Tethering two Nokia phones under OS X

Now I’m running Snow Leopard one thing I needed to set up again was 3G access through my phone for that rare occurrence when my ADSL drops out and I need to raise a support ticket with my ISP (yes, quite) or I’m on the move somewhere.

I currently have a Nokia E71 with T-Mobile as a personal phone which I think will be my last Series 60 device but to be fair, it does seem to sync up with OS X pretty good. I also carry a Nokia E90 with Vodafone that my work provide for on call, it’s basically a glorified portable SSH terminal. I figured it’s probably advisable to set both phones up and as I don’t particularly want to carry cables for both phones (Nokia in their infinite wisdom decided to use a normal mini USB plug on the E90 but some proprietary plug on the E71), just using Bluetooth was good enough for me, so off I went.

Now, if you do this the usual way, you open Bluetooth preferences, search for the one phone and follow the Bluetooth Setup Assistant to pair the device and set up dial-up networking if OS X thinks the device supports it. Then you rinse and repeat for your second phone and here’s where you come unstuck as OS X will overwrite your dial-up networking configuration with whatever you specified the second time around and also will only use the second phone for any dial-up networking. I tried creating a second Bluetooth DUN profile but you’ll find there’s no obvious way to tie the profile to a particular phone.

So how do you do it?

Assuming you’ve not yet paired either phone, proceed to do so for each but when you’re prompted to set up the dial-up networking, just continue without entering any details. This will leave the Bluetooth DUN profile in Network preferences blank, but that’s okay as we won’t be using it.

Now here’s the non-obvious bit. Open up Bluetooth preferences and your two phones should be present in the list of devices, select one and with the little cog menu select the Edit Serial Ports… option. My E71 has a serial port configured here already by default, whereas there are none by default for the E90. In either case add a new serial port with the following settings:

  • Name: This will be something like NokiaE71-Dial-UpNetwork or NokiaE90-Dial-UpNetwork, the default is fine
  • Protocol: Modem
  • Service: Dial-Up Networking
  • Show in Network Preferences

Edit Serial Ports Screenshot

After adding the new port for each phone, OS X should notify you and ask you to configure it. First of all rename the profile which will default to the name of the serial port and isn’t terribly user-friendly, I tend to just use the phone model here. Now, I’m terrible at remembering the 3G details but Ross Barkman’s site is a great resource which lists the settings for many network operators in various countries. For each network I only really need the APN, username and password, for T-Mobile these are:

  • general.t-mobile.uk
  • user
  • pass

And for Vodafone, they’re:

  • internet
  • web
  • web

The username and password go into the Account Name and Password fields, then hit Advanced… and make sure the Vendor and Model are Nokia and GPRS (GSM/3G) respectively, this should make the APN field visible into which you can enter the relevant value.

Now you should be able to hit Connect for either profile and after a few seconds you should be connected, signal permitting.

After working out how to do most of this, I discovered this blog post which walks you through much the same process, with pictures too.

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