Computer/Internet Issues & TroubleshootingAnyone with questions about the terribly complex world of computers or the internet should try here. We will also try and help with troubleshooting any technical problems you may have with the forums.
I currently use a Nokia 6280 as a data modem via Bluetooth with my notebook to access the Internet when out and about and all other means of connection are unavailable. Yes, it's unbelievably slow but for checking emails and the odd cached site it works. I always have loads of contract mins spare, so it's just time intensive as I can't justify the expense of a data card. I use my old tiscali dial-up account phone number which normally works fine. However last week it refused connection and terminated the call after 20 secs. I re-tried in more than one location but no joy. What I did notice was the signal display on the phone showed the words 3g rather than the usual T symbol. Once back to the normal signal it worked. Was it just a busy network, do I need to change my settings or is it really time to get with the real world and buy a 3g data card and pay for my usage.
Any suggestions or comments would be appreciated as I know very little about mobile phones.
Sounds like you are using your phone as a dial-up modem, dialling your ISP.
This uses the basic GSM data rate of 9.6k (which is also used for WAP, I believe). Some carriers e.g. Orange support higher speeds (28k?). There are also hacks (involving special init strings) which grab more GSM time slots and increase the data rate, but you pay for it and I don't know if it still works (it used to a few years back).
What you need is GPRS or 3G. The latter has lousy coverage but I find GPRS works everywhere so far (Europe & USA) where there is GSM. Not necessarily on the network which the phone immediately prefers to connect to, but I have not yet not had a GPRS connection. GPRS runs at about 25k; double that in the USA (on Voda, anyway). 3G runs at about 10x that - if you can get it. Most 3G phones (or PCMCIA cards) will fall back to GPRS automatically.
With GPRS, there is no number to dial as such; it is always something like *99# and you don't dial an ISP; the network is the ISP. This means some TCP/IP ports can be blocked, and your SMTP server name needs to be reconfigured (if you are using the ISP's one). Same for Usenet.
Unfortunately a lot of the stuff on that URL immediately above is out of date. It's a good site but the detailed info keeps changing. The Vodafone APNs have changed, for example; this is a fast changing business where different APNs are used for different kinds of customers, not just PAYG v. contract.
You can buy a Voda PAYG SIM card but depending on which retail channel it came through you will have a different APN and a potentially very different cost/MB.
My personal favourite is the old Sierra 750 GSM/GPRS PCMCIA card. This also does fax with Winfax. I have some notes on usage - PM me if this is of interest. You can pick these up on Ebay, and if you get one of the Vodafone-badged ones complete with a SIM card, it might be one of the rare £3/MB sort; normal rate is £10/MB or so. I also have the software for them. These are great for simple internet connectivity with a laptop.
I too use a nokia (6310i) to access the internet from my laptop via bluetooth and Tiscali.
I recently bought a new laptop and gave my brother my old laptop and created a tiscali account for him to use. When I set up his account, I noticed that the dial-up phone number has changed!!
I use to use 0844 057 5000 Now they're putting it out as 0844 052 9009
PS. Have you worked out a cheaper way of using this kind of setup? No-one will allow a mobile to access a contract-ISP account (0800 or 0808), so 0844/0845 is the only way to go as PAYG at 5p/min off-peak and not included in mobile inclusive minutes. I also have lots of unused inclusive minutes each month, but still have to pay 5p/min for internet access.
About a year ago I was offered a deal by T-Mobile. 2GB (virtually unlimited if you ask me) of GPRS traffic for £4.99. I took them up on the offer. In the last few months I've been using it across the country. Never had any problems with it and it makes a fine backup Internet connection for the home. Only issue is certain VPN tunneling protocols do not work through it, although SMTP and POP work fine. See if you're provider is doing a similar deal.
I currently use the following combination:
Nokia N70 mobile phone USB Cable (comes with phone and I prefer using it because bluetooth canes the battery) Latest version of Nokia PC Suite installed on the laptop.
Thanks for all your help and advice with this, I'm still looking at options especially with regards to 3G and GPRS.
unclenelli - I use 0845 6614681 to call Tiscali. o2 just deduct time from my contract mins, I've never paid for a connection. I got this number from Tiscali years ago before broadband, as BT wouldn't allow 0844 to be a friends and family number.
Superpilot - great deal from T-Mobile, I doubt o2 have such an offer but my contract is up shortly so it maybe time to switch operator.
Seems I had my phone set to the default of dual network mode and automatic searching. This always seems to prefer 3G. Changing to GSM and manual works as a stopgap for the moment.
I also didn't realise for voice calls etc, when outside the UK, if you change to manual and browse the available networks it is possible to get a UK provider and only pay the standard call costs instead of international/European charges. My friend did this in Amsterdam and connected to Orange instead of the default. He had to forgo his free mins as he was also on o2 but still saved himself a fortune!
No-one will allow a mobile to access a contract-ISP account
Most half decent ISPs (so, not the Tiscali-type crowd) will give you a number which can be dialled over GSM, so you can usually find a way to dial it from abroad too. It won't be a free call from abroad, and I guess there may be a problem with dialling free numbers over GSM anyway (never really thought about that; usually it isn't allowed).
Dialling up one's ISP directly is a very versatile old tried and tested way of getting internet access worldwide. Pricey and slow but when it works, it works and there won't be any network-controlled port blocking because the network doesn't see the protocol. For all it cares, you could be sending a fax.
GPRS or 3G is the way to go forward, but the GSM network provider (the one who the SIM card came from) is now your ISP, so you need access to an authenticating SMTP server if you want to transmit emails. I have one set up on a server at the office, and there are commercial outfits (and decent business ISPs) that will provide these too.
The T-Mobile GPRS deal is, I suspect, limited to the UK. You can get bundles which are usable abroad but only on more pricey contracts.
It's the old problem: PAYG or contract.... unless you are firmly at one or other end of the data usage scale, there is no easy solution.
Hi I've read through all the above but am still struggling. I have an iPaq 114 which I use to get weather and NOTAMs as a last resort when I can't find a computer. I used to connect via Bluetooth to my Nokia 6500 and thence to Orange. This was great for what I needed but would often fail due to poor Orange coverage.
Because of the poor Orange coverage when out in the sticks, I signed up to O2 on an 18month contract. They sent me a shiny new Nokia 6500 classic.
Since then I have been unable to connect my PDA to the internet.
I have got the settings and can browse the internet on the phone. I can establish a connection between the PDA and the phone. BUT no data seems to get transferred. I've tried everything on the FileSaveAs.com site to no avail. I 've even tried using BtInternet's (my ISP) dialup number 0121 4789 200 again no joy - the PDA gets the phone to dial the number but fails to receive data. (Dialling the number from the handset gives me the high pitched modem tones.)
I called O2. They say "it's our policy not to allow our handsets to be used as modems" and won't help any further. They want me to buy their USB-stick mobile broadband thing (but this won't plug into a PDA) OR sign up for an iPhone.
Is it something I'm doing wrong? Or have O2 somehow blocked the phone's ability to send data over bluetooth to another device?
Any ideas gratefully received (apart from going back to orange/buying an iPhone etc)
You need to set your iPaQ to dial a certain code using the bluetooth connection. You'll have to hunt on the net for this, but it's usually some like *#99#, this will open the internet connection on the mobile's side. The iPAQ cannot automatically initiate an internet connection.
Have been a vodafone customer for as long as mobiles have existed and I always buy my phones unlocked in the UAE. Never had a problem switching my SIM from one to another and use my current fav a Nokia E90 as a 'last resort' for data transfer (USB connection), also use my E90 to pick up emails directly (not Blackberry or 'push' email) if I haven't taken my laptop with me never had a problem anywhere connecting to any network! data transfer costs can vary but they've never been an issue for me as I'll only use this method as a fall back if all else has failed
Thanks for your suggestions - Matanz0- I have set the PDA to dial *99# and, indeed this command gets sent to the phone which then seems to be doing something to dial. (ie I have tried this -it doesn't help)
Bladepilot- do you think it would help unlocking my phone?
Last edited by Figure Of Merit; 22nd May 2009 at 15:15.
Reason: to clarify
FoM Friend of mine who worked for a mobile phone company once tried to explain some Tech stuff to me. He indicated that lock codes can and are used to lock out certain features of phones and are not just associated with SIMS's I'm not Tech Savy enough about that side of mobile phones so cannot comment on the validity of his advice. Believe it or not I've never owned a 'locked' phone always have, always will have unlocked devices. I think this locked to network nonsense should be legally outlawed seems to fly in the face of an open competitive market. Buy your next phone abroad or from the web from a supplier who sells unlocked devices.
Wouldn't do you any harm to try it so long as it doesn't sour your relationship with your provider
No-one will allow a mobile to access a contract-ISP account (0800 or 0808), so 0844/0845 is the only way to go as PAYG at 5p/min off-peak and not included in mobile inclusive minutes. I also have lots of unused inclusive minutes each month, but still have to pay 5p/min for internet access.
If you can find an ISP who will give you a geographic number, you can then use included airtime (free minutes).
When I was using a Vodafone mobile to connect, I used Easynet, who were happy to provide a London (0207) number, and it worked fine (and free) for several years.
I assume this technique still works - I stopped using it a couple of years ago.
The easiest way of doing this would be to set internet connection sharing on your home pc and attach a modem to it - you then set up an incoming account and you can then dial your home number on your minutes allowance.
Of course the downside of that is tying up your phone line for data not voice and losing answer machine functionality - tho some modems are quite clever in pre-answering a call and if no carrier is detected for data then ringing a phone attached to the modem.