Gather ye materials while ye may:
- Laptop running Windows XP or Mac OS X 10.2 or higher
- CDMA phone (If you have a GSM phone, see GSM USB modem for
OS X on the Mac. Windows users, first
configure your phone as a modem, then use a separate dial-up ISP or paid GPRS connection.)
- Phone plan: You need to have Sprint PCS Vision enabled to access their 3G network, which gives you access speeds
typically somewhere between a 56K modem and DSL/cable. If your carrier is Verizon, you don't need to pay any extra
fee for data transmission, and you have two connection options: the Quick Connect Network, zipping along at 14.4K but
dead easy to set up, or the Express Network, which gets you into the same speed range as Sprint PCS but can be
funkier to set up.
- USB data cable for your phone model (Usually pretty cheap. More on this later.)
- Possibly, drivers for your phone (Under OS X, you probably have a built-in driver already. Windows users, we'll
help you track yours down in a bit.)
First, let's find your data cable. You can order a USB "data kit" for your phone from Verizon, Sprint, or from your
phone manufacturer, but it comes with some extra junk you probably don't need. If you want to save a few quid you can
just get an OEM data cable (sometimes called a 'replacement data cable' because they really want to sucker you into
buying that "data kit."). One end is standard USB, and the other end will fit the data port on your phone.
Check 3gcables.com or
Cellular Factory for OEM cables for a wide range of phones,
or just do a Google search for "your phone+usb modem."
FutureDial also sells OEM cables; their web site
claims they are for use with FutureDial software only, but this is pure marketing shinola.
For most phones, you can score a cable for between $15-$30. You also might have luck at Radio Shack - note that if you
do find your cable there, and you are on OS X, they may tell you the cable 'won't work with Macs.' Disregard them. Or,
they may try and tell you that you need special, lucrative drivers to use the cable with OS X. Again, this is total
bunk that you can safely disregard. Feel free to chuckle at them on your way out the door with your cable.
If you're running Windows XP, you most likely will need a driver for your phone. Your OEM cable may have come with a
driver disk, in which case we recommend that you pause for a moment to do the dance of joy, then skip the rest of this
paragraph. If it didn't, fear not - a little poking around should uncover a driver specifically for your phone or a
generic driver that will do the trick. Start with a Google search for "your phone+USB modem driver" to try and find the
driver that is specifically for your phone model. This is often faster than going direct to the phone manufacturer's
web site, which is what you should try second. If both of these fail, there are some generic drivers that may work if
you have a Sanyo or Samsung phone: try the USB-Serial.exe driver package from
Supplynet. If you still haven't found your driver, please see the
"Good places to track down obscure drivers" section at the end of this how-to.
Setting up your CDMA phone modem, Windows XP
Find your driver as per above, download it and unpack it. Or, insert the CD that came with your cable. Next, plug the
data cable into your phone, and plug the USB end into your PC. The ever-lovable Hardware Wizard should appear:
You can let Window Update search for a compatible driver if you had trouble locating yours, but otherwise select "No,
not this time" and we'll go ahead and select the driver since we already know where it is. Click Next.
The Wizard will now want to know if you will let it try and install the device drivers automagically:
It is my experience that the Wizard is not terribly wizardly in this regard, so we're going to live dangerously and
choose the 'Advanced' route, "Install from a list or specific location." Click Next. The Wizard will try once again to
take over, so in the next dialogue select "Don't search, I will choose the driver to install" and click Next.
Now we choose what type of device we're installing: Modems.
The next dialog box will tell you that Windows didn't find any drivers, but we're not surprised because we wisely
never let it search for any. Just click 'Have disk.' You'll get the familiar 'browse to find your file' dialogue. Click
Browse, find the driver for your phone, then click 'OK.' You should now be presented with an 'Install New Modem'
Your phone modem should show up in the 'Models' pane. You may get a warning message that "This driver is not digitally
signed!" and, when you click next, you get another warning that says installing the software can impair or destabilize
the operating system, make you prematurely bald, cause irreversible blindness, under no circumstances should you
continue, blah blah blah. Don't panic.
Microsoft is just trying to cover its own arse, and the worst than can happen is likely the driver won't work. Live
life on the edge and click 'Continue Anyway.' You'll get a 'Please wait' dialogue while Windows installs the driver.
The Wizard will announce when it is done installing the new hardware; just click 'Finish.'
Now we're ready to establish our connection. Go to Control Panel > Network and Internet Connections. Click "Set
up or change your internet connection." Click the "Connections" tab.
Setting up your CDMA phone modem, Mac OS X
Click the Setup button, which will bring up another Wizard. Click Next.
Select "Connect to the Internet." Click Next.
Select "Set up my connection manually." Click Next.
Select "Connect using a dial-up modem." Click Next.
It's likely you already have an internal modem in your laptop, so you'll see a dialogue asking you to choose which
modem to use:
Select your phone modem and click Next. The next dialogue will ask you to name the connection. Do so; click
For phone number, enter #777 and click Next.
Next, we enter our account details:
If you're on Sprint PCS Vision, your username/password combination is web/web. If you're on Verizon, you can connect
to the 14.4K QNC network with qnc/qnc. To connect to the Express network, your username will be your 10-digit phone
number followed by the string @vzw3g.com, e.g. email@example.com, with the password vzw. If you can't get the
Express Network running and you just want something that works without hassle, do the QNC network. Remember 300 baud?
14.4K ain't so bad.
You'll probably want to uncheck both "Use this account name and password when anyone connects to the Internet from
this computer" and "Make this the default Internet connection." Click Next, check "Add a shortcut to this connection..."
to create a shortcut on the Desktop, then click Finish to exit the Wizard.
Double-click the shortcut to the connection on the Desktop (you can also go to Start > Connect To > Your
connection name). The following connection window will appear:
Click Dial to dial the phone modem. Without too much fanfare, you should shortly be connected. The Network icon in
your system tray should reflect this. If not, you can try resetting the chip in your phone. Keep all cables connected
and turn off your phone. Wait at least five seconds, then turn the phone back on. Try dialing again. Good
Mac users, rejoice, for ye don't have too much in the way of setup, nor do ye have to visit the Wizard. Sprint users
will not need any additional drivers. Verizon users can use the generic Verizon Wireless Standard Driver, available
here. If that mirror
ever goes down, the Yahoo Maccellphone users group has a copy
of it in their Files section. Plunk this driver down in your /Library/Modem Scripts folder. Then, let's dig in!
First, plug the data cable end into your phone, then the USB end into your Mac. Your computer will 'discover' your
phone and you will see a new hardware dialogue:
Click OK. Then, open the System Preferences Network panel. Let's create a new location so you can easily switch back
and forth between the modem and your other configurations. In the Location pop-up menu, select "New Location..." and give
the location some sort of meaningful name.
Next, click the Show drop-down menu and select "Network Port Configurations."
Your phone should be in the list of port configurations:
If it isn't, try resetting the chip in your phone. Quit System Preferences, keep the cables connected, and power down
your phone for at least five seconds. Power up the phone and relaunch Network Preferences and resume.
Click the Show drop-down again and select your phone modem port. Click the Modem tab:
You will now need to select the proper modem from the Modem drop-down menu. If you are a Sprint user, your choice is
Sprint PCS Vision. If you are a Verizon user, your choice is Verizon_Wireless_STD_Driver. Be sure to check "Show modem
status in menu bar" so you can have a handy way to connect from anywhere (you can also always use the Internet Connect
program in your Applications folder).
Supposedly you should uncheck "wait for dial tone before dialing," but it still works for me if I leave it checked. If
it's not working for you, try unchecking it.
Click the PPP tab:
For Sprint, you ought to be able to get a connection by merely filling in the Telephone Number as #777, and nothing
else: no account name, no password, zip, zilch, nada. Verizon users: to connect to the Express network, your username
will be your 10-digit phone number followed by the string @vzw3g.com, e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org, with the password vzw.
If you have trouble connecting this way, try connecting to the Quick Connect Network by entering in the Account name
and Password both as qnc. Click Apply Now.
It's time to roll. Click on the phone icon in your menu bar and make sure that your phone modem is checked instead of
the Internal Modem. Select Connect.
You'll see a "Dialing..." message ticker across the menu bar, followed by a "Connecting..." ticker, and then voila! For
those about to browse, we salute you. To disconnect, simply choose Disconnect from the same menu.
If you use webmail, no further instruction needed on the email front. If you use pop mail, just launch your client
of choice and you shouldn't have any trouble receiving mail, and chances are good that outgoing mail will work
swimmingly, as well. If anything, you may run into a snag trying to send outgoing mail, in which case you might want to
try changing the outgoing SMTP server to smtp.sprintpcs.com. If you're still having trouble sending out, it could quite
possibly involve some voodoo to make it work. If you've gotten this far and all you needed to do was send a single
freakin' email, just remember that there are far more important things in life to be shedding tears over, such as why
the Japanese get all the cool phones. Stay strong, pardner. Remember that there was life long before Al Gore invented
Good places to track down obscure drivers, or to ask for help if you get stuck with your particular
phone/driver/operating system conglomeration:
There you have it, folks. The next time you find yourself saying "Where the Fi is my WiFi?!" you can think of
Engadget, and kick yourself for not having printed out this How-to.