Monday, September 7, 2009



I've been struggling for quite some time to connect my Linux machine to the Internet via the cellphone. Today I cracked it.

There have been a several issues:

* SuSE 11.1 Bluetooth is broken, AFAICT. At least I can't get it going right. I had it working just fine on SuSE 10.2 but the 11 series release broke a lot of stuff. I had ppp working over Bluetooth on SuSE 10.2, but haven't yet succeeded on 11.1.

* AT&T pulled the ability to "tether" (connect through a phone) from my plan a year or so. It was working fine (again on SuSE 10.2) and then one day it just stopped. They said it should never have worked, but whatever. So now I have a plan that explicitly allows tethering.

* The newer versions (6.9, 7.0) of Nokia PC Suite just didn't work on my Windows 2000 installation on VMWare on SuSE.

But after returning from a wonderful holiday in Europe and the UK I got to work:

* First I created a new virtual machine and installed Windows XP. Time consuming (about a week) of reinstalling all the software and sorting things out, but it is all working, including PC Suite this time. So I could connect to the Windows instantiation, but still not to Linux.

* Installing PC Suite brought a phone firmware upgrade, so more time adapting to that.

* And then last night I found It is self described as a web community for free software. Well, maybe, but it points you to to buy software, albeit at very low prices.

I registered with the first URL with no problem, although have had some issues with the latter that they are working on. At any rate, I found JoikuSpot. This is a little program that turns your cell phone into a WiFi hotspot! With encryption, no less. And no proprietary tricks. So it works with Linux! 'Way cool.

There are some fiddly bits, but these were resolved with only a few hours of methodical experimentation.

So I recommend it. It has solved a long list of ToDos for me.

Here are the fiddly bits:

* Make sure that you set your WLAN to "AD HOC" mode, NOT "Managed".

* Set the network card to DHCP and add as the explicit default gateway.

* Choose ASCII type keyword, not "Hex" or "Passphrase".

* Choose a keyword that does NOT include apostrophe or quote marks. (/etc/sysconfig/ifcfg files store field values delimited by apostrophes or quotes, so cannot handle passwords with those characters.)

* Choose WEP-open, 128-bit encryption NOT WEP-shared. Ensure the keyword is exactly 13 characters.

* Use ip addr to check the IP address of the client after network setup. Try pinging the host: ping

If it does not respond then reboot the client machine.

Oh, and of course RTFM. It is at User Guide.

Thanks JoiKu!