Choose a Communication Link for Your BlackBerry PlayBook - dummies

Choose a Communication Link for Your BlackBerry PlayBook

By Corey Sandler

The BlackBerry PlayBook can connect to the Internet four different ways. The makers of the tablet didn’t do this to confuse you; they did it to offer options for different working conditions.

Here are the possible links.

The BlackBerry PlayBook Browser

The tablet can connect directly to the Internet using its own WiFi transceiver and an available WiFi network. The PlayBook can work with any of the current specifications for WiFi (in technical terms, these are called 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n) and can also communicate at either of the standard radio frequencies of 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz.

In many situations, using a WiFi connection is free (or relatively inexpensive; you might have to pay an hourly fee or buy a cuppa coffee). On the downside, there is a slight possibility of a security threat using a WiFi system that you don’t manage.

The BlackBerry Bridge Browser

When you pair your PlayBook to a BlackBerry smartphone using the BlackBerry Bridge, your tablet will use the cellular data facilities of the phone to connect. No WiFi connection is involved. This form of connection is considered very secure (especially if the BlackBerry smartphone connects to a BlackBerry Enterprise Server at a corporate intranet).

On the downside, cellular data communication may be slower than WiFi, and there may be extra charges or restrictions placed on the amount of data used by a smartphone. Contact your cellular provider for details about your data plan.

Bluetooth tethering to Dial-Up Networking (DUN)

This lets you scoot around the data charges some cellular providers try to charge, although it probably isn’t the most satisfying browsing experience. Using a Bluetooth connection, you can link your BlackBerry PlayBook to a BlackBerry (or other cellphone) and then use a dial-up Internet connection. If you’ve been involved with computers for more than a few years, you remember telephones and modems and slow, slow connections. The PlayBook automatically uses its built-in browser in a dial-up connection.

If you choose to use DUN, you shouldn’t have to pay data charges, although you may have to pay for cellphone call minutes. Confirm the details of your phone agreement with your cellular provider.

Data link from a cellular-enabled PlayBook

If you own a BlackBerry PlayBook with a 3G, 4G, or other cellular radio, you can link directly to the Internet from the tablet without involving a BlackBerry or other smartphone. You will, though, have to agree to a contract with a cellular provider. Be sure you understand all of the details of that plan. In this sort of connection, your PlayBook will use its own browser.