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How to set up a mobile phone as an infrared (IrDA) modem?

Internet connection settings on the mobile phone
Infrared modem activation on the mobile phone
Installing Standard Modem over IR link from the Found New Hardware Wizard
Verifying Standard Modem over IR link installation
Creating an Internet connection using the New Connection Wizard
Connecting to the Internet
Possible connection problems for troubleshooting


Mobile phone can be used as a modem that will connect a computer (laptop or desktop PC) to a mobile data network such as HSCSD, GPRS, EDGE, CDMA2000 (1xRTT) and enhanced 3G (EV-DO or HSDPA). Using mobile phone as a modem is the preferred mobile Internet solution for many travelers since they don't need to buy another hardware, i.e. a special card (PCMCIA PC Card, PCI Express Mini Card, CF card, or SD card) or a USB modem dongle for accessing a cellular data network. To use mobile phone as a modem, a connection must first be established between the phone and the computer. The physical connection is commonly a USB cable, an infrared (IrDA) link or a Bluetooth link.

Using IrDA as the connection link allows simple and fast setup and removes cable clutter. But it requires the mobile phone's and the computer's IrDA windows (beamers) to be in line-of-sight (LOS) and the range between both devices also must be less than a meter. So, when using IrDA for connecting your computer to the Internet, you have to maintain the IrDA beam by placing your computer and your mobile phone in a relatively fixed position. Otherwise, a shift away from the 30-degree IrDA beam cone will make you lose your Internet connection. That's why using IrDA mobile phone modem is not practical when you are on the move.

What should I prepare?

- Insert your IrDA dongle (adapter) to your computer USB port if it doesn't have an integrated IrDA transceiver. Connect the dongle to other port (e.g. serial, PCMCIA) if you have a non-USB model. If you use it for the first time, install the IrDA adapter driver when prompted by the Found New Hardware Wizard or follow the instructions given by the adapter's manufacturer and use your IrDA adapter's installation CD.
- From the documentation, check whether your IrDA-compatible phone can be used as a modem.
- You must subscribe to a mobile (cellular) Internet access service and your location is within the cellular data coverage. Your mobile phone must be configured for mobile Internet according to your mobile Internet service provider directions. Very often the default settings have been preset in certain phone models, you only need to activate them. The following illustration is an example from Nokia 6600 with Symbian OS.

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