What is my best option to connect via dial-up using my Eee PC?
June 13, 2008 12:13 PM   Subscribe

I have a Eee PC 701 4G laptop running Xandros Linux. I also have an Apple USB modem, and a Samsung SPH-A580 cellphone with USB connector and unlimited Internet access. Are there any ways for me to connect via dial-up with what I currently have? If not, any other recommendations?

I am visiting my family this summer and they only have dial-up. DSL and cable Internet are not available in the area.

Like I mentioned above, I have an Apple USB modem which of course works great with my Mac mini. I believe I also have a Windows driver for it on my MacOS X Leopard installation disc. (The modem driver seems to have been installed on my Mac mini's Windows XP with the help of Boot Camp.) But when it comes to using it with my Eee PC, or any other Linux system, I'm lost. I believe the modem has a Motorola chipset, but I don't know which. Is it possible to use it with my laptop? Is there a native driver or will I need to use ndiswrapper?

I also have unlimited Internet on my cellphone, but it is an old model: a Samsung SPH-A580. I don't even know on which band it connects to. (Certainly not 3G!) I have a USB connector for the cellphone, but I have no idea what I can do with it. When I tried it on a Windows computer, it seems to pick up my cellphone as a modem. However, I have no idea how it use it as such. Can it be done on my laptop?

Also, like any other Eee PC, my laptop has an empty RJ-11 port without a connector or a modem inside. If I choose to install one, is it easily feasible? Is it expensive? Is it difficult to set the driver?

I am trying to use what I already have, but if neither the USB modem or cellphone can be used, I'm opened to suggestions. Any other easy and inexpensive ways for me to use my Eee PC to connect via dial-up?

Thanks in advance for all your help!
posted by remi to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You can't use a POTS modem with a cellphone.

If your cellphone has bluetooth, and your network allows it, you can connect directly that way.

Otherwise you're pretty much stuffed.
posted by Mwongozi at 12:28 PM on June 13, 2008

Bluetooth isn't necessary for tethering. Some phones support it via USB, and in some cases USB is preferable because it can support higher speeds.

None of which seem to be a concern with this phone. It does support internet access, but only via the in phone browser.
posted by Good Brain at 1:06 PM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

You can sometimes use the cellphone (connected via USB or otherwise) as a modem - this is called 'tethering'.

As for the Apple USB modem - have you tried connecting it to the Eee yet, to see what happens?

Umm, other option would sharing your parents internet connection somehow - you could probably stick a wireless usb dongle in their computer and setup Internet Connection Sharing (assuming it's a windws machine) to bridge the Dial-up and Wifi adapters. Or do something similar with a wireless router/AP and the ethernet connection.
posted by unmake at 1:23 PM on June 13, 2008

Yeah what you want to do is called "tethering" or "Bluetooth DUN".

You do not need to use the modem. Trying to combine an analog modem with a digital voice connection (cellphone or VoIP) is a recipe for disaster, or at least a very slow, unreliable connection.

What you need to do is connect the cell phone directly to your Mac, either via Bluetooth or a USB cable. Then you need to set up the Mac to use the new connection, which generally involves figuring out what set of initialization commands the phone requires to switch itself on, connect to the GPRS/EDGE network, and start passing packets. Ironically the Bluetooth setup is actually somewhat easier than using USB, although both are possible.

I don't know how helpful it'll be, but I once wrote down the steps required to get this working with my Mac and phone, which was a Motorola. Some of the information will not be the same for you (i.e. the initialization scripts I used are specific to Motorolas), but the general procedure ought to be the same.

Initialization scripts can be found at Ross Barkman's page (also linked to in my documentation above).
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:36 PM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

I dont know anything about xandros but I know that there's a linux driver for this USB to Serial device.

Now you have a serial port. Connect it up to a 2 dollar garage sale modem and off you go!
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:48 PM on June 13, 2008

On doing a little more research, I don't think that phone supports tethering. You'll need to get something that supports DUN in order to get started.

That's not a major expense, however; most phones made in the last few years (GSM ones anyway, not that CDMA crap) support it, and you can pick up old phones on eBay for not much cash. You can even get EDGE ones for under $100 sometimes.

I use Motorola phones, not Samsungs, so I can't give you specific model recommendations. (Although if you wanted to switch brands any old Moto V3 would work for GPRS data, and I know for a fact that they'll work as DUN devices via both USB and BT with OS X.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:48 PM on June 13, 2008

(Also, I got it in my head somewhere that you were running Mac OS X, not Xandros ... so apologies for the Mac-specific stuff. A decent Linux HOWTO is available here.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:50 PM on June 13, 2008

Or you can install this dial-up router for them and leave it at their place.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:53 PM on June 13, 2008

Who is your cell phone provider?
posted by meta_eli at 2:14 PM on June 13, 2008

Thanks for all the feedback. I actually didn't know there was such a thing as a dial-up router!

A few notes. My parents' computer is dead. They are actually paying for dial-up they currently are not using. (They plan to have someone repair the computer... Hint, hint.) Also, my cellphone is an old model: it doesn't have any SD slot or and doesn't have Bluetooth.

My cellphone provider is PC Mobile, which is using Bell Canada's network.
posted by remi at 4:03 PM on June 13, 2008

In case it helps answerers: Bell Canada's got a CDMA network.
posted by winston at 5:58 PM on June 13, 2008

I ended up purchasing a dial-up router, as the damn dirty ape suggested.

That's a great idea that works for me and my family, but for other users of the Eee PC: your milleage may vary.
posted by remi at 6:57 AM on June 26, 2008

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