A Guide to Blackberry Internet Service

BIS delivers email to BlackBerry smartphones

BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) is an email and synchronization service provided by RIM for BlackBerry users. It was created for BlackBerry users without an enterprise email account on a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) and can be used in over 90 countries.

BIS lets you retrieve email from multiple POP3, IMAP and Outlook Web App (OWA) on your BlackBerry, as well as synchronize your contacts, calendar, and deleted items from some email providers. However, BIS is more than just email; Outlook and Yahoo! Mail users can sync contacts, and Gmail users can synchronize deleted items, contacts, and calendar.

If you cannot afford a hosted BES account, or if your company does not host a BES, the BlackBerry Internet Service is a very capable substitute. It does not provide the same level of security that you will find on a BES, but you can still receive email and synchronize your contacts and calendar.

Setting up a New BIS Account

When purchasing a BlackBerry device with any wireless carrier, it comes with instructions for setting up a BIS account and a BlackBerry email address. These instructions differ from carrier to carrier, so you have to consult your documentation if you need help creating an account.

For example, Verizon shows how to set up a BlackBerry account using BIS, and the way you do it is through a Verizon-specific page at vzw.blackberry.com. Other carriers use unique URLs, like bell.blackberry.com for Bell Mobility or sprint.blackberry.com for Sprint.

Creating a BlackBerry Email Address

After creating your BIS account, you'll be prompted to add email addresses, as well as have the opportunity to create a BlackBerry email address.

A BlackBerry email address is specific to your BlackBerry. Email sent to your BlackBerry email address goes directly to your device, so you should be selective about where you use it and who you give it to.

If you are an AT&T subscriber, for example. your BlackBerry email would be username@att.blackberry.net.

Add Additional Email Accounts

You can add up to 10 email addresses to your BIS account (in addition to the BlackBerry email account), and BIS will send email from those accounts to your BlackBerry. For some providers like Gmail, email is delivered using RIM's push technology and will be delivered very quickly.

After you've added an email account, you'll receive an Activation Server email from the BIS, which tells you that you'll start receiving email on your BlackBerry in 20 minutes. You may also get an email about a Security Activation. Follow the instructions provided in the email to activate the email account on the BIS.

Move Accounts From BlackBerry to BlackBerry

In the event that you lose or damage your BlackBerry, RIM has made it extremely easy to transfer your settings.

You can log into your carrier's BIS website (refer to the documentation that came with your BlackBerry) and select the Change Device link under Settings. Follow the instructions to Detect New Device. The BIS will transfer all of your email account information to your new device, and in a few minutes, your email will be up and running.

More Information on BIS

BlackBerry Internet Service is like an ISP (Internet Service Provider) you use at home. While all traffic is routed through your ISP from your home devices, if BIS is set up, all of your phone's traffic is sent through BIS.

However, one difference between BES and BIS is that with the latter, your internet traffic is not encrypted. Since all your emails, web page visits, etc. are sent through an encrypted channel (the BIS), it's possible for government intelligence agencies to see the data.

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