BlackBerry Services Supported Over a Wi-Fi Connection
Wi-Fi on a BlackBerry is very important feature for most of us and it’s still one of the prime deciding factor for many on which model to buy. We know how BlackBerry works on Wi-Fi and what we can do with it based on our past experiences and trials but we have now the official knowledge base article published by RIM yesterday stating what BlackBerry services you can use over a W-Fi connection. Let me explain what it means in simple terms yet in detail.
BlackBerry with Wi-Fi and UMA compatibility
A Wi-Fi enabled BlackBerry smartphone can access voice and data services using multiple radio technologies.
If the wireless service provider makes Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA)/generic access network (GAN) technology available for subscription, the Wi-Fi enabled BlackBerry smartphone can access voice and data services over a mobile network and a Wi-Fi connection. UMA/GAN allows concurrent connections to data services over a Wi-Fi connection and voice services over the mobile network.
A Wi-Fi enabled BlackBerry smartphone can establish a Wi-Fi connection from an organization Wi-Fi network, a personal Wi-Fi network with a virtual private network (VPN) connection, or a hotspot with a VPN connection direct to the BlackBerry Router.
This feature is there since quite a long time and many wireless carriers are promoting it actively. The BlackBerry Pearl 8120, Curve 8320 (discontinued by most carriers), Curve 8900, Curve 8520, Bold 9700 etc are all Wi-Fi capable devices which are supported for UMA compatibility by many wireless service providers. UMA allows you to basically use your Wi-Fi network to make and receive calls whereby you can save your air time minutes from your calling plan thus making these calls as free calls. You need to subscribe for this UMA/ talkspot feature from your wireless carrier if they are providing it. (e.g. $10/month for unlimited local and $15/month for unlimited national by Rogers in Canada).
Tip: Make sure you have UMA displayed on your home screen before calling out if you are subscribed to UMA feature. This will ensure those calls are free UMA calls. If you do not have UMA feature on your account and using above mentioned BlackBerry model then keep the Connection Preference as "Mobile Network Preferred” not “Wi-Fi Preferred” in order to avoid dropped calls occasionally. You can access/change this settings from Menu – Manage Connections – Mobile Network Options.
Free BBM Messages and BIS emails while outside home network
In addition, using a Wi-Fi network to connect directly to the BlackBerry Router, with or without a VPN session, or to the Internet on the appropriate port, a Wi-Fi enabled BlackBerry smartphone can access the BlackBerry® Internet Service, BlackBerry® Messenger, and personal identification number (PIN) messaging.
To connect to the BlackBerry Data Services over Wi-Fi for PIN messaging and BlackBerry Internet Service connectivity, the BlackBerry smartphone will require a BlackBerry data plan from the wireless service provider. It may also require a BlackBerry data plan to connect to the BlackBerry Router on a BlackBerry Enterprise Server to access BlackBerry data services.
Note: Check with your wireless service provider for supported services and features.
This is the huge plus and the only main reason of writing this post. Many BlackBerry users are already using it this way and many users do not know if it can be used this way too.
If you already have a data plan then you have access to BBM and BIS emails and you can use BBM and BIS emails on Wi-Fi too. So when you are connected to Wi-Fi network and you have the Mobile Network tuned OFF, you can still use the BlackBerry Messenger and send/receive BIS emails.
Let me explain by giving you two examples.
Inside Home Network – Wi-Fi ON – Mobile Network OFF
I use my BlackBerry this way most of the time when I do not want to be disturbed by voice calls. With Wi-Fi connected and Mobile Network turned OFF, I still get my emails and BBM messages which are important to me and I do not get disturbed by any voice calls and SMS/MMS which is fine in those instances. This also helps me save on Battery charge.
Outside Home Network – Wi-Fi ON – Mobile Network OFF
I have used the BlackBerry this way couple of times and never got additional charge by my carrier. When I was roaming outside my home network, I was able to use BBM and BIS emails through Wi-Fi and did not receive additional charge. It may/ may not work if you are on BES and as stated in the above note it is advised to check with your wireless service provider for supported services and features.
So leave your comments if you have used the BlackBerry on Wi-Fi while you were roaming out side your home network in the past.