When I need to connect my laptop to the internet, I always prefer USB cable. It is not as sexy as Bluetooth, on the other hand, the device is recharging all the time. First of all, you need a modem driver for Windows 2000/XP and a simple dial-up utility. Both files are available here: USB Modem & Driver [12KB]. Just download them and unpack:)

Now, we switch the pocket device to the modem mode. It should not be connected to the PC at this moment but an established link is not likely to do any harm. Some of you may remember the first generation of the XDA devices from HTC that required a complicated procedure to switch to a special mode and only then could they act as a modem. This is no longer the case; all you need to do is to run Modem Link (sometimes called Wireless Modem) and set the connection type. In this case, choose USB and tap on the Activate button (ignore what is in the Access Point Name field; you will enforce the right APN during dialling). The device has switched to the modem mode and is ready to connect.

At the moment you connect the modem-enabled Pocket PC to a laptop or desktop computer over USB, the computer will detect it as a new device. Let the system work until you see the same screen as the first one below this paragraph. This informs you that a new device has been found and you are supposed to choose a way of looking for a driver. Select the third option; you do not want to connect to Windows Update. In the next dialogue, you can see that the new device is called HTC USB Modem. Even though the system offers to do this for you, you'd better select the second option to be able to select location of the driver manually. In the next dialogue, choose the folder where you have unpacked USBMDM.INF from he archive and click Next to continue. The system will be working and configuring for a while. If no problems occur, you have installed the modem successfully.

New device found Device found Select the location where you have just unpacked the two files (we need USBMDM.INF specifically) Modem was installed successfully

We are nearly done. You can initialise connection in several ways. I suppose all you need is a procedure that just works, so here is the simplest one: we will use the aforementioned USBModem_Dialer.exe that is part of the ZIP package you had previously unpacked because of the driver, as you may remember. So, run this utility and fill in connection details from your mobile operator. When you are done, click Dial.

Note :: When you run this utility for the first time, it will configure the modem (create an AT initialisation string) and create a new connection under Network Connections (HTC USB Modem (WirelessModem)). Next time, you can connect by the standard way or using the utility, whichever you prefer.

If you followed the procedure correctly, the device will dial, authenticate and connect to the network after which you can start communicating. If not, something has gone wrong and you need to find out what. You may get an error message which would guide you, otherwise you would have to experiment.

Communication over Bluetooth is comfortable in that it does not require a cable connection between the two devices (a laptop and PDA). This is invaluable for instance when the signal is weak and you need to put the modem close to the window or when you simply leave the cable at home. Connecting the two devices over BT will differ according to the BT control application installed on your PC. Nevertheless, the procedure should be virtually the same. There are three main steps:

  • Pairing the devices, ideally using a wizard in the BT application on the PC and using the modem on the PDA
  • Configuring the modem using an AT string
  • Creating a new internet connection using the modem

Let's start with the first step: pairing the devices and using the modem on the PDA. For that, you need fully functional Bluetooth on the PC and activated Bluetooth module on the Wizard in discoverable mode.

Now, run a connection wizard on the PC (New Connection). I am going to show you the procedure in detail, so I opted for the Custom Mode. In the next step, all available Bluetooth devices are identified. If your Pocket PC does not display, check to make sure if Bluetooth is active and set to visible. The device is then checked for supported services. In our case, the HTC Wizard offers only one but very important service, Dial-up Networking. When you click Next, the devices will try to pair.

If everything goes well, the PC should display a window asking for a PIN. It does not matter what you type in (can be 1234); you only need to remember this because you will have to enter the same code in the other device. This protects you against intruders. On the pocket device, first confirm that you realy want to communicate with the PC (Yes) and then enter the PIN. Unless you make mistake, the modem will be installed on the PC and the pocket device will display a list of services to be used by the PC. Check the box at Serial Port and tap on Finish.

We are done with the PDA for the time being but need to do some more setting on the desktop PC. A Bluetooth driver from Toshiba offers comfortable and quick configuration of the newly connected modem. Click on Advanced Modem Settings and enter the following string in the only possible field: AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","APN", where the "APN" should be replaced with APN details of your provider. The last step involves filling in a form where you enter a name for the connection being created in the first field and specify a dial-up string in the second field and leave the rest blank. You can designate this connection as the default one or keep the current default connection unchanged.

That's it. Now select Start -> Settings -> Network connections -> Your new connection and then Dial and you should be connected to the internet within a few seconds.

Errors and error messages

It is a doddle when everything works. However, things may go wrong and you may encounter errors. Windows usually provides at least the error number, so that you have something to start with.

  • Error 633 - modem already in use - check if the modem mode is active. If yes and it is not working, perform a software reset and try connecting again.
  • Error 692 - modem or port hardware error - check if the device is in the is in the airplane mode (deactivated GSM module)
  • Error 734 - PPP control protocol was terminated - check if you have set the APN correctly and whether the initialisation string is correct (that's the expression that begins with AT+...).

Downloads here