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I would say that roughly 90% of my work is published online and all my work must be submitted by electronic means. Such is the way for millions of other freelancers, businessmen, consultants and footloose operators the world over. The internet has revolutionized how we work by making us available almost all of the time. This comes with a fatal flaw; the internet can fail.
Over the weekend, the modem provided by my ISP packed up. This is my first day being back to normal. However, I did manage to survive without my own internet connection. And no, I didn’t use someone else’s WiFi connection or scurry down to the local Starbucks. In this article I’m going to show you how to use your basic GPRS cell phone as a modem for your PC – and achieve fast speeds from it. I don’t mean a smart phone with 3G or anything of the sort – just any old cell phone from 2004 onwards.
The most basic way of doing this is to use the disc that came with your phone. My Samsung came with software for loading music and files as well as changing the phone’s settings. Look around on your phone’s software. See if you can find anything about “˜Connections’, “˜Network’, “˜Modem’ or “˜Communications’. If you do, there should be detailed instructions on how to use your cell phone as a modem. Mine was easy to set up, I just told it I lived in Ireland and it detected all of the necessary settings for me.
However, what if your phone didn’t come with a CD, or there was nothing on the CD about turning your cell phone into a modem?
First, connect your phone to your PC using the USB cable (if one didn’t come with the phone there are loads for sale on eBay for many different makes and models of phones for low prices). You can also connect it via Bluetooth, however this will cause the final download speeds to be slower. Your computer should recognize that your phone has been connected to it and begin to install the “˜Drivers‘. When this has finished, open the start menu and select “˜Connect To‘. At the bottom of the window which opens opt to “˜Create a new connection‘. Then select “˜Create a Dial-Up Connection‘.
The window shown below will be displayed. For the phone number enter in *99# (this is a kind of universal GPRS number that your carrier will redirect). This will tell your phone to access its GPRS function.
For the username and password you’ll have to do some research on the internet. These are easily found by simply Googling “˜GPRS Setting for [Network Name]”˜ or “˜Wap Settings for [Network Name]”˜. I am on a network called Meteor so we’ll use them as an example for this article.
One you have done this, finish creating the connection. Then, select the connection from the “˜Connect To‘ menu. When it asks for the username and password, enter in the ones appropriate for your network. This will then connect you to the internet.
Because mobile phone technology is at its height, you’ll get fast speeds, especially if you’re in the US. I had assumed that it would be slow like GPRS mobile internet it but this is only slow because of the phone’s browser’s limitations. Not the networks.
I easily checked e-mails, surfed the web and submitted work. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t exactly be streaming HD video but it can be handy when your normal internet goes down. I found that loading complex pages such as makeuseof.com took around 10-12 seconds where as simple pages such as my blog or Twitter only took a couple of seconds.
As with all my articles that require the use of GPRS, I advise you to see if your network has unlimited access for a set fee or capped costs per day like mine does as overusing GPRS can be costly.
Have you done this with your phone? If so, what method does your phone use to connect to the net?