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Palm Bluetooth Guide
Complete guide to Palm Bluetooth

What is Bluetooth?

Bluetooth is a low-power, short-range (30 ft) wireless technology for connecting PDAs, cell phones, computers and other devices. It is functionally similar to Wi-Fi 802.11b wireless technology except Wi-Fi is designed for faster, longer-range (300 ft) access and also consumes more power to operate. Bluetooth speeds are less than 1 MB while Wi-Fi is up to 11 MB or even 54 MB depending on the type.

What Can You Do With a Palm OS Device and Bluetooth?

  • HotSync a Palm to your desktop computer without wires
  • Connect a Palm to your Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone to provide internet access
  • Connect a Palm to a Bluetooth Access Point to provide internet access
  • Connect a Palm to your desktop computer to provide internet access
You should be able to run web browsers, email programs, chat programs, telnet, ftp, or any other network-related software now on your Palm. Check out our Wireless Software section for information about all these software programs.

Is Bluetooth for Me?

Bluetooth technology is very new. It is getting easier to use and more stable as time goes on, but it's still a fairly quirky technology. If you are expecting something very simple to setup that works flawlessly without any bugs, then Bluetooth is probably not for you... yet. If you are fairly technically-savvy, then read on and we'll try to help you get it working.

Where Can I Buy What I Need?

  • A Palm OS PDA or smartphone with Bluetooth Built In - This includes the Tungsten T, T2, T3, T5, E2, LifeDrive, Zire 72, Treo 650, Tapwave Zodiac, Sony CLIE UX50, UX40, TH55/U (European version only), TJ35, TJ50, NZ90, NX70V, NX60, VZ90 (Japan only), Hunetec H500, Hagenuk s200, Xplore M68, and Acer s10.
  • Or a Palm Bluetooth Card with Palm OS 4 Handheld - If you have one of these, you can use it, but they are discontinued. If not, you can probably find one on eBay. This card only works with the following Palm OS 4 handhelds: Palm m125, m130, m500, m505, m515, i705.
  • Belkin Bluetooth Access Point - Available from our Amazon eStore for around $120 and includes a print server.
  • Bluetooth USB Adapters for your PC - You need one of these if your PC isn't Bluetooth enabled.
Here is palmOne's Bluetooth Compatibility page that lists all compatible BT accessories and cellular phones.

Update Your Bluetooth Software Drivers

Before you attempt ANY of these connection methods below, be sure to update your Bluetooth Software Drivers!

HotSync Using Bluetooth

If you want to get started with Bluetooth, then you might want to get the Bluetooth Hotync working. This will at least verify that the Bluetooth on your desktop and Palm are working properly and that they can be paired with each other.

Be sure to update your Bluetooth drivers as per the above section, then follow the directions in your device's user guide. The Tungsten T-series and Sony UX50 and TH55E (Euro version) all have decent Bluetooth Hotsync information in them. If you are using an SD card, you need the Palm Bluetooth Card Handbook (PDF).

These instructions cover using a "Serial Profile" which is the easiest way to get Hotsync working. The Palm Connection should be to a "PC", not to a LAN. You must have "Local" check in the Hotsync Manager on your PC and you must have the COM port for it assigned to whatever COM port your BT Serial service is attached to. In my particular setup this is COM5, but yours may vary.

If you also want to have internet connectivity from your Palm, then continue reading the rest of this article.

Bluetooth to Cell Phones

There are several sources for information on this, including Palm's site where you can get the drivers you need and some good information there as well as on other sites. Be sure to update your Palm Bluetooth drivers as mentioned above.

Note: Be sure to read our article, palmOne PhoneLink Update v3 for a list of supported phones and carriers. Even if your phone is not officially supported, you may be able to use a generic driver or a driver from a similar model phone.

Bluetooth to Access Point

This method works very well, extends the range of access to up to 300 feet and should be quite simple to get working. Instructions for this are covered in the PDA's user guides and also in the manuals below. Be sure to update your Bluetooth drivers as per the above section.

If you need an access point, the Belkin Bluetooth Access Point is around $120 in our Amazon eStore and includes a print server.

Bluetooth to PC Connection

There are essentially three ways to connect your Palm to your PC via Bluetooth:

  1. Use PPP Software and a Bluetooth Serial Profile -- this uses a "virtual" serial port to communicate to the PC. MochaPPP and SoftickPPP allows the Palm to share the desktop's internet connection. This method works with the most Palm OS releases and versions of Microsoft Windows. It also sheilds you from details about IP addresses and such.
  2. Windows 2000/XP Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) and a Bluetooth LAN Access Profile -- this uses a direct connection to the PC. Windows 2000 and XP include a feature called Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) that allows the Palm to share the desktop's internet connection. This is a great method and why PalmZone.net concentrates on it in this article.
  3. Windows XP Remote Access Server (RAS) and a Bluetooth Serial Access Profile -- This is an alternate connection method for Windows XP that is similar to #1 above in that it uses a virtual serial connection but doesn't require MochaPPP. We see no reason to use this, however, over option #2 above if you are running Windows XP.
If you need a Bluetooth USB Adapters for your PC, you can get one in our Amazon eStore.

If you have questions or issues to discuss regarding Bluetooth connectivity, please use our Wireless Discussion Forum.
Option 1 - Use PPP Software and a Bluetooth Serial Profile

MochaSoft makes a program called MochaPPP that allows almost any Palm OS release level to connect to almost any Windows OS release level. It will allow your Bluetooth network to share your desktop's internet connection, whether that connection is dial-up, DSL, Cable, etc. This program is shareware and registration costs $9.95. It is important to note also, that MochaSoft does NOT support this software when using a Bluetooth connection. They only support a true serial connection (via Palm Serial Cradle or Cable). So you should try the software and make absolutely sure that it works for you before registering.

Softick makes SoftickPPP for $24.95 and it is much more modern and supported than MochaPPP.

Be sure to update your Bluetooth Drivers on your device (see above update section).

To setup a BT Serial Profile with MochaPPP, check out Brighthand's white paper and discussion board. Be sure to follow these instructions carefully. Also read through the comments posted as they help to clarify some things and provide some trouble-shooting tips. The tricks that we needed to get this working are posted there as well.

Option 2 - Windows 2000/XP Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) and a Bluetooth LAN Access Profile

Windows 2000 and Windows XP have built-in capability to share an internet conection with a second network connection (in this case Bluetooth), without using any external software such as MochaPPP above. We have tested these procedures on both platforms. The screens are slightly different but the steps are essentially the same.

Be sure to update your Bluetooth Drivers on your device (see above update section).

Setting up a BT Lan Profile (without needing MochaPPP) on Windows 2000 or Windows XP is not very well documented and is the focus of this article. In our opinion, this method is the best to use because it doesn't require any 3rd-party software and is a more direct connection method that should be more stable and perhaps even faster than using MochaPPP. It does, however, require an understanding of networking, IP addresses, and Domain Name Server (DNS) addresses.

Before getting into the setup details, it is helpful to understand some of these basic networking concepts. Whatever network setup that you have currently running at home or work that has access to the internet should work for this setup. You are probably used to referring to this network as THE network. When you talk about adding Bluetooth capability to this network, you need to change this to thinking of it as the PRIMARY network (or internet network). That's because the Bluetooth capability is adding a second network to your system and you need to understand that they are completely different networks. To keep this clear, go into your Network Settings right now and rename your primary network to something meaningful like "ethernet network" or "802.11 network" or "primary network".

For your primary network, your ISP provides your PC (or your router if you have one) an IP address and one or two DNS addresses. The IP address is what identifies your computer or router to their network. Computers don't know about "friendly" names for servers such as www.palmzone.net or mail.myisp.com. Instead, they only understand IP addresses. The DNS servers are public severs that convert these friendly names into the actual IP addresses of these web or mail servers.

When you install Bluetooth software on a PC on your primary network, it installs a completely separate network. This Bluetooth network is not "exposed" or connected in any way to your primary network, however. What we are going to do is use Windows 2000 or Windows XP Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) capability to enable your Bluetooth network to "see" your primary network.

Configuring the PC for ICS

Go into the network settings for your PRIMARY network. Click on the "Sharing" tab. Check "Enable Connection Sharing for:" and then select your Bluetooth network from the drop-down box. You will get a bunch of warnings that this will reset your IP address to the network and other such "scary" things. Don't worry about it! This won't touch anything with your primary network at all. Its only going to hard-code an IP address for that particular PC on your BLUETOOTH network and this is what you WANT to do. That IP address is and you can't change it.

Now, in theory that should be all you need to do on the desktop side. Your desktop SHOULD assign your Palm the proper IP address it needs to connect to your newly created Bluetooth network AND assign a DNS server. However, in practice you'll likely need to specify the DNS server yourself on your Palm. We'll cover that next.

Configuring the Palm

On your Palm, set up a new "Connection" in the Prefs panel. Call it "Bluetooth LAN" (to distinguish from a "Bluetooth Serial" or "Bluetooth PC" connection you may have set up to get Hotsync working or to try out MochaPPP above). Make sure you tell it the connection is to "Local Network" Via "Bluetooth". Under Device it should show your desktop PC if you've already connected ("paired") with it before. If not, it should go through a "discovery" process to find it.

Next set up a new "Network" connection in the Prefs panel called "Bluetooth LAN". Leave the User Name and Password blank. Set the Connection to the "Bluetooth LAN" you just created. Go into "Details" and set Connection Type to "PPP", Idle Timeout to "Never" (since the connection will drop when your Palm goes into sleep mode or you turn it of manually anyway). First try checking the automatic "Query DNS" and check "IP Address Automatic".

Go into Script and create the following:

Hit OK and then OK again to get back to the main Network Pref screen.

Testing Your Connection

Hit "Connect" to try to connect to your PC. Watch your desktop PC Bluetooth software to see that a connection is being attempted. It should connect just fine, regardless of whether the DNS setting is correct or not. Pay special attention to which Bluetooth service or profile on your desktop it is attempting to connect with. It should be accessing the "Network Access" service, NOT the "Serial" service. If its accessing the wrong one, then stop the Serial service on the desktop using your Bluetooth software.

While still in the Network Prefs screen on your Palm, select "Options" from the menu and then "View Log". You should see the script commands you entered above followed by a bunch of communication commands between the Palm and PC, then finally it should show you the IP address that your Palm got assigned and the DNS address(es) also. The Palm's IP address should be 192.168.0.XXX which is SIMILAR to what Windows ICS hard-coded the IP of your desktop PC to be, but not the same. i.e. the Palm should be since the desktop is .1.

The DNS server SHOULD be the exact IP address of your desktop computer, which is Part of the functionality of Window's ICS is that it sets up the desktop computer to act as a DNS server on the Bluetooth network. Note that this has NOTHING to do with your desktop's IP address or DNS servers assigned to your desktop on your PRIMARY network.

Thanks to Filehosts.com for posting desktop and Palm screensheets to go with these instructions.

Resolving DNS Errors and Getting Help

1. If you are connected, but the Log does not show a DNS IP address, then disconnect, go back into Network Prefs on your Palm and hard-code the DNS to Reconnect again and everything should work fine.

2. If this doesn't work, but you have a router on your network (ethernet or wireless), then hard-code your router's IP address as the DNS server. You may want to check if you can ping this address from your Palm's Network "View Log" screen first, though. Most routers have an IP like or similar by default.

3. If you are still having DNS problems, then the ICS service on the desktop is not providing this DNS service properly. Change your DNS settings on the Palm to the real DNS servers that your desktop is using. You can find these by typing "ipconfig /all" at the command line on your desktop. These will be the DNS servers supplied by your ISP.

If you have questions or issues to discuss regarding Bluetooth connectivity, please use our Wireless Discussion Forum.

If you've completely exhausted all tips and tricks to get this to work and it still doesn't, as a last resort you can use SoftickPPP above in Method #1 and you won't have to worry about any of these IP addresses. It handles all that for you.

Option 3 - Windows XP Remote Access Server (RAS) and a Bluetooth Serial Access Profile

Be sure to update your Bluetooth Drivers on your device (see above update section).

Next, follow the details of this connection method in this Tungsten T Bluetooth via XP RAS Whitepaper (PDF).

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Published on: 2006-07-04 (322783 reads)
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