Kevin Kempf's Blog

July 14, 2010

Tethering a Blackberry 9630 via Bluetooth to Ubuntu Lucid Lynx (10.04)

Filed under: Blackberry, Linux — kkempf @ 1:44 pm

Lucid Lynx

Aside from the name Lucid Lynx (which I find annoying to remember), I love Ubuntu as a work platform.  I’m proud to say I haven’t had to fire up my Windows VM for weeks.  One pleasant surprise when switching from CentOS (Red Hat) to Ubuntu was the ease in setting up a bluetooth-tethered Blackberry modem. Under CentOS, it was rather awkward and obscure; under Ubuntu it’s all available for you to click on in the task bar.

The Basics

It’s somewhat helpful to know that Ubuntu (and CentOS as I recall) treats a Blackberry modem as a Dial Up Networking modem; in other words, it’s reminiscent of the old dial up days, except you don’t have to hear the modem static.  I’m writing this entry post-install, and therefore it’s entirely possible I’m missing some minor nuances and screenshots.  If so, let me know what they are and I’ll add them.  In particular, I don’t recall how the network connection for Mobile Broadband (Blackberry) shows up; it may be automatic, it may take intervention.


  • You’re using Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx (LTS)
  • You have a Blackberry with the data plan enabled (mine is a 9630; this topic seems generic enough that it should work on any)
  • You have bluetooth available on your PC/Notebook


Bluetooth likes to see things paired before use.  Unless you’ve somehow left the devices wide open, the PC and the device need to pair or handshake a first time, to confirm they aren’t being hijacked.

The first step is to figure out how to make your Blackberry discoverable:

  • Go to options
  • Select Bluetooth
  • Hit the Blackberry button
  • Select Options (again)
  • Ensure Discoverable is set to Yes
  • It may be handy to note the Device Name and Device Address (MAC Address)

Discover the Blackberry from Ubuntu

  • Ensure the Bluetooth Icon is in the bottom right corner of your screen, on the task bar.   If it’s not, possible causes include that the bluetooth service isn’t running, or perhaps you switched off the wireless switch on your notebook?

Set Up Dial Up Networking & Pair the Devices

Left click on the Bluetooth Icon in the bottom right corner of the taskbar, and click the search button.

Select the device you just paired, then right click and hit Add Device

Now it wants to pair; the Blackberry asks you for a PIN; type it in and hit enter.

It now wants that same PIN on your PC (type in the PIN you just entered on the Blackberry):

Now you can right click on the device and hit trust; this adds a shiny yellow star icon to the picture.

Finally, right click on the device and hit Dialup Networking.  I can’t remember if the first time I did it I had to put in the dial in number or it somehow figured it out.  Regardless, here’s what it looks like when it’s running; note that there’s a little green light on the bluetooth icon in the lower right, indicating a bluetooth connection, a desktop alert on the top right telling me that I’m connected to Verizon, and colored blinky lights in the Bluetooth Device window indicating received signal strength (orange), link quality (green) and transmit power level (blue).  Right click again on the device and select disconnect to hang up.

Worth noting, if you right click on the network manager in the bottom right and select edit connections, ensure you have “connect automatically” checked for the Blackberry connection.  To be honest, I don’t remember the details but this removes one extra mouse click when you dial in with the Blackberry.

I thought it may be useful to see what Bluetooth-related packages I’ve got installed via the Ubuntu Software Center

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