Bluetooth internet sharing: Unwire your Treo 650, using your Mac.

39 Comments

Recently, I was fortunate enough to get a Cingular-branded Treo 650 for my birthday. This was an upgrade from my Treo 270, and included a number of new features including Bluetooth and an SD slot for PalmOne peripherals and SD memory cards. Since I’m a geek, the first question I had was “Can I get email on it?”

The answer is yes, and fairly easily. Cingular offers a number of data plans that would let you download a set amount of data for so much a month. However, the first question I had for myself was “Do I really want to pay twenty to thirty bucks a month extra for my data plan? Also, do I want to pay if I go over?” Cingular does offer an unlimited download plan, but I didn’t want to pay eighty dollars extra a month for the privilege of saving myself from overage charges. In that case, what other options did I have?

Two options were fairly obvious to me: use WiFi or Bluetooth.

WiFi can be enabled on the Treo 650, courtesy of Shadowmite over at TreoCentral. Essentially, Shadowmite wrote a patch to the Treo 650’s ROM to allow it to use the Tungsten T5’s WiFi drivers. The downside to this approach is that, if you mess up, you could hose your Treo. Also, the WiFi card is $130. Based on the risk factor and the fact that I didn’t want to spend $130, I chose to pursue my other option: Bluetooth. If anyone reading this has managed to get WiFi working on their Treo, please let me know in the comments how well it’s working for you .

Since I’d ruled out WiFi and paying Cingular lots of money, that left Bluetooth. In my innocence, I’d thought this would be relatively simple, like enabling Internet Sharing to run out over Bluetooth. That turned out not to be the case. The relevant issue was that the Treo 650, because it’s using the Palm OS, doesn’t really like to have background processes running. It can do it, but doesn’t like it. (As a side note, for Treo users of Salling Clicker, that means that your Treo 650 will not be able to do the phone events or proximity events with Salling Clicker that other Bluetooth-equipped phones can do. Any Salling Clicker function that has the Salling Clicker program open and running on your Treo work great, so Salling Clicker is still a great tool for your Treo and I’ve had a lot of fun with it.) Since internet connectiviy generally runs in the background, I needed to do it in a way that made Palm OS 5.4.5 happy with it.

Since I was planning on having a Mac serving as an always-on Bluetooth base station, I set up my fiancee’s older 333MHz G3 iMac with 192 megs of RAM and installed Mac OS X 10.3.8 on it. For my Bluetooth connection, I added this CompUSA-branded Bluetooth USB adapter since it boasted a 150 meter range and I wanted to be able to be able to connect from anywhere in or around my house. All work that I’m describing was tried on that machine.

Once I had my iMac set up and recognizing the plug-and-play Bluetooth adapter, I started looking on VersionTracker, to see if anyone had written a program to do what I was asking. Searching on “bluetooth internet”, I found two freeware programs that said they would do what I needed. I tried both of them, with varying degrees of success.

The first one I tried was Bluetooth to Internet Utility. The key problem here seemed to be that I needed my Treo to be able to make a PPP connection, and I couldn’t see a way to do that. Attempting to configure my Treo to connect to a PC over Bluetooth, then designating my Bluetooth iMac as the PC in question, also didn’t work. The program looked like it was running fine on my Mac, I just couldn’t get my Treo to connect to it.

The next one I tried was Share2Blue2th 3.1, which worked to a point. I could set it up easily, and it would let my Treo connect to it by letting me configure my Treo to connect to a PC over Bluetooth, then designating my Bluetooth iMac as the PC in question. But, as soon as I made a connection, the program instantly crashed and took the connection with it.

Discouraged, I starting Googling to see if anyone else had earlier tried the same thing that I was attempting to do. Most entries pointed me back towards the two programs that I had already tried, or described sharing a Mac to Mac bluetooth connection. Then I saw this entry on Bruce McKenzie’s Bioneural blog. At first glance, it was showing me how to set up the same PPP setup that Bluetooth to Internet Utility used, and I had failed with. But down at the bottom, I noticed this note:

Update 07.08.04:

There is now a much, much easier way to share your Mac’s Internet connection to your Palm, via Bluetooth or USB. See here.

So I went there and found my answer: The Missing Sync for Palm OS 4.0.3, now with internet sharing over your USB sync cable or Bluetooth. I bought and installed Missing Sync on my Bluetooth iMac, re-paired my Treo with the iMac to make sure there weren’t any encryption problems, made sure that my Treo’s settings matched the walkthrough that Mark/Space thoughtfully provided, and turned on internet sharing. Then, I went back to my Treo, opened VersaMail and hit the “Get” button to download my email from my .Mac account. Worked flawlessly the very first time. It has also worked flawlessly up to the thirtieth time, so I’m willing to rely on the trend continuing. It also works for Blazer, the Treo’s web browser. Another nice thing with Missing Sync is that you can install it on two machines, so I also installed it on my PowerBook and take the Bluetooth sharing with me to work. My PowerBook, with its built-in Bluetooth, doesn’t have the 150 meter range that my home Bluetooth iMac has, but then I generally don’t need it to.

To sum up, of all the options I found out there to get internet connectivity onto my Treo, using Bluetooth proved overall to be the most inexpensive way to do it. For Bluetooth internet sharing, using The Missing Sync for Palm OS 4.x, while not free, was the most pain-free way to do it.

39 Comments

Glen

I just converted from Windows to an iMac. Pretty much my last remaining issue to get back to how I had life working before the switch is to sync my Verizon Treo 650 for my contact and calendar info. Of course, after stumbling over this forum, I may have higher aspirations of actually getting email on my Treo. But the main thing is appts and contacts. I bought e2sync, but the documentation is sparse, as best I can figure maybe I haven’t adequately ‘paired’ my phone with the iMac, though it shows up in preferences. Anyway, sorry to bother people, if someone can point me to some basic info for dummies it would be helpful, or should I just get the Missing Sync software?

Palm5fingers

SRI, Did you figure it out for a WinXP computer or your MAC. Just got my Treo650 and want to hook up to laptop to surf when traveling. Just flat don’t know how! Can I use my HotSync cable to connect the two? HELP

sri

Nevermind! I figured it out. Actually, a information doc called OReilly Palm and Treo Hacks 2005 made eveyrthing clear and helped me set it up in a matter of few mins. There is no software to buy or install. Everything you need is already on your computer and PALM. Now i’m surfing the net on my TREO 650! It’s simply amazing!

sri

Rich,

Thanks for the information on this topic, I’ve been wanting to try this for a while and seeing that you’ve made it work for a Treo 650, makes me wanting to as well.

I have a couple of questions. How did you set up the TREO to connect to the computer? My menus on the treo are very limited, nothing like the pictures at WHIZOO.COM. All I have in the “setup devices” on the treo are “hands-free setup” and “hotsync setup.” No where does it say connect to a network.

The second problem/question is that I use my laptop(a Sony) to connect. It has a builtin Bluetooth and its crummy. Doesnt support WICOMM stack at all. The hotsync does work well though. Every website ive come across says I need a working WIDCOMM prowered BT, but is there a way around it?

Thanks for your help!

Wilco

So this works great on my mac.
But at work I am using a windows machine.
Any ideas on how to set this up on a windows machine?

khalil

who is your plan throug? my dun doesn’t actually dial, but allows my treo to share its internet with my laptop. so nom it doesn’t burn minutes at all.

Rich Trouton

khalil,

Yes, in fact I relied on DUN pretty heavily during a trip I took over Labor Day weekend. (I didn’t feel like paying Marriott $10/day for highspeed in my room.) I had a couple of glitches where it timed out on me (both times after more than twenty minutes of use), but it was pretty solid. It was definitely more solid than my previously hacked DUN.

Where’s your problem coming in? Is it connecting, but timing out? Or is there the problem with getting it connected at all?

khalil

Rich,

Have you used DUN on Cingular since it’s been enabled with the last update? I’ve tried, but can’t seem to make it work. Any ideas or direction would be helpful…

Rich Trouton

Roger,

I haven’t have any problem connecting to my Bluetooth-equipped iMac in my basement, using both Salling Clicker and the Bluetooth-shared internet, from my Treo 650 while I’ve been up on the second floor of my house. Your mileage may vary, but that’s been my experience.

Roger Colbeck

I use a WinXP PC and Softick PPP to make my Bluetooth connection. I did not know I could use Blazer (called Web on my Rogers’ Treo 650) due to that “phone-on” message but I just tried it and sure enough it is using Bluetooth.

BTW, do you really get long range with that adapter? Is this in both directions? I want to run PalmVNC on my Treo in the house and be able to use it all over the house. This means the Bluetooth connection will have to have long range in both directions.

Thanks, …Roger

Rich Trouton

Jeff,

Whoever you talked to at Sprint was misinformed. They released an update a few months back to allow dial-up networking for your iBook via your Treo 650 (this is to allow your iBook to connect to your Treo over Bluetooth and use the Treo as a dial-up modem.) See here: http://vocaro.com/trevor/treo-dun/

If you want to share your iBook’s internet connection with your Treo 650, the Missing Sync is your best bet.

Jeff

Has anyone connected using Sprint? I have an ibook G4 w/built-in Bluetooth, but Sprint was a dead end for information on connections they say they do not support connections via the Treo 650.

Possibly the Missing Sync would work as well?

khalil

Rich said it much better than I. I was posting from my Treo, which generally calls for a bit more brevity.

Rich – have you upgraded with Cingular’s latest stuff for the Treo?

khalil

Take a look at the missing sync. I’ve found it to be well worth the money.

Mark

Rich,

I’m having problems syncing my Palm Zire 72 with Tiger.

I’m getting a treo 650 in a week and I want to know how you manage to sync your palm with your mac…

thanks for you time

the error is some type of conduit problem…

khalil

Rich – Thanks for the info. I am hesitant to call Cingular because just about all the forums make clear that they are not supposed to sell MediaNet to Treo users and if there is a fix, I’m trying to find it before falling into the last resort.

The only thing my Treo didn’t have in the preferences was the CINGULAR1 password. I added it, but no luck.

I may do a hard reset. I was hesitant because I didnt want to lose my pictures and what not, but I’ve already gotten them off the Treo. And I’m looking forward to using those instructions on attaching my PB to the phone as a modem after I get the MediaNet working again.

Rich Trouton

khalil,

I did wind up subscribing to Cingular’s $19.99/month Media Net Unlimited data plan and it works great on my Treo. I didn’t switch from the MediaWorks plan before getting this activated, so I don’t know if your problem is related to your recent changeover from that or not. I can report that mine works great, and I’ve used the instructions that Trevor Harmon so graciously posted on his site (http://vocaro.com/trevor/treo-dun/) to set up my Mac to be able to use my Treo’s GPRS connection as a wireless modem.

My best advice would be to check to make sure that your Network preferences on your Treo are set up as follows:

Service: Cingular GPRS
Connection: GPRS
User Name: [email protected]
Password: CINGULAR1
APN: wap.cingular

If it’s not set up like that, make a copy of your existing Network settings and set them up like that. I believe all settings are case-sensitive.

If rebuilding your network prefs doesn’t work, give Cingular a yell as they may have not set up your account right.

As a last resort, back everything on your Treo up, then do a hard reset. Before restoring everything back, give connecting a try. If it’s still not working after that, give Cingular another call as something’s wrong and it’s probably not on your Treo.

John Keller

Rich – thanks for the information. I tried using Blazer with Bluetooth internet sharing and the phone turned off. It seems to be working, and not charing the data to my bill, although its disconcerting that the phone has to be turned on.

khalil – I don’t know how accurate my information is, but when I got my Treo 650 they wouldn’t let, or didn’t want, me get the mediaNet package since they classify the 650 as a phone. It looks like it might not include general internet access, just access to the mediaNet resources.

khalil

So did you ever subscribe to a data package? I had the “unlimited media works” plan with Cingular which is really unlimited mms and sms and 5mb a month of internet access. The same guy who sold my phone to me gave me that option. I called yesterday and asked that he switch my options to the medianet package unlimited – the $19.99 a month package that gives you unlimited internet access. It is supposedly the same as the $39.99 PDAnet package Cingular markets to Treo owners. Honestly, the reason I changed plans is because I’m afraid I’ll go over the 5mb on email and I haven’t experimented at all with any of the other Treo internet apps and programs for fear of having a huge bill. Anyhow, he said that he would do it, I should wait about an hour, turn my phone off then back on and it would be set up.

I waited a few hours, turned off my phone, turned it back on, and tried to download my email from my mac.com account, which I’d done numerous times with the Treo on the mediaworks plan. It went through the same process it normally does, but after hitting the signing on screen, it says “Canceling” then shows a red X and tells me that it is “Unable to Establish PPP Connection.” Additionally, it won’t let me access internet pages or send and receive SMS/MMS.

I’ve turned the phone on and off many times, done multiple layers of resets (all but the one that erases all my data on the phone, mainly because I don’t want to lose my pictures). That said, since starting this post I used the Missing Sync to share bluetooth internet access with my phone and have emailed myself all my pictures, so I guess I can to a hard complete reset, but am still afraid to lose all my info and don’t want to have to go through the pain of setting everything up once again.

If you’ve figured out anything I’d love to know.

Rich Trouton

Blazer doesn’t work with the phone off, but if your Network settings (found in the Preferences on your Treo) are set to use Bluetooth internet sharing for your internet connection, your phone isn’t used for the connection. So, even though the phone is on, Blazer is not using it to connect to the internet. The main way to tell is to watch for small green arrows to show up next to your signal indicator. If the green arrows are there, it’s using your phone for the connection. If they aren’t there, Blazer’s using another source (i.e. Bluetooth via Missing Sync’s internet sharing) for its internet connection.

John Keller

I’ve followed a shorter path to use Missing Sync, and while it works for my Cingular Treo 650 for the most part, Blazer refuses to use anything but the phone for its connection. If I try and use Blazer with the phone off, it continually asks me to turn the phone on to connect, even though there’s an active connection set up through Missing Sync. Has anyone run into this and/or found a way around it?

Fred

If their anything like this available for windows machines?

Kevin

I have the Wireless Internet Express plan for 19.95/mo and use it with my Nokia 9300 (yeah. I’m writing this from the 9300). This gives you unlimted IP access (HTTP,POP.IMAP, etc) over GPRS or better yet EDGE (as with the 650 & 9300/9500’s). I average downloads at about 75-100 kbs over EDGE.

Disregard the Cingular FAQ. No offense, but it’s outdated and for dummies. Cingular needs to rework their pricing plans – I believe the $40 data plan was available when Wireless Internet Express was by the MB only.

There is a whole bunch of discussion on http://www.treonauts.com regarding the Cingular data plans. Get WIX unlimted and enjoy EDGE just about everywhere.

Adam

You can get unlimited data from Cingular for $25 a month. I think they call it the MediaNet plan

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