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Getting my Palm Zire 72 to dial up via GRPS

I occasionally use my Palm (Zire 72, though other models may be similar) to download email from the internet, or more occassionally for other purposes such as SSH. This is, of course, connecting via my mobile phone. My phone is a Nokia 6100, not the newest phone on the planet, and it doesn't talk Bluetooth. Most of the wizards and guides I found were targetted at Bluetooth phones, and things didn't work quite as easily over the IRDA (infra-red) connection that I need to use to talk to my phone.

Originally I had my Palm using my phone as a GSM modem, and this was quite easy to setup. In the communication preferences I just created a network service that was based on the 'IR to Nokia 6310i' connection that my Palm had as standard (ok, my phone wasn't a 6310i - but it seemed to work). All I needed to do was ad in the phone number of my ISP, my username and password, and it all worked. Obviously this means you pay per minute, not per megabyte (this was part of my motivation to get GRPS working, as it should be more cost-effective for interactive SSH sessions). Unfortunately connecting using GPRS didn't seem to work using such a simple method, so I'll describe exactly how I did do it in case it helps someone else.

GPRS connection from a Palm Zire 72 using a Nokia 6100 and IRDA

It should be possible to modify these instructions to work with other models of Palm, or other phones.

Go into the communication preference, and create a new network service. Choose the 'IR to a PC/Handheld' connection type, which avoids the Palm sending the phone/modem any 'clever' (wrong) initialisation sequences. Also fill in a username and password, what you choose here should be unimportant on Orange (I chose 'web' and 'a') but may matter if you use a different provider (the URL for APN information below may give you the information that you need).

Click on the 'Details...' button. On the details page click on the 'Script...' button. We need to write a script that does everything required to connect, as we are using the 'IR to a PC/Handheld' so the Palm won't be doing any of it for us. The script you need to create is:

Send: ATZ
Send: AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","internet"
Send CR
Send: ATDT*99#
Send CR

I am on Orange, in the UK, for other countries or providers you may need to change the 'CGDCONT' line. I believe it should work on Vodaphone (though the person I know using this has put "IP" in lowercase, I don't know if this is important). I have seen sites quoting Orange as needing 'AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","orangeinternet"', but it seems to work for me with "internet" rather than "orangeinternet". You will also have to ensure GPRS is enabled for your account by your provider (this needs to be full internet access GPRS, I believe it is possible to have GPRS enabled for more restricted uses such as MMS or WAP without getting full internet access). If you want to make use of MMS or WAP services from your palm you might need to change "internet" on the CGDCONT line to something else, for example I think "orangemms" if you are on Orange, I haven't tried that.

The strings passed to GCDCONT are the 'APN', or access point names. looks to be a helpful URL for finding these out.

"*99#" is the standard 'magic number' to create a GPRS connection.

Once you've written this script, enable IR communiction on your phone, and try connecting. Good luck!

UPDATE: 18/10/2007: in many situations, and with many phones, it is possible to use a slight variation on the GRPS phone number: "ATDT*99***1#". This tells the phone to use the first data profile it has to connect. As the phone normally has suitable profiles configured this avoids the need for the device to use the correct "AT+GCDCONT" initialization string, and so simplifies the procedure. I should also note that where I've said "GPRS" your phone will actually use whatever data service it is capable of, which often now means a high-speed/3G connection.

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