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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Phone as Modem without PC Suite / MPT

Sometimes, I find it irritating to run a software just to connect to internet using my 3G phone. Aside from being a memory hogger, accidentally exiting PC Suite or MPT disconnects you from the internet. PC Suite or MPT (or other companion software for your phone) has its purpose. Synchronization, address book, media uploading and downloading, etc. Installing the massive software to use as DUN dialer alone is simply an overkill.

I got the idea when I did the article about connecting to the Internet using SE P990i in Linux. We could assume that this article concerns Microsoft Windows environment as PC Suite and MPT run only in Windows.

Ok, so what do we need?
  • Cable driver for your phone (modem driver)
  • Your provider's valid Access Point Name (or APN) to access the net
  • Administrator account/access (in the target computer)

Modem Drivers

  • For Motorola Phones - Motorola Handset USB Driver (registration required). Alternatively, you can also use "P2k Driver" (do a google, download)
  • For Nokia Phones - Nokia Connectivity Cable Driver (download the one that suits your type of cable)
  • For Sony Ericsson Phones - As far as I can tell, there's no unified driver from SE. You have to download the specific driver for your phone. There's no installable driver-only package for SmartPhones from SE either. You have to download (and install) SEUS or PC Suite for SmartPhones to get the driver. Try to search (google). A repackaged driver-only installer could be around.
  • For other phones, see your phone's manual or online documentation.

Access Point Name (APN)

Know your provider's APN.
  • For Smart subscribers, for anything that concerns internet access - it's "internet". Regardless of subscriber type (post or prepaid). As simple as that.
  • For Globe, I heard they have different APN for different types of subscription or service to be accessed, which makes things complicated. Imagine if you're using at least two SIMs in one phone. One postpaid and one prepaid. You can't just use any of them to access the internet without going to your phone settings and change accordingly.
  • For other providers, call CSR.

The Steps

  • Install your phone's cable/modem driver.
  • Connect your phone. Wait until the phone is properly detected and drivers are installed. Your phone needs to be properly detected and installed before proceeding to the steps below.
  • In your Desktop, right-click "My Computer" then "Manage"
  • From the left-portion of the "Computer Management" window, click "Device Manager"
  • Locate "Modems" in the device-tree, and expand it.
  • Select your phone's modem interface. Right-click on it, and select "Properties".
  • In the device properties, select the "Advanced" tab.
  • In the "Extra initialization commands" box, enter (as shown in the image):
    • AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","[your_apn]"
    • Smart users: AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","internet"
    • Some Globe users: AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP",""

  • Click OK.
  • Create Dial-up connection and use that modem (dial-up# is *99***1#)
  • Connect
The same initialization string could also be used on HSDPA USB modems, as well as Bluetooth modem (BT as modem). I've tested it and works with Huawei E220. Bottom line, the approach is to install the correct cable/modem driver for your phone. Enter the modem initialization string accordingly and you're OK. No need to install dedicated dialer software for your phone. If you have a 3G/UMTS/HSDPA phone, I suggest that you set it in 3G/UMTS/HSDPA only mode, that's for a faster connection.

Good luck!