How to connect your tablet to the internet using a mobile phone

The Nokia N800 and N810 internet tablets can connect to the internet by two main methods: through a wi-fi / WLAN connection (for example a wi-fi router in your home), or through certain mobile phones (cell phones). The tablets can use phones which are Bluetooth compatible and use the DUN (Dial-Up Networking) Bluetooth profile. These phones do not have to be made by Nokia. If you're unsure about whether your phone is compatible, check the official technical specifications (you can find these tech specs on the manufacturer's website and possibly in the phone's manual too).

Bluetooth is a short range wireless standard intended for phones and other gadgets that are within about 10 metres (10 yards) of each other. It lets them exchange information, share an internet connection and many other things.

Connecting the N800 or N810 to the internet through your phone means you can use the tablet online anywhere that your phone can get a signal, which makes it much more portable. However, it will probably be significantly slower than using it through Wi-Fi, though speed can vary greatly from phone network to phone network. Some phone networks let you connect to the internet at very high speeds, perhaps faster than your home internet connection, while other networks only let you connect at very slow speeds. Here's a guide to the most common kinds of mobile phone networks available at the moment:

  • 2G - The slowest current phone networks use standards called GSM or CDMA, which are also known as 2G.
  • 2.5G - Slightly faster than these is a network standard called EDGE, which is also known as 2.5G.
  • 3G - Even faster are 3G networks, which are also called WCDMA or UMTS.
  • 3.5G - Fastest of all at the moment are 3.5G networks which use standards such as HSDPA.

To use a particular kind of network, you have to have a phone compatible with it, for example, to use a 3G network you need a 3G or better phone. Phones are compatible with slower networks too, so a 3G phone will switch to slower 2G mode when there's no 3G network available.


[edit] How to set up your tablet's internet connection through your phone

First of all, make sure that the phone's Bluetooth is switched on. The way to do this varies from phone to phone, but you should be able to find out how from the phone's manual. There's usually a phone menu called Bluetooth or Connectivity which should let you switch Bluetooth on.

When the phone's Bluetooth is switched on, it may show a very distinctive "B" logo somewhere on its main screen, perhaps with a blue circle in the background.

You now need to "pair" the phone and the tablet. Pairing means that the two devices exchange a special security code, so that in the future they can connect to each other automatically without asking permission. You only have to pair devices once, after that they should remember to trust each other.

  1. Click on the Applications icon (the green squares on the left)
  2. Click on Settings
  3. Click on Control Panel
  4. Double-click on Bluetooth
  5. Click on Devices
  6. Click on New
  7. Select your phone. A box with a security code will appear. Make sure you tick the small box marked "Set As Trusted Device".
  8. Click OK.
  9. Your phone will now ask permission to pair with the N800. On your phone, press "accept" or "yes" or "ok", or whatever it wants to hear in order to make the pairing happen.
  10. Enter the security code on your phone's keypad, and press OK on your phone.
  11. The pairing should now be complete. If something goes wrong in the above process, try again, it should work sooner or later. Remember to make sure your phone's Bluetooth is on before you start.
  12. Some phones may also add an extra step, where they require you to manually set the tablet as a trusted device on the phone, otherwise you will have to manually confirm every connection from the tablet on the phone itself. You should be able to set trusted devices from the phone's Bluetooth menu, but consult your phone's manual if you're unsure. However, many phones (including the Nokia 5300 used in the video above) automatically make the tablet a trusted device during the pairing process, and there is no need for any extra steps.
  13. The tablet will now ask if you want to use the phone as an internet connection. Click on "Yes".
  14. The tablet will now start the Operator Setup Wizard, which will let you select which phone network operator you use. Click "Next" to continue.
  15. Select your country from the list, and click on "Next".
  16. Click on the "Mobile Operator" drop-down menu, and select the phone network operator you use on your phone. Then click on "Next".
  17. Click on "Finish", then "Close", then "OK", then close the control panel with the "X" in the top right hand corner.

The tablet is now ready to use the phone to access the internet.

If you want to unpair the phone from your tablet, go to the Control Panel's Bluetooth menu, click on Devices and then delete your phone from the list that appears.

If your phone network operator doesn't appear on the list for your country, you will have to enter the settings manually, which is pretty tricky. If you have to enter settings manually, it's highly recommended that you find someone who is good with computers and phones to help you.

===Connecting your N800 or N810 to the internet with your mobile phone===

There are two ways to connect your tablet to the internet with your phone, manually or automatically. Manually means you have to start the connection yourself each time you want to use the internet, whereas automatically means the tablet and phone will connect to each other automatically whenever they're both switched on.

To connect manually, click on the connection icon (a dot with lines going upwards) in the status bar in the top right of the tablet's screen, and then click on "Select Connection". Select the connection which has the same name as your phone network operator. The tablet should now connect to the internet through your phone. If your phone asks for confirmation of the connection, you'll need to set the tablet as a trusted device through your phone's Bluetooth menu. Consult your phone's manual for more details on setting trusted devices.

To disconnect manually, go to the connection icon in the top row as before, and select "Disconnect". You can switch to a Wi-Fi connection manually by selecting "Change Connection".

To connect automatically, you'll need to do the following:

  1. Go to the Control Panel as described before.
  2. Double click on Connectivity.
  3. From "Connect Automatically", select "Phone Connection" for the tablet to automatically connect to your phone whenever it's available ("WLAN Connection" automatically connects to Wi-Fi whenever it's available, and "Any Connection" connects to Wi-Fi if possible or your phone if Wi-Fi isn't available). The "Search Interval" box lets you say how often the tablet should try to connect to the internet if it hasn't already connected.
  4. Click on OK. The tablet should immediately automatically connect to the internet via your phone. (If your phone asks you to confirm the connection, you need to set the tablet as a trusted Bluetooth device on your phone. See your phone's manual for instructions on how to do this.)

You can also set the tablet to disconnect automatically if it hasn't used the internet connection for a certain amount of time. This is known as "idle time", and you can set the idle time from the Control Panel's Connectivity menu box. Click on the "Idle Times" tab to set the times for different types of connections, "WLAN Idle Time" means the idle time for Wi-Fi connections and "Packet Data Idle Time" means the idle time for phone connections. "Unlimited" means there is no idle time, the connection will stay open indefinitely.

[edit] Using more than one phone with your tablet

You can access the internet on your tablet through several different phones if you wish. First of all, you need to pair each phone using the process described above. Then you need to select which phone you wish to use from the Control Panel's Phone section.

[edit] How much does this all cost?

If you access the internet on your tablet through your mobile phone, you may have to pay data access charges to your phone network operator (phone service provider), which will appear on your phone bill or be deducted from credit on prepaid phone accounts.

Data use is normally charged by the amount of data sent and received, and NOT by the time you use the internet. For example, if you write and receive emails for half an hour this would use very little data and be very cheap, whereas if you listen to an internet radio station for half an hour this would use a lot of data and be more expensive.

However, many phone network operators nowadays have special deals which let you pay a flat monthly fee for unlimited access to the internet through their network. If you intend to use your tablet through your phone a lot, it may be worth investigating these flat rate internet deals by visiting your network operator's website or phoning their customer service helpline. Tell them you want to use your mobile phone as a modem for a computer, because that's how the tablet uses your phone.

Be careful though: some of the flat rate deals really are unlimited, but others have certain restrictions such as a cap on the amount of data you can send and receive.

[edit] Can I use the tablet through my phone while overseas?

You may technically be able to access the internet through your phone while abroad, but it will almost certainly cost a lot of money to do so.

Roaming charges on phone networks worldwide are stupidly high, and it's best to completely avoid using your mobile phone while abroad. If you have an unlocked phone, you might want to consider buying a prepaid SIM card locally while overseas and using that instead (if the prepaid SIM card allows data usage, some of them don't).

Phone network deals that allow unlimited internet access usually don't work overseas.

Alternatively, try to find a public Wi-Fi hotspot that you can use with the tablet instead. Many public places such as hotels, libraries, cafes and even trains offer Wi-Fi hotspots. Some of them are free, some of them charge a modest fee, while others are very expensive. Always ask a member of staff for more details before trying to use a public wi-fi hotspot.