Bluetooth PAN

Today I managed to get the personal area networking (PAN) working with a Nokia N810 and a Ubuntu Linux system. However it took me quite a while to figure out everything to get it working.

The first problem I had was that the Nokia N810 does not support the PAN Bluetooth profile by default only dial-up networking (DUN) is supported. The recently released maemo-pan application adds support for PAN to the N810.
The problem I got with maemo-pan is that I could not register my computer as a phone and because of this the maemo-pan application did not find my workstation. After reading the source code I figured out that I just need to set the appropriate value in GConf to get it connecting. It is necessary that the two devices are paired before that they can connect without any further authentication.
With the following call to the gconftool-2 it is possible to set the HW-Address of the Bluetooth adapter of the desktop. This needs to be called on the N810.

gconftool-2 -s /system/osso/connectivity/BT/preferred --t string "XX"

Replace the ‘XX’ above with the hardware address of the desktop. To check that the configuration is set correctly you can call the gconftool-2 with the following parameters:

gconftool-2 -g /system/osso/connectivity/BT/preferred

The next problem I encountered was that I used Ubuntu 8.04beta. Where I figured out that there are some problems with the bluez-utils. Actually the pand executable is missing. I installed the bluez-utils from the PPA from Elliot Murphy. In this package the pand binaries are available and working.

I followed the howto Bluetooth PAND debian etch which did work almost. It did work to get a connection but I got the following error message in the syslog after some data where transmitted.

NETDEV WATCHDOG: bnep0: transmit timed out

If this happens I need to restart the connection and everything will work again, for a small amount of data. Since I tested these within VMWare I thought I might just try it on a real machine. Surprisingly it just worked without any problem. This is yet an other example if you get any problem with a USB device within VMWare just try the device on a real machine since it is possible that it might work without problems. It might work better if I would use VMWare 6 and no more VMWare 5.5 since there where some improvements within the USB support.

What is still missing now is a tool on the N810 to select the Bluetooth partner to connect to that offers PAN. This way it would not be necessary to select the PAN device as a phone or set it by hand as the device to connect to. I will see if I get the time to do that.

7 Comments so far

  1.    Mathew’s blog » Updates on PAN on April 29th, 2008

    […] did work on the PAN connection for the Nokia N810. As I described earlier ( Bluetooth PAN) I used maemo-pan on the Nokia and the setup as described in the mentioned tutorial on the Ubuntu […]

  2.    Remy Dubreus on May 18th, 2008

    I just read your explanation about BNEP0 transmit timeout. I am experienced about the same problem with a Bletooth piconet made up to six slaves. The model is Gumstix. After 20 minutes run, I this message Watchdog Bnep0 Transmit time out.Irestat the devices, it still gives the same thing. Do you any idea about Gumstix Connex 400bt brand. Please let me know. Thank you.


  3.    Mathias Weber on May 25th, 2008

    I’m sorry I have no experience with Gumstix. I only got this problem when running the Bluetooth connection within VMWare I did not have this problem with a real device.

  4.    john on June 3rd, 2008

    gconftool-2 -s /system/osso/connectivity/BT/preferred –t string “XX”

    I have replaced the “XX” string with my latop physical address in the format nn:nn:nn:nn:nn:nn

    Is that the correct format as I can’t get it to work at all.

  5.    Mathias Weber on June 4th, 2008

    Yes this is correct and this should work. At least it does for me.

  6.    Sietze van de Burgt on November 24th, 2008

    Thank you for sorting this out,
    since I am not smart enough to study the source code
    I would never have got my n810 connected to my debbox.
    This is the only page on the whole net that
    seems to explain this so keep up the good page 🙂
    I used the same howto, and got it working the first time around, but the next time around it didn’t
    I saw the bnep0 device didn’t get an ip adress
    so I did put an ifconfig netmask first in the /etc/bluetooth/pan/dev_up file (kept the same adres configuration as howto)
    and now it does work.
    everything seems fine in /etc/interfaces but i still need to force it with ifconfig to work.
    sorry for mentioning this,
    especially since i do not have your level of skills and don’t know if this is important.

  7.    Mathias Weber on December 10th, 2008

    Thanks for your nice comment. I didn’t had this problem but I have to admit that I no more have access to a n810 since this was part of my research work.
    I hope it works for other if there are more that discover this problem I will add a comment above. Otherwise it is at least in the comment here.