Bluetooth Dial-Up Networking (DUN)

Boy and father networking
Image courtesy of Getty and Jamie Grill

Bluetooth dial-up networking, also called Bluetooth DUN, is a means of wirelessly tethering your cell phone to another mobile device like a laptop, for internet access. The connection uses your phone's data capabilities to deliver internet to the other device.

Using Bluetooth to connect your computer to the internet is sometimes your only option, like if you're not near a wired router or modem, if you can't find nearby free Wi-Fi, or if you're traveling and you don't have a dedicated wireless hotspot.

There are a couple of ways to wirelessly use your cell phone as a modem via Bluetooth. For example, you could create a Bluetooth Personal Area Network (PAN) for internet access or first pair your cell phone and laptop and then use carrier-specific software to use your phone as a modem. Bluetooth DUN, however, is the "old school" way of tethering using dial-up networking.

Allowing your laptop to use your phone's internet via Bluetooth, is often called Bluetooth tethering or simply just tethering.

Bluetooth DUN Instructions

  1. Enable Bluetooth on your phone or tablet.

    The option to turn on Bluetooth is usually found in the Settings, Connections, or Network menu of your phone. In that Bluetooth menu, select the option to make the device discoverable or visible via Bluetooth.

  2. On your laptop, go to the Bluetooth program manager and select to add a new connection, and choose the phone from the list.

    In Windows, you can add Bluetooth devices from Control Panel. Use the search tool in Control Panel to search for Bluetooth to find the settings specific to your version of Windows.

    If prompted with a PIN on the screen, make sure the same PIN shows up your phone, and then allow the connection on both devices. If you're asked to enter a PIN, try 0000 or 1234—you'll have to check with your phone manufacturer if those don't work.

    If your laptop doesn't have Bluetooth capabilities, you can use a Bluetooth USB adapter.

  3. Once your phone is connected to your laptop, you need to find the dial-up networking option so that your laptop can actually use your phone's internet and not just connect to it for audio, etc.

  4. In Windows, you should be able to double-click or double-tap the phone (in the Devices and Printers window of Control Panel) to open its settings, and then click/tap Connect next to the option to use your phone to connect to the internet.

Your menu may be different, especially if you're not using Windows. You might find the DUN option in the Bluetooth options menu instead.

In some cases, you might have to also need to input a username, password, and phone number or access point name (APN) provided by your ISP or wireless provider. If in doubt, contact your wireless provider or do an internet search for your carrier's APN settings. These settings might also be found in an international GPRS Mobile APN settings list.