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What is Bluetooth® DUN?

By R. Kayne
Updated May 16, 2024
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Bluetooth® dial-up networking (DUN) refers to getting wireless Internet connectivity on a laptop by using a Bluetooth®-enabled cell phone. Bluetooth® DUN is a good alternative for wireless Internet when there are no local hotspots or wireless access points to provide faster, more efficient access. At a minimum, it allows one to check email or perform other lowband online tasks.

Bluetooth® is a personal access network (PAN) technology that uses radio waves in the 2.4 gigahertz range to connect personal devices. It is most often used to connect cell phones with hands free headsets, but is also used for communication between personal digital assistants (PDAs) and laptops, cell phones and laptops, mice, keyboards and printers, and even game consoles. Bluetooth® DUN is just one of the many ways Bluetooth® technology improves personal flexibility in the digital world.

To create a Bluetooth® DUN connection, one must first configure the laptop for enabled Bluetooth® connectivity. The cell phone must also be configured to communicate via Bluetooth®. The laptop should recognize all Bluetooth®-enabled devices in the immediate area. The cell phone is selected as the device of choice, and a Bluetooth® DUN shortcut must be configured the first time a connection is made. In this step, the laptop is configured to communicate using the Bluetooth® modem rather than the standard internal modem.

When setting up a Bluetooth® DUN, an Internet Service Provider (ISP) username and password are required, as is a dial-up access phone number. If the Bluetooth® connection is encrypted, the user may also need to enter a Bluetooth® security code into both the cell phone and the laptop. This will allow the devices to successfully “handshake,” or form a connection.

Once a shortcut to the Bluetooth® DUN has been created on the laptop, the user can click on it anytime to use the cell phone to dial an access number. Online speed fluctuates depending on various factors, but Bluetooth® supports between one and three megabits per second (mbps), depending on the Bluetooth® specification used. For perspective, a basic Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) service transfers data at about 100 mbps.

Since different cell phones and laptops have different navigational steps for pairing Bluetooth® devices and creating a Bluetooth® DUN, Bluetooth.com created instructional videos. By clicking on Connecting Devices from their home page, the Bluetooth® enthusiast can find specific device-pairing videos. If your phone model is not listed, there are also generic instructions available for setting up a Bluetooth® DUN.

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Discussion Comments

By anon169039 — On Apr 19, 2011

I agree with the above. Since I've lived in rural and metropolitan areas, in the country or rural areas (east coast), the average is between four and six, and 10 if you're lucky!

The difference in larger areas that actually count as metros obviously, but is still true for the majority of us. 100MBps? Wow. That is pretty rare. The only place around where i live that have that rate is DC!

By anon23092 — On Dec 16, 2008

Agreed with both comments, 100 Megabits (Mbps) is somewhere in between OC1 and OC3 speeds (Optical) used to provide internet to Dial-Up ISP's and Large corporations. I pay $55/mo for 15 Megabit Down/1.5 Megabit Up in Milwaukee,WI.

By anon10290 — On Mar 24, 2008

So far as I've seen thereisn't 100mbit DSL anywhere. You might be looking at the lan interface to the modem on that one. Bluetooth 1.2 and before would do a maximum of 1mbit, while 2.0 will do 3mbit, but that is only the connection between the phone and laptop. In the US it's unlikely that any phone / carrier will do much more than 1mbit down.

By anon465 — On Apr 25, 2007

DSL lines @ 100mbps are NOT common! In North America, 1-6 mbps lines are common.

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