Howto: Bluetooth Internet with Windows XP

Palm Bluetooth Internet setup howto guideTam Hanna has sent in an excellent howto on a free solution for wireless Internet access on your handheld from your Windows XP SP2 desktop computer over Bluetooth. Read on for the full tutorial on how to use m-Router to enable Bluetooth Internet on Windows XP...

m-Router - Free Bluetooth Internet for all of us

by: Tam Hanna

Purchasers of USB Bluetooth dongles usually have to choose between the Windows XP SP2 stack and the manufacturers stack that ships with some of the dongles. Most people will prefer components of the operating system-until they discover that the Microsoft Bluetooth stack doesn’t support Internet connection sharing.

So, one usually goes ahead and downloads/purchases a software like Mocha PPP or Softick PPP (as described in this previous PIC Bluetooth howto). Those programs can cost $10 to $20, and forward incoming serial Bluetooth connections to the network connection of the host PC. M-Router does that too, and it does its work for an unbeatable price: free!

mRouter network diagram

The first step in your M-Router journey involves downloading the M-Router executable from the web site of its developer. Then, install it onto your PC and simply restart the machine.

After that, plug in your Bluetooth dongle into your PC (if it wasn’t plugged in before and assuming you already have it installed). You should then see two icons in the taskbar:

Bluetooth Windows XP icon

The blue B icon stands for the Microsoft Bluetooth Stack, while the other one is M-Router’s icon. Right click M-Router, and then choose Exit to exit the program. Restart it right away (start menu), as the Bluetooth interface needs to be up and ready BEFORE M-Router starts.

OK, the basic network infrastructure is set up now. Time to move on to the “physical link” between your PC and your Palm. Bluetooth lives off so-called trusted connections and paired devices; paired devices are devices that have been “assigned” to one another and “trust” each other when connecting. The mechanics involved here are a bit complex, please look at the Bluetooth documentation if interested.

Right click the Bluetooth icon in your taskbar. Then, click ADD DEVICE (it could be named differently, I have a german box). A wizard will pop up-follow the steps it gives you. Your Palm must have Bluetooth turned on and be discoverable before you start the wizard. And BTW, better check the checkbox “Add to trusted devices” on the Palm when the enter password dialog box pops up:

Then, navigate to the COM PORTS section of the stack and add a new incoming COM port.

After that, right-click M-Router and choose General Settings. Work yourself through all the settings so that they look like this:

m-router palm bluetooth m-router palm bluetooth
m-router palm bluetooth m-router palm bluetooth

Now, the PC side is complete. Restart your Windows box for kicks, relaunch M-Router if necessary.

Lets proceed to the Palm. Open the Prefs app, and create a new Connection. Under Device you would need to select your PC from the Bluetooth pop-up list. Its settings should look similar to this:

palm bluetooth setup palm bluetooth setup

Then, create a new Network link. Obviously, you can (and should) change the names of the connection and network link so that they better fit your needs-I choose Custom and Dongle-BT02 just because I felt that that fit:

palm bluetooth setup palm bluetooth setup palm bluetooth setup

Once this is done, all you need is a click on connect. Also note that most Bluetooth dongles have a maximum range of about 100 meters but PDA are usually have class 2 Bluetooth radios with a range of around 10 meters. So try to stay in the general area of your desktop/laptop for the best connection and speed. After that, feel free to take your Palm with you…free Internet is on your back!

Tam Hanna is a Palm OS developer. You can find his Palm OS software at and he also maintains a blog at TamsPalm.