eeePC Internet Connection via Mobile Phone

I came across various instructions for connecting an Ubuntu powered laptop to the internet through your mobile phone’s data connection. My first thought was ‘brilliant’, followed rapidly by ‘ooh this’ll be fiddly’. It requires a bit of manual coding, but using Rahid Hasan’s excellent how-to it just worked first time (that link looks broken now, its also copied here). I can now enable my bluetooth on my eeePC, turn off the wifi, and a get a reasonable connection speed via my Nokia E71 on three. Grand – no more hotspot charges.

UPDATE: This is a little more complicated in Ubuntu 9.10. For some reason pairing the phones doesn’t result in a bond on the refcomm channel. I get the error “In file /etc/ppp/peers/BluetoothDialup: unrecognized option ‘/dev/rfcomm0′”. The following seems to solve it.

To get it working, follow the instructions linked above with the following modifications:

  1. All of the required packages were already installed on Ubuntu 9.04 and 9.10 Netbook Remix, so no need to do any of the sudo apt-get ing
  2. The command to restart bluez-utils is now /etc/init.d/bluetooth restart
  3. Phone specific information: the apn for three is three.co.uk and the data profile number is 1
  4. Check what devices you have with ls /dev Is there one listed as rfcomm? If not, then the following command is required: sudo rfcomm bind 0 xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx zReplace the x’s with your phone’s mac number and the z with your dialup channel number (both found when you follow the linked how to). This command only seems to be required once per session, then you can, in theory, pon and poff as much as you like. Perhaps the solution is to run the command at startup.
  5. I get permission errors unless I run the launch command (pon or poff) with sudo
  6. On launching the connection I get a permission error (only members of group “dip” can use this command) – but no group dip seems to exist. So, use sudo to launch instead.
  7. Start the connection with sudo pon BluetoothDialup And stop it with sudo poff BluetoothDialup NB these commands can be written into custom application launchers through Preferences->Main Menu; but use gksu instead of sudo.

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