. You may need to give them a phone call and ask them to add the Access Point Name (APN) to your phone number for Internet access on your cellphone. Please look up the APN Settings and then call your carrier and tell them the APN you want added for Internet access on your cellphone. If they don't know what you are talking about, ask to be escalated to Level 2 or ask them to transfer to another customer service representative that knows what the three-letter acronym APN stands for.

Q: Why is web browsing the only thing I can do? Nothing else works, not even MSN, ICQ, telnet, FTP.
A: This is carrier-dependant. Some people can use telnet and FTP over BlackBerryModem just fine. However, you cannot do so with certian carriers. For example, by default T-Mobile and Cingular blocks all ports on their APN except for port 80, which prevents you from doing anything except web browsing. You have to telephone your carrier to add the appropriate data service to your plan (which may cost extra). You may need to manually override your DNS server.

Q: What is the download performance of the BlackBerry modem?
A: For GPRS BlackBerries such as 7290, speeds go up to about 5 to 5.5 kilobytes per second in good coverage areas. Most of the time, downloads range between 1 and 4 kilobytes per second. The experience should be similiar to a 56k dial-up modem. Be noted, pings are fairly high at >500ms, so BlackBerry Modem is not usually suitable for fast-paced online videogames.

Q: I use a BES. Can I use BlackBerryModem through my BES/MDS instead?
A: There is likely a special initialization string needed in order to do this. At this time, this special initialization string is unknown. Please feel free to experiment...

Q: I use a BlackBerry 7510 or 7280. Can I use BlackBerryModem?
A: There is no modem built into these devices. To use these devices as a modem for laptop, you have to use third-party software such as Shark Modem.

Q: Who Succeeded With BlackBerry Modem?
A: There is a list of success reports found in this thread, as well as another thread that lists successful system configurations:

Q: BlackBerry Modem still doesn't work for me!
A: ....Older BlackBerries that were designed before October do not have any handheld-side modem drivers available at this time, are you sure you are using a 7100, 7290, 7520, or newer BlackBerry?
...If you are getting no modem initialization at all, remove your Windows-side modem drivers and let them be detected again.
...Use only the Desktop that came on the CDROM included with a BlackBerry 7100 or 7290. If not, try downloading BlackBerry Desktop 4.0 only if you did not get a disc.
...Also, disable IP header compression in the new Step 10 added to this post.
...Test other software such as Verichat on your BlackBerry to make sure they work, before trying BlackBerry Modem.
...Finally, if your company is using a BES (4.0 or later), make sure they have the "BlackBerry IPModem" setting turned on.
...Try telephoning your carrier to get the Access Point Name added (See this list of APN by carrier), even T-Mobile sometimes forgets to add "" to your BlackBerry. A phone call may be necessary before BlackBerry Modem works!
...If all else fails, try third party modem software, such as Shark Modem.

Q: Can I do Bluetooth tethering?
A: As of BlackBerryOS 4.0 and 4.1, you cannot. However, Shark Modem is mentioned to have the Bluetooth tethering capability, probably by the time you read this.

Q: What is the difference between Shark Modem and this?
A: This FAQ mainly covers the modem capability built into BlackBerry by RIM. However, not all BlackBerry models can be tethered to a laptop, and many carriers disable this modem feature. Most BlackBerries, however, will function with Shark Modem, especially if you are using BES. Also, Shark Modem will support Bluetooth tethering, where BlackBerryOS 4.0 and 4.1 does not. Shark Modem can be found at MobiShark Online Blackberry Store: Blackberry as a modem.

Q: Where Did This Information Come From?
A: This is a listing of all known original posts:

This is a "Mark Rejhon BlackBerry FAQ" article.
Copyright (C) 2005 by Mark Rejhon, All Rights Reserved. Some portions may be Copyright (C) by respective forum members.
Mark Rejhon grants permission to use this article only for private use. For all other uses, please ask Mark Rejhon at Mark Rejhon - aka Marky - Home Page of Mark D. Rejhon to ask for permission to use this article. If any content of this article also contains content by other forum members, please ask them for permission too as well. This includes commercial use, public use, reposting in full/part anywhere on the Internet, publication in magazine/book or any other media, or any other use than private use. This copyright notice may not be edited or removed in any manner. Mark Rejhon reserves exclusive right to edit, remove, or restore this article, and this article may not be edited, removed, or restored by any other individual or organizations.
Mark Rejhon
Author of XMPP extension XEP-0301: - specification - open source

Last edited by Mark Rejhon : 06-12-2007 at 01:30 PM.