Review: Vaio UX180P Bluetooth DUN
Now that I finally have a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone, I decided to test out the Bluetooth dial-up networking (DUN) feature of the UX180P. Assuming you know your carrier’s settings, the process is really quick and easy. These settings can be obtained directly from your service provider or from excellent online resources such as HowardForums.
Although several other methods exist, what follows is a step-by-step guide of what worked for me with my UX, Treo 650, and the T-Mobile Total Internet add-on data plan.
1. Make sure the Bluetooth settings on your phone are correct. This varies by make and model, but here’s what it should look like on a Treo 650. Naming your device "pocketables" is of course optional!
2. Pair the devices. If you want the UX to initiate the pairing, click the "New Connection" button (Start –> All Programs –> Bluetooth –> Bluetooth Settings) and follow the on-screen directions. Leave the username and password fields blank. It doesn’t matter what’s input into the other fields because you can change it later. Here’s a screenshot of my successfully paired devices.
3. Next, click on the newly paired device icon. Tapping the "Detail…" button brings up this screen. Click on "View Details…" under the Setting section of the window.
4. The phone number will most likely show up as *99# (it appeared automatically for me), and while most resources indicate that this is correct, it didn’t work with my Treo. I followed this guide and punched in *99***1# instead. Hit "OK" however many times it takes to close the utility.
5. Now go to Control Panel –> Phone and Modem Options –> Modems tab. Select the Bluetooth modem (Standard 33600 bps Modem) and click "Properties."
6. If you want to set the port speed, click the Modem tab. The maximum speed, as you can see, is 115200.
7. Go to the Advanced tab. Since I have the T-Mobile Total Internet (without VPN) plan, this is what I typed into the field:
If you have the same plan with VPN, input this:
And if you’re signed up with the T-MobileWeb plan, input this: at+cgdcont=1,"IP","wap.voicestream.com"
I don’t know the access point name (APN) for other carriers.
8. Click "OK" and you’re done! Open your Bluetooth settings and double-click the icon to get online anywhere you get a cell phone signal.
The Bluetooth range on the UX is strong and reliable. I left my Treo on the kitchen counter and was still able to browse the web from another room nearly 20 feet away. The radio signal even went through a wall! That’s one of my favorite things about Bluetooth technology. Since it’s not line-of-sight like infrared, I can keep my phone in my purse or pocket and still access the Internet. If it weren’t for the slower speeds, I’d even be able to trick people into thinking I signed up with EDGE!
The speeds are actually better than I expected. It’s definitely faster than traditional dial-up (I know because my parents still refuse to switch to a broadband or cable modem). It’s also faster and much more enjoyable than the less-than-pleasant web experience on my Treo.
I wanted to provide some concrete numbers, but Speedtest.net won’t load correctly for some reason. I don’t understand how Bluetooth DUN could be the culprit, but the site worked via wi-fi and hardwire. If anyone can get the site to load, please post some numbers in the comments section.
Bottom line: For the truly mobile professional who for whatever reason doesn’t want access to the EDGE network, Bluetooth DUN is a simple and effective way to get online just about anywhere.