Tuesday, May 6, 2008

How to setup Bluetooth

This HOWTO tells you how to install and configure Bluetooth on your Linux driven ThinkPad and how to make the most common Bluetooth applications (like connecting your mobile phone etc.) work.

Enabling Bluetooth

If Bluetooth is disabled and you have Ibm-acpi running you could enable/disable bluetooth by entering:

# echo enable > /proc/acpi/ibm/bluetooth


# echo disable > /proc/acpi/ibm/bluetooth

You should also be able to toggle bluetooth with Fn+F5 keys.

Under Ubuntu Gutsy, in /etc/acpi/ibm-wireless.sh you have to comment "if ! isAnyWirelessPoweredOn; then" and the corresponding "fi" to make the Fn+F5 work.

Configuring the kernel

Since the Bluetooth card is connected to the USB subsystem, you will need to enable USB support in your kernel:

Device Drivers → USB support → Support for Host-side USB (CONFIG_USB)
Device Drivers → USB support → [*]USB device file system (CONFIG_USB_DEVICEFS)

Choose an appropriate USB host driver, one of:

Device Drivers → USB support → EHCI HCD (USB 2.0) support (CONFIG_USB_EHCI_HCD)
Device Drivers → USB support → UHCI HCD support (CONFIG_USB_UHCI)
Device Drivers → USB support → OHCI HCD support (CONFIG_USB_OHCI)

Enable Bluetooth subsystem and drivers:

Networking → <*>Bluetooth subsystem support (CONFIG_BT)
Networking → Bluetooth subsystem support → <*>L2CAP protocol support (CONFIG_BT_L2CAP)
Networking → Bluetooth subsystem support → <*>SCO links support (CONFIG_BT_SCO)
Networking → Bluetooth subsystem support → <*>RFCOMM protocol support (CONFIG_BT_RFCOMM)
Networking → Bluetooth subsystem support → [*]RFCOMM TTY support (CONFIG_BT_RFCOMM_TTY)
Networking → Bluetooth subsystem support → <*>BNEP protocol support (CONFIG_BT_BNEP)
Networking → Bluetooth subsystem support → <*>HID protocol support (CONFIG_BT_HID)
Networking → Bluetooth subsystem support → Bluetooth device drivers → HCI USB driver (CONFIG_BT_HCIUSB)
Networking → Bluetooth subsystem support → Bluetooth device drivers → [*]SCO (voice) support (CONFIG_BT_HCIUSB_SCO)

Make sure that the according modules are loaded:

# modprobe uhci_hcd ; modprobe ehci_hcd ; modprobe hci_usb

Serial connection over Bluetooth

One common application is to connect your mobile phone and use it as a modem to connect to the internet via GPRS or 3G (UMTS). A lot of phones do this through using AT-commands on a serial over Bluetooth connection.

By configuring /etc/bluetooth/rfcomm.conf correctly, you'll get a device /dev/rfcomm0.

Eventually one could use the command:

# rfcomm bind 0 00:15:A0:7A:90:F2 3

The hardware address should be replaced with that of your phone. If you don't know the hardware address of your phone yet, you can get it by running:

# hcitool scan

The last parameter ('3') is the channel to use. I spent quite some time fighting before I found out of that one; I didn't find it documented anywhere, but by running

# sdptool records 00:15:A0:7A:90:F2

I found channel 3 to be the right one for my phone. You will have to experiment to find the right one for your phone setup; for T-Mobile GSM/GPRS carrier in USA this is channel 1.

By experimenting, the bluetooth stack on the cellphone may crash. Reboot it if that happens.

Alternativly one could use the following to find the right channel:

# sdptool search DUN
Inquiring ...
Searching for DUN on 00:11:22:33:44:55 ...
Service Name: Dial-up Networking
Service RecHandle: 0x10001
Service Class ID List:
"Dialup Networking" (0x1103)
"Generic Networking" (0x1201)
Protocol Descriptor List:
"L2CAP" (0x0100)
"RFCOMM" (0x0003)
Channel: 4

Now /dev/rfcomm0 exists.

At this point you can use an automatic dialing utility such as wvdial, editing the config file to point to the modem at /dev/rfcomm0, and everything should work just like a land line!

If you experience strange disconnects while using wvdial, disable "Carrier Check" in your wvdial configuration.

You may directly access the modem (i.e. by using minicom:)

$ minicom -s

set the serial device to be /dev/rfcomm0, choose 'exit' and then the AT-commands can be typed in. With my operator (Telenor, Norway) it seemed simple enough, I just entered

ATDT *99#

and lots of cryptic letters started dancing across the screen, indicating a ppp session startup.

To configure pppd create /etc/ppp/peers/nokia with particularly those lines:

connect '/usr/sbin/chat -v -f /etc/ppp/chat-nokia'

Furthermore, you need a simple chat script. Create /etc/ppp/chat-nokia:

'ABORT' 'Invalid Login'
'ABORT' 'Login incorrect'
'OK' 'ATDT*99#'

Here's a script that works for Cingular's network:

OK ATD*99***1#

See more here

Run pppd with:

$ pppd call nokia

This should establish the internet connection.

Different network operators may require different call strings. For many carriers (including T-Mobile USA) "*99#" works without additional parameters.

For editing phonebook / ringtones / etc., the gammu utils (http://www.gamu.net) has been reported to work well, but this appears to be primarily for Nokia phones.

File Transfer

File transfers are accomplished through OBEX transfer, which I believe is basically an FTP over bluetooth connection. Once you have bonded with your phone (yes, I know you love your sexy RAZR, but here I mean paired it with your laptop via bluetooth), you can easily use "obexftp" to transfer files. As an example,

obexftp -b 00:01:02:03:04:05 -l

will list the root directory of the phone with bluetooth address 00:01:02:03:04:05. Refer to the man page for more of the unique commands. What a wonderful interface! Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a way to get a standard 'ftp' session using familiar commands (e.g. 'mget').

For a more user-friendly experience, you can use the kde tools, just launch


for a file browser. In the Location: option put


to list the files. Note that the brackets *are* necessary. From there, you can list directories easily and batch download files.

Mount a phone as a directory

You can also mount a phone as a standard directory using obexfs and the FUSE (file system in userspace) utilities.

The ibm bluetooth card can work like an usb-dongle. You don't need the bcm203x module.

Configure your kernel as outlined above.

  • Install the required packages

To mount the filesystem we need the fuse program. FuseFS is also implemented in the kernel, but for some reason it only works with 2.6.18. If you run 2.6.17 or earlier, please download it and build the module according to your distro.

  • Emerge or apt-get bluez-utils and obexfs. This should pull other required packages (bluez-libs, openobex, obexftp, sys-fs/fuse) as dependencies.
# emerge bluez-utils obexfs
  • Modify /etc/bluetooth/hcid.conf if you haven't already. It can be done as above, or use the following:
options {
autoinit yes"
security user
pairing multi
pin_helper /usr/bin/bluepin
device {
name testname
class 0x3e0100
iscan enable
pscan enable
lm accept
lp rswitch,hold,sniff,park
  • load the modules:
# modprobe fuse
# modprobe bluetooth
# modprobe ehci-hcd
# modprobe uhci-hcd
# modprobe hci_usb
# modprobe l2cap
# modprobe rfcomm
  • activate your bluetooth (show howto ibm-acpi for more details) by using fn+f5 or:
# echo enable >/proc/acpi/ibm/bluetooth
  • start the bluetooth device:
# /etc/init.d/bluetooth start
  • turn on bluetooth of your mobile phone (visible mode) and get the mac-address of your phone using hcitool.
# hcitool scan

For non symbian mobile phones

  • mount your phone - don't forget to umount it when you're finished
# mkdir /mnt/phone
# mount -t fuse "obexfs#-b00:16:20:32:25:3C -B6" /mnt/phone

use your mac-address instead of my 00:16:20:32:25:3C and don't forget the -b option in front of the mac

Works perfectly with IBM T43p, X41, sony ericsson k750i, nokia 6280, samsung z400, sony ericsson k700i.

Mounting Symbian Phones

  • You need network file system support in your kernel
# cd /usr/src/linux
# make menuconfig
File Systems → Network File Systems → NFS file system support (NFS_FS)
File Systems → Network File Systems → Provide NFSv3 client support (NFS_V3)
File Systems → Network File Systems → NFS server support (NFSD)
File Systems → Network File Systems → <*>Provide NFSv3 server support (NFSD_V3)
File Systems → Network File Systems → <*>Provide NFS server over TCP support (NFSD_TCP)
# make && make modules_install
  • Install required programs
# emerge -av p3nfs
  • Modify your /etc/bluetooth/rfcomm.conf
rfcomm0 {
bind yes;
device 00:0F:DE:8C:E6:94;
channel 13;
comment "symbian connection"
  • restart your bluetooth device, load kernel modules and start portmap (required for p3nfs)
# /etc/init.d/bluetooth restart
# modprobe nfs
# modprobe nfsd
# /etc/init.d/portmap start
  • get the application for your mobile phone here
  • start bt at your mobile phone, send application to mobilephone, install and launch the nfsapp with bluetooth at channel 13 (default)
# obexftp -b 00:0F:DE:8C:E6:94 -p /home/tava/ablage/nfsapp*
  • mount your mobile phone:
# p3nfsd -UIQ -tty /dev/rfcomm0 -dir /mnt/bluetooth (-UIQ is only for UIQ-Phones, type p3nfsd --help and get informations for your phone)
  • if doesn't work, make sure rfcomm0 is clean
# rfcomm

Building from source

Get the source packages from www.bluez.org.

Build each of them with the usual steps:

$ ./configure && make
# make install

Gentoo ebuilds

Under Gentoo, install the following ebuilds:

  • net-wireless/bluez-bluefw
  • net-wireless/bluez-firmware
  • net-wireless/bluez-hcidump
  • net-wireless/bluez-hciemu
  • net-wireless/bluez-libs
  • net-wireless/bluez-utils
net-wireless/bluez-kernel is not needed, since the current version is included in your kernel.

Other distributions

You will find packages for Debian, Red Hat and Slackware on the packages page of the BlueZ project.

Bluez packages are included in Debian Sid (bluez-utils, and non-free package bluez-firmware).


If you cant get hci0 up with a /etc/init.d/bluetooth restart (or similar) then you might want to try a

# hciconfig hci0 down && hciconfig hci0 up

(solved the problem on a X60s and T60 (debian/testing))

External Links

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