quick and dirty Windows Blackberry tether

a guide for Windows 7 users

So, recently I needed Internet access at a conference and didn't want to pay for the hotel wireless. Figuring that my BlackBerry could provide me with 'tethered modem' capability, I set out to set it up on my laptop.

Sadly, the default software provided by Verizon does not cut the cheese for x64 machines, or Windows 7. So, here is my guidelines, collected from various places on the internet, for an x64 machine running Windows 7 (should work for x86, haven't tried it), without the 'SmithMicro NationalAccess' stuff that they try to get you to use.

If you have a service provider other than Verizon, some information culled from other sites will assist with modifying these guidelines for your service provider.

Places that I credit for research information are:

Okay, so lets get started:

These instructions are for tethering a BlackBerry device via the USB port, rather than Bluetooth. There are other places on that discuss the bluetooth option, but I'm not going there today.

Step 1: Install Desktop Software and/or BlackBerry Modem Drivers

First, ensure that your computer has the BlackBerry Desktop Software installed. As of this writing, the latest versions of the desktop software is version 5.0. This software can be downloaded from here:


Step 2: Create a Modem Device For Your BlackBerry's Virtual Serial Port

Now, connect your BlackBerry, and key in your password if the Desktop Software asks for it.
Go to your control panel and open the app named 'System', and click the upper right hand link named 'Device Manager'. The device manager should open up. Nagivate the tree to the node named 'Ports'. Open this node.

You'll note one or two 'RIM Virtual Serial Port v2's in the list. Write down the COM port number of the lowest numbered virtual serial port. That's the one we're going to create a 'modem' for. Close the device manager window.

Go to your control panel and open the app named 'Phone And Modem'. If the app asks you about dialing rules, just type in your area code and hit okay.

Under the 'modems' tab, you may see some other modems other than the one you're about to add. Like this:

Ignore them, and hit 'add'. You'll get a box like this:

Check the 'Don't detect my modem' box as seen above. Hit next. Wait for the following dialog to populate the options boxes. Choose '(Standard modem types)' from the left box, and 'Standard 33600 bps Modem' from the right box, as seen below:

The reason for this is that the BlackBerry only accepts a restricted set of AT commands, and if you choose a faster 'bps' modem from this list, Windows will try to use commands that cause connection failures. Your connection speed will not actually be 33600 baud when we're done setting things up, fear not. Hit next.

You'll get a dialog that looks like this (this dialog doesn't have COM4, because i wrote this tutorial after installing the modem...)

Choose, the 'selected ports' radio button, and pick the COM port that you wrote down from the device manager (the lower of the two). Hit next.

At this point, the BlackBerry Desktop Software may ask you to key in your password again. Do that.

Now, hit finish. You're done installing the 'modem'.

Step 3: Create a Network Connection Using The BlackBerry Modem

Go to the control panel, and choose the app named 'Network And Sharing Center'. You'll get a dialog like this:

Under 'change your networking settings', click 'Set up a new connection or network'. You'll see this window:

Choose 'Set up a dial-up connection' as shown above. Hit next. You'll see this:

Choose the modem that you just set up from the list.

Okay, you'll now get this dialog, where you'll put in the information specific to your BlackBerry service provider.

Replace the stuff you see above with the following, based on your service provider:

ProviderDial-up Phone NumberUser NamePasswordInit String
T-Mobile (default)*99#wap[empty]AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","wap.voicestream.com"
T-Mobile (+data plan)*99#wap[empty]AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","internet2.voicestream.com"
T-Mobile (+vpn data plan)*99#wap[empty]AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","internet3.voicestream.com"
T-Mobile (enable compressed images)*99#wap[empty]AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","epc.t-mobile.com"
T-Mobile (blackberry plans)*99#wap[empty]AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","blackberry.net"

If there is an init string for your provider, you'll have to do one extra step here: Go to the control panel, click 'System', and re-open the device manager by clicking the link in the upper left. Now, navigate to 'modems' and right click the modem we just created. Choose 'properties' from the popup menu. Under the tab 'advanced', there's a box for 'Extra initialization commands'. Put the init string in this box and hit OK. Close the device manager and the control panel.

At this point, you should be able to connect to your new connection. Try dialing the connection and see what you get. In theory, this should work. 'It works for me', proceed with caution.