mobile phone for internet, what is right choice?

Constantino Michailidis dinom at
Wed Jun 28 18:26:34 UTC 2006

On Wednesday 28 June 2006 10:44, freebsd-questions-request at wrote:
> > Hello list.
> > What mobile phone would you recommend for connecting freebsd to internet?
> > What about Ubiquam U200?
> I'm using a BenQ-Siemens S68 which connects through a normal 9pin
> serial cable to my laptop, has build-in modem for GPRS. The ppp
> daemon from the ports works out-of-the-box with it, you just plug
> it in, say 'pppd call gprs' (having some config files in /etc/ppp
> for 'gprs') and you are on air.
>         matthias

I can't tell you what the 'right' choice is... but I'll relate my experience 
for you.  I'm using an unlocked motorola e680i worldphone,  it can be used as 
a modem (via usb or bluetooth).  Mostly I connect w/ rfcomm_pppd and a 3COM 
bluetooth adapter (3CREB96); it works reasonably well.  But beware!!!  I have 
experienced random system crashes/reboots after 'heavy' usage in this config 
on my 6.1-stable system (btw, if anyone can help me fix/trace this I'd 
appreciate it).

Otherwise, setup is relatively typical and painless.  IIRC, I needed to 'bond' 
the device and add/edit the rfcomm-dialup profile in /etc/ppp/ppp.conf.  The 
profile resembles:

< rfcomm-dialup:
<  # This is IMPORTANT option
<  enable force-scripts
<  # You might want to change these
<  set authname
<  set authkey
<  set phone "*99***1#"
<  # You might want to adjust dial string as well
<            \"\" AT OK-AT-OK ATE1Q0 OK \\dATDT\\T TIMEOUT 40 CONNECT"
<  set login
<  set timeout 30
<  enable dns
<  resolv rewrite
<  set ifaddr
<  add default HISADDR

If you want to try this profile remove the 'leading less than signs' (this was 
diff output).  Also, the 'phone' number might vary by provider (I'm using 
T-Mobile in USA).  Make sure to read the bluetooth section from the handbook 
(esp. section 27.4.8).  Then when you want to connect you tell the phone to 
go into discoverable 'modem' mode and run the following commands on your 
FreeBSD box (as root?):

$ /etc/rc.bluetooth start ubt0
$ rfcomm_pppd -d -a xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx -c -C DUN -l rfcomm-dialup

Replace the 'xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx' w/ the bluetooth address of your phone, 
replace the 'ubt0' with your computer's bluetooth device name.  When you want 
to disconnect, hit ctrl-c in the terminal which is running rfcomm_ppd and 
stop bluetooth: $ /etc/rc.bluetooth stop ubt0

If you don't have a bluetooth adapter I assume that using the phone's usb 
cable would work too - and likely not crash the system either, lol.  However, 
I'm not familiar w/ that process (using it as a usb modem) so I won't try to 
describe it... but I imagine it's quite similar to using any usb phone modem.

So you know, the phone can act as a mass storage device or modem when 
connected via usb (this is controlled by a setting in the phone).  You may be 
able to tell, I'm pretty happy w/ this linux based phone from motorola.  IMHO 
it's a good value (tough to find in the USA though, had mine imported from 
china).  I mean, the phone provides a wireless connection to the internet AND 
a wireless connection to my computer (using bluetooth) simultaneously, poof 
computer on internet... how cool is that?  It's tri-band gsm, uses regular SD 
flash memory up to 2gb (not mini ones, but full-size), plays mp3s, mp4 (video 
and audio).  About the only thing is that it's kind of a 'special' phone so 
it takes some time to get used to using (e.g. touchscreen, no keypad).

Anyway, data rates are comparable to a 33.6 phone modem but AFAIK this will 
vary /some/ according to how busy the local cell-site is.  Oh, you should 
probably have some kind of data plan w/ your service provider too ;-)  Well, 
that goes without saying.

REMEMBER, this setup (i.e. using rfcomm_pppd) seems to be a *bit* unstable.... 
the random crashes/reboots occur after say ~30-45 minutes of continual/heavy 
use (could just be my particular setup though).  However, for the occasional 
login it works well... just make sure everything is saved, and you're not 
doing anything *too* important on the machine ;-)


Art is Nature speeded up and God slowed down.
		-- Chazal

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