TUTORIAL: Setting up a Bluetooth Personal Area Network (PAN)

Discussion in 'General Windows Phone (Plus Windows Mobile, Pocket' started by Menneisyys, Oct 23, 2005.

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  1. Menneisyys

    Menneisyys Mobile Deity

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    TUTORIAL: Setting up a Bluetooth Personal Area Network (PAN)

    What is PAN, and why may I need it? you may ask. The answer is simple: BT PAN is a very versatile and flexible tool that makes the following possible:
    - text or voice chatting between two PDA's (messaging, file sending etc. like in Internet Relay Chat) with, say, either Gphone (see my posts/tutorial here) or Microsoft Portrait (see my tips & tricks here)
    - sharing the internet connection on one of your PDA's to other PDA's or even desktop computers
    - playing multiplayer games (see my forthcoming article on them)

    Note that you'll be able to use any application over BT PAN that you can input the target PDA's internet address (IP for short) to. That is, even very old, natively non-BT-capable old applications (for example, the multiplayer game CanTris, which had been written log before BT PAN became common) will run over BT PAN.

    As there're currently no BT PAN setup guides (not even at the infamous Geekzone BT guide page), I've decided to write one myself as a continuation to my previous tutorial on setting up a PAN between a PDA and a desktop PC.

    First, before going on, PAN support is painfully missing from the Microsoft BT stack, so, users of MS BT stack needn't read further. (You may want to read this thread on the implications. Unfortunately, both WM5 VGA devices currently sold, the HTC Universal and the Dell Axim x51v have Microsoft BT stack, along with various Pocket PC Phone models.)

    Here're the steps you must do:

    Switch on the BT unit on your "slave" ("slave" means in here that you won't do much on it, setup-wise) device so that it is visible (BT units are, by default, visible ? you don't need to explicitly make them so). On the "master" device, go to Bluetooth Manager (click the BT icon on the lower right corner of your Today screen and choose Bluetooth Manager) and go to Tools/Paired Devices. Click Add, and then, the refresh button on the right of the Device: textfield. The already-paired and the visible PDA's/other BT units will be displayed:

    click for screenshot

    Once the other Pocket PC (here, it has the plain name "Pocket_PC") is found, click it and enter anything as the Passkey (say, 1):

    click for screenshot

    The slave PPC will now present a dialog, where you need to input exactly the same Passkey:

    click for screenshot

    After this, just go to New/Explore a Bluetooth device on the master PDA (this can be done on the client too, though) and click the newly paired Pocket PC on the first screen:

    click for screenshot

    Now, after the service list has been downloaded, choose 'Network Access':

    click for screenshot

    Click Next and Finish. You're ready; you'll be taken back to the 'My Shortcuts' screen of BT Manager. Here, all you need is tap-and-hold the newly created 'Network Access' icon and choose Connect every time you want to start a PAN:

    click for screenshot

    The client Pocket PC will now prompt the user for accepting the incoming request.

    click for screenshot

    Just click Accept and the PAN is active ? you can run your favourite PAN-capable application.

    Finding out my Internet address:

    After starting the BT PAN, you may need to look up your IP address you can tell any other devices in the same network to be able to communicate with you/access your resources. Note that your IP address over Bluetooth PAN will always be the same; therefore, you only need to check it once, after setting up and starting BT PAN with the other PDA/BT devices.

    Note that you won't need to this if you have, for example, Gphone or a lot of multiplayer games; they automatically display this address so you won't need to look it up at all. Furthermore, some other multiplayer games, for example, those from Fathammer, use dynamic LAN discovery to find out the game server PDA's address. This means you won't ever need to input the address of your PDA into other PDA's.

    Also note that giving out your IP is very safe in the case of PAN (this is, for example, I also give them out and don't remove them from my example screenshots, unlike with the IP address of my desktop computer). This IP address has nothing to do with your desktop computer's IP address because it's just a local address not visible from any other network. (Incidentally, being local can easily be spotted by just looking at it: it will start with 169.254, which is in a well-known private (LAN) address space.) In addition, the Windows Mobile operating system is overly simple in that you can't browse the file system of a Pocket PC via a TCP/IP (including BT PAN) connection ? that is, you're absolutely safe, not anyone connected to your PDA via BT PAN will be able to steal your data.

    The easiest way of getting your IP address (after you've started the PAN) is as follows:
    - if you have a WM2003 device, go to Settings/Connections/Connections/Advanced/Network Card
    - if you have a WM2003SE device, go to Settings/Connections/Network Cards

    Now, just choose the Bluetooth PAN User Driver from the "Tap an adapter to modify settings" list and jot down the contents of the "IP address" field. Two example screenshots with valid IP's (you'll see no IP's here if the PAN is not started): my iPAQ 2210 and Pocket Loox 720.

    Note that there're several other tools that make this even easier; for example, the great and, for personal usage, free (remember to avoid commercial products like MyIP! They offer no advantages over vxUtil!) vxUtil. (You'll need vxUtil.zip, not vxUtil2.zip! The latter is meant for pre-Pocket PC devices. Also see this thread for other, practical uses of vxUtil.)

    In vxUtil, go to 'Functions/Info'; jut down the number above, just under the Pocket PC ActiveSync name (here: PL720):

    click for screenshot

    That's the IP address you need to feed to all p2p MP game / other usage (for example, Internet connection sharing) that require an IP address.

    (Incidentally, if you set other network connections ? for example, GPRS ? you need to look up your current IP in exactly the same way in vxUtil. An example screenshot:

    click for screenshot

    Note that, unlike with PAN, you generally can't connect to a PDA which is connected to the Internet via GPRS because it'll have an address that is just a generic IP shared among many other GPRS client at the same time. With other types of connection, this restriction may be non-existing.)
     
  2. 66tbird

    66tbird Mobile Deity

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    A piece of work like this needs a little thanks from us members. I don't do a lot of BT but have been finding more and more equipment for it. Looks like it may be a nice weekend build project. Sooooo, Thankyou for the walk through. It's great info and nice of you to pass it along to this side of the street(forum).
     
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