Sunday, June 03, 2007

Blackberry 8703e EVDO Internet Connection on a Mac

By virtue of the fact that I'm a floor captain, I am issued a Blackberry by my employer. Last week our old Nextel BBs were replaced with new Sprint 8703es. Aside from the onboard Internet access, they can also be used as an EVDO modem for your laptop. Unfortunately, the Sprint PCS Broadband software is Windows-only. However, after much googling, I learned how to set it up so that I can establish the connection in XP under Parallels Desktop, then using XP's Internet Connection Sharing, "tunnel" through it and access the Internet using OS X. AAMOF, I'm doing it as I write this.

The instructions below are based on those posted by "Ken" HERE.

Use Parallels Build 3188 (Earlier version may or may not work.)
I used a Windows XP virtual machine. W2K may work but I haven't tested it.
I have Sprint Mobile Broadband.

1. Install and get the EVDO device working in Windows, using the USB connection.

2. In Parallels
Devices Menu
Choose RIM - Handheld

3. Disable the DHCP in Parallels
Parallels Desktop Menu
Uncheck DHCP

4. Enable Connection Sharing on Windows Modem
Open Properties for the Modem
Check everything
You may need to disable the Windows firewall

5. Choose your Network device in Parallels Virtual Machine (VM should be
Network Adaptor
Host-Only Networking

6. Choose your Network device in Mac
System Preferences
Parallels Host-Guest OS
Renew IP address

7. Connect with Sprint Mobile Broadband in Windows.

8. Minimize your XP VM, and you should now be able to access the Internet from

It works pretty well here in my living room. I probably won't use it much, since whenever I use my Mac I generally have access to a high speed connection. But, this will come on handy when I travel and I'm killing time in an airport. Some airports have free WiFi, but most charge for it. The Sprint connection feels about as fast as the airport WiFi connections I've used in Philadelphia and Denver. I'm getting around a meg down, and about 100 kbps up.

Edit 7/3/07: OS 10.4.10 breaks Parallels Desktop Build 3188's USB functionality. I describe the symptom and a fix HERE.


steve said...

Nice work! cool how you can make almost anything work with a little sleuth work. For those who just want a data card to work on a Mac, here is where you can get the U720 card Free, plus they will Pre-activate it on a windows device for you...

Anonymous said...

This is fantastic! I have been looking for something to make my BB 8703e work with my MacBook every since I switched to Mac a month ago. These instructions are perfect. Makes me love Parallels even more!

John said...

Thanks for post.

I was able to surf on Mac while using my BB from my Win Xp VM, which is great!!

Still, I wonder if there is a way that I can switch this setting back and forth between my office setting and travel setting.

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