T-Mobile tethering on OpenSuse

In linux, opensuse, phones, tech on September 26, 2007 at 2:19 am

FYI: These settings will work with any phone with modem capabilities.

Woot! I just set up bluetooth tethering on my linux box with my trusty Nokia N80. I am currently typing this on my laptop while connected to T-Mobile’s EDGE. Amazing how easy everything was. Of course it helps that I don’t mind getting my hands dirty (so to speak) with the command line and that I was following a guide on Howard Forums wiki. This guide to be exact. I am using knetwork manager + opensuse’s yast networking tool which simply made setup a breeze.

As an aside, I’ve said this before, but let me reiterate how much joy it is to surf with EDGE. Sure it’s not as fast as my wifi connection, or anywhere near the speed of my wired AT&T connection, but loading times are just a smidgen away from instantaneous. I should mention that speeds are about as bad or worse than dialup if I have one bar or less as I discovered recently. Not really surprising when you think about how bad packet transmission has to be in that situation. Anyhoo, the reason for this tangent is twofold. One, the iphone got a lot of flak for having only EDGE. Makes me think that the people complaining are either instantly instant gratification junkies or they just never surfed on EDGE. Knowing the sorry state of journalism today, I’m honestly leaning towards the latter. The second reason is that a smart phone without EDGE does not deserve that title. Neo I’m looking at you. Follow the white rabbit.

Back to the point of this post, which is putting together a quick and dirty guide for both cable and bluetooth tethering on opensuse. I’m using opensuse 10.3 RC1 but this should apply to any version of opensuse since most of the work is done in Yast. The input boxes should be similar for other gui based network managers.

First off, open up Yast and go to Network Devices.

Yast Control Center

Select the Modem, not the Network Card option.

Yast Modem Manager

Let’s do cable tethering first. As you can see, opensuse detected the make and model of the phone and also identified it as a modem as soon as it was hooked up. If this doesn’t happen for you and the entry doesn’t show up in the list, just click on Add. Otherwise, select Edit. Everything is the same.

Yast Modem Manager 2

My device location is /dev/ttyACM0, which unless you have another pda/phone connected (that doesn’t fall in the palm pilot, treo or visor category) will probably be the same for you. If ya want to verify, open up the command line and type dmesg. One of the last entries should be about a usb connection. The device location should be next to it. Next up, hit that Details button.

Yast Modem Manager 3

If you’re using AT&T, you’ll have to look up their url for yourself and replace the entry with it. OK out of that window to go back to the previous dialog, then Next to enter your service provider.

Yast Modem Manager 4

Make sure Custom Providers is selected then click Add. T-Mobile FTW. Username and password aren’t needed by T-Mobile, but Yast wants you to put something in those boxes, so you can fill in tmobile for both.

Yast Modem Manager 5

Fill in the boxes like so, click Next and leave all the following dialogs as default. That’s it for setup. Told you it was easy. OK and Finish out of the Yast window. To use your spanking new connection, right click the Network Manager icon on your task bar, go to Dial-Up Connections and voila. Connecto. If you’re using KInternet, the new dial-up entry should also show up in the list.


Network Manager is the white icon next to the digital clock. Man am I up late today.

It takes about 5 seconds for the connection to become active, but once it does, you can look at your phone and see the GPRS-connected icon.

If you’re using tzones, the old old T-Mobile Internet offering, you’ll have to set up a manual proxy for your browser before you can browse. On Firefox, this is as easy as going to Edit / Preferences / Advanced / Network. Select Settings to configure how Firefox connects to the internet. From what I understand, T-Mobile Internet users don’t need to do this.


Happy EDGE browsing!

Time for bluetoothing. Setting up the device requires a little more work, but here we go.

A few things you have to be sure about:

1. This goes without saying. Make sure you have bluetooth working on your box. Suse has been excellent for me on hardware detection but I know some peeps out there aren’t so lucky.

2. Your phone has to have the ability to work as a bluetooth modem, otherwise, this exercise would be pointless.

To confirm number 2 as well as find other info you need, the command line comes in handy. If you use KDE, you can find this info with kdebluetooth, but for the sake of reproducability and the fact that I know squat about gnome’s bluetooth manager, let’s stick to the command line for now.

Type in hcitool scan. The output will give you the MAC address followed by name of the phone like so:

Scanning ...
00:12:D2:A1:0E:C8 Lillith

Next, enter sdptool browse <your MAC address here>

Find the Dial-Up Networking entry:

Service Name: Dial-Up Networking
Service RecHandle: 0x10014
Service Class ID List:
"Dialup Networking" (0x1103)
Protocol Descriptor List:
"L2CAP" (0x0100)
"RFCOMM" (0x0003)
Channel: 2
Language Base Attr List:
code_ISO639: 0x454e
encoding: 0x6a
base_offset: 0x100
Profile Descriptor List:
"Dialup Networking" (0x1103)
Version: 0x0100

We’re interested in channel info. Open up /etc/bluetooth/rfcomm.conf with your favorite text editor. You want a final entry that looks like this, with data for your phone filled in:

rfcomm0 {
# Automatically bind the device at startup
bind yes;
# Bluetooth address of the device
device 00:12:D2:A1:0E:C8;
# RFCOMM channel for the connection
channel 2;
# Description of the connection
comment "T-Mobile Dialup";

Save and restart your bluetooth by entering service bluetooth restart

Yast setup is the same as for cable tethering, but you need to change the device location.

Yast Modem Bluetooth

Happy bluetooth EDGE surfing!

  1. […] Re: Connecting to the internet using Nokia n73 You can do it with either bluetooth or usb cable. I wrote a blog post about this last year. Since I’m too lazy to reproduce the post here with pictures and all, here’s the link: T-Mobile tethering on OpenSuse Lillith’s Logs […]

  2. I have a Motorola i876 iDEN (from Nextel, Mexico). Have you any idea on how to teether it on openSuse 11?
    PS. BTW, the only way I can get bluetooth transfers is by booting winxp first and reboot with OS11.. strange but truth.

  3. Thanks ever so much. The only article I could find on tethering Tmobile that was detailed enough to be helpful!

  4. Thanks – your notes got my GPRS Moto V191 cooking on T-Mobile _at_least_ as quickly as setting up the WinXP link with Moto’s Phone Tools. How did you come up with the “magic numbers” for dialing and login?

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