Sharing an OS X Internet Connection with a Series 60 Phone

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Since I got my Nokia N70, I've wanted to experiment with new "mobile web" applications like Google Maps Mobile, but the exorbitant data rates from Rogers, my local GSM provider, make doing this cost-prohibitive.

Fortunately there's a way around this: sharing the Internet connection of my iMac, running OS X, with my mobile phone using Bluetooth.

I had a difficult time getting this running, and so I've documented the process that worked for me here. Your mileage may vary.

On the Mac

  1. First make sure your Bluetooth phone is paired with your OS X machine; there's plenty of documentation on how to do this elsewhere.
  2. Under System Preferences > Bluetooth > Sharing click Add Serial Port Service and give the new serial port the name Bt and set the type to RS-232. Then click Start Serial Port for the new port you've created.
  3. Ideally your Mac will be behind some sort of router or gateway and you can select a private IP address to give to the phone. In my case, the IP of my iMac is 192.168.1.150, and I selected 192.168.1.95 to give to the phone.
  4. On the Mac command line (using Applications > Utilities > Terminal), enter the following two lines:
sudo /usr/sbin/pppd /dev/tty.Bt 115200 noauth local passive proxyarp asyncmap 0 silent persist :192.168.1.95 &
sudo /usr/sbin/sysctl -w net.inet.ip.forwarding=1

If you get an error /usr/sbin/pppd: Couldn't load plugin com.aol.net.ppp, trying reading this forum thread for advice on how to remove some AOL files that may be causing the problem.

On the Phone

  1. Download and install the gnubox application -- I installed gnubox_N70.sis.
  2. Under Tools > Settings > Connection on the phone, creating a new "Access Point", entering the following settings:
    1. Connection name - Bt
    2. Data bearer - Leave as the default, Packet Data
    3. Access point name - Bt
    4. User name - Leave as the default, None
    5. Prompt password - Leave as the default, No
    6. Password - Leave as the default
    7. Authentication - Leave as the default, Normal
    8. Homepage - Leave as the default, None
  3. Under Options > Advanced settings > Name servers for this connection, enter the IP address of your primary name server (i.e. the name server you're using on your Mac). This step may not be necessary in your case, but it was for me.
  4. Launch the gnubox application.
  5. Select Options > create records in gnubox.
  6. Select 2box Bluetooth > Serial port in gnubox and then select your Mac's Bluetooth name and select "No" for "Do you want to require encryption?" and ignore the "Set BT registry here" screen while it flashes by.
  7. Select Debug > Bring up IF in gnubox.
  8. If you get a Connection Open message a few seconds later, then you should be ready to go. If you get another message, check this excellent troubleshooting document for help.
  9. Select Options > Exit in gnubox: you don't need to leave it running to use the new connection.

Using the Connection

At this point you might find the IP View application helpful -- it will show you if your phone actually has the new IP address that it's supposed to. Assuming that everything went according to plan, you should now be able to use Opera and other web-based applications from the phone using the host Mac's Internet connection and avoiding costly data charges.

Note that this still all seems to be something of a black art, and it took a lot of fiddling for me to get a reliable method down for my setup. When in doubt, experiment or consult the comprehensive (if somewhat confusing) gnubox documentation.