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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Linux, bluetooth, and GRPS internet

Currently I am sitting in Austin's Neighborhood Pub across the street from my little condominium here in Calgary, Alberta. Although I can see a number of wireless networks in the area, none of them are unsecured and for their own reasons, the pub itself is not particularly interested in providing wireless connectivity to its patrons.

So this leaves me with the need to be creative in how I connect to the internet. What's more, in a couple weeks I am leaving for my second major cross country bicycle tour of Canada, and will likely be more or less completely away from the gentle caress of the net for most of that time.

Anyways, as I mentioned, I need to be creative with this whole connectivity thing, and my solution is via bluetooth, to route packets through my cell phone and connect to the net via the phones GPRS (and EGPRS in some areas) data connection.

The thing that impressed me is that this technology is alreadly quite nicely supported in linux, albeit with a bit of work on the commandline (not much, just check out pand, bnep, and of course ifconfig and dhclient). If you want some fairly superb documentation on this check out the bluetooth article gentoo wiki.

I imagine that other operating systems like the BSD's would support this as well, but I haven't confirmed it.

Congrats to the bluez folks for delivering a working network bluetooth stack for linux.

As a side note from what I read on Dan Williams' Blog, this functionality will eventually make its way into network manager itself sometime around the release of 0.8.

This makes me want to move to a phone that actually supports 3g data connections to make this all a bit faster than dialup... However, at this time there is nothing available on the market which will do everything I want from a phone (3G. UMA, Bluetooth and supports a native binary gmail application). My current Nokia 6301 does all of this except the 3G thing, so I am going to stick with it for the time being.

Take Care, and hopefully I will post back here before I leave for my tour, but then again, even if I don't then so be it, I will be able to post from the road.

Please enjoy responsibly

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