This article will show you how to use your BlackBerry device to connect a Windows notebook or desktop computer to the Web.

A tethered modem lets you access the Internet with your laptop computer anywhere there's cellular data coverage. Forget about lengthy Wi-Fi hotspot login processes and usage fees.

If you have a BlackBerry 7130v, Pearl, Curve or 8800 series device it can be employed as a tethered modem - though charges for data may vary, so check that before you proceed.

1. Download and install RIM BlackBerry Desktop Software

The first step to connecting your Windows notebook or desktop computer to the Internet using your BlackBerry smartphone's data connection: download the BlackBerry Desktop Software from RIM's website or the CD that came with your device. You'll need software version 4.1 or higher to use your BlackBerry as a tethered modem.

This software ensures that you've got the appropriate drivers to enable your BlackBerry to use your computer's USB and virtual COM ports to upload and download Internet data via dial-up connection.

If you find that you're already running an earlier version of BlackBerry Desktop Manager that doesn't support tethering, simply download the updated software from RIM. You may to need repair the software after upgrading from v4.0 to v4.1 if the necessary USB and virtual COM ports can't be found. To do so, simply re-install and select the Repair option.

2. Create Web Access Point Name (APN)

Open up your Windows Start Menu and find your Control Panel, within your Settings. Open up your Phone and Modem Options, and specify your local area code, carrier code (if necessary) and numbers that you may need to dial to access outside lines. Then choose whether or not your use a touch tone or pulse telephone connection and hit OK.

From there, select the Modems tab, highlight Standard Modems and click the Properties tab beneath the option. Once the Properties window opens, click on the Advanced tab at the top of the box and in the Extra Initialization Commands field type:

+cgdcont=1,"IP"," Your Internet APN"

(Note: If you don't know your Internet Access Point Name (APN), you can contact your wireless carrier's customer support representatives. Or you can try to find your APN by clicking the Options icon on your BlackBerry Applications screen, then Advanced Options, and TCP. If the Internet APN name has been saved within the device, it will be listed in this menu. A good old Google search never hurts, either.)

Click OK once you've filled in the Extra Initialization Commands field and hit OK again when the Phone and Modem Options tab reappears.