How To: Setting Up a Bluetooth Personal Area Network (PAN) in Windows Vista
Joining a Bluetooth personal area network
A Bluetooth personal area network (PAN) is a short-range wireless network used to connect devices together wirelessly. It’s commonly used to connect a laptop to a desktop PC, though it can be used to connect other types of Bluetooth devices. As a rule, there’s not much to joining Bluetooth devices to a Bluetooth network. Most of the action takes place automatically behind the scenes. To understand the basic procedure, let’s assume you already have a Windows Vista desktop computer with a functional Internet connection. You’ve already installed a Bluetooth USB adapter on that computer, so it’s now a Bluetooth device. On that Windows Vista desktop computer, you can open the Bluetooth Settings dialog box, click the Options tab, and make sure that the Turn discovery on and Allow Bluetooth devices to connect to this computer options are selected. On a laptop computer, plug in a second Bluetooth USB adapter. You want to connect the laptop to the desktop in a personal area network. To do so, starting from the laptop computer, follow these steps:
- Right-click the Bluetooth Devices Notification area icon and choose Join a Personal Area Network. A list of Bluetooth devices should appear. If at least one device does not appear, click the Add button and follow the steps to locate a Bluetooth-enabled computer.
- Click the name of the computer to which you want to connect, and click the Connect or Next button.
- Choose a passkey method from the next wizard screen (the Choose a passkey for me option is sufficient), and then click Next.
- You’ll be given a passkey as in the upper-left corner. On the other computer, you’ll be asked to type in that same passkey, as in the lower-right corner. Type in the passkey exactly as shown in the first computer and click Next.
- Follow any remaining instructions in the wizards on both computers until you get to the Finish page and then click the Finish button in each wizard.
Once the connection is established, you should have Internet access on both computers. You can share printers and folders, and move and copy files between computers using the techniques described below.
Note, however, that if you made the Bluetooth connection to only one computer in an existing LAN, you’ll have access only to the shared resources on the Bluetooth-enabled computer, not all the computers in the LAN.
Troubleshooting a Bluetooth Network Connection in Windows Vista
If you can’t get any connectivity at all using Bluetooth, try the following remedy:
- Go to the Windows Vista computer that’s having trouble connecting to the PAN.
- Open Network and Sharing Center from Windows Vista. Tap the Windows key, type net, and click Network and Sharing Center. Or click the Start button and choose Control Panel -> Network and Internet -> Network and Sharing Center.
- Scroll down to the Bluetooth Network Connection group. If you’re unable to locate the Bluetooth Network Connection group, you’ll need to follow the steps outlined earlier including entering a passkey from the other system in the PAN. By the time you complete the wizards on both screens, you should have a connection. The Network and Sharing Center folders on each PC should have similar Bluetooth network entries.
Sharing an Internet connection in Windows Vista with Bluetooth Personal Area Network
If you’re unable to get Internet connectivity from the laptop computer, go to the computer that’s connected to the modem or router. Open Network and Sharing Center in Windows Vista Control Panel and choose Manage network connections from the left side of the screen. Right-click that Internet connection icon and choose Properties. Also, check the settings for the Windows Firewall:
- Tap the Windows key, type firewall, and click Windows Firewall. Or click the Windows Vista Start button and choose Control Panel -> Security -> Windows Firewall.
- Click the Change settings link and then the Advanced tab.
- Make sure that Bluetooth Network Connection is checked to enable that type of network connection.
With these settings you should now be able to connect to the Internet from the other computers in the PAN.
Transferring files between Bluetooth devices
When you connect two Windows Vista computers in a Bluetooth network, you can move and copy multiple files between computers. You can also use the Send a File and Receive a File options on the Bluetooth Devices shortcut menu as an alternative. However, you can’t move files that way, and you can only copy one file at a time. So, this method usually is best for transferring files to a non-computer Bluetooth device. But still, if you want to transfer one file between Windows Vista computers using this method, here are the steps:
- On the computer to which you plan to send a file, right-click the Bluetooth Devices icon in the Notification area and choose Receive a File. The Bluetooth File Transfer Wizard opens and waits for you to send a file from the other computer.
- On the computer that contains the file you want to copy, right-click the Bluetooth Devices notification icon and choose Send a File.
- In the wizard that opens, click the Browse button, choose the computer (or device) to which you want to send the file, and then click OK.
- If the two devices are already paired using a passkey, the passkey options will be disabled, and you can ignore those options. Just click Next.
- Click the Browse button on the next wizard page, and navigate to the folder that contains the file on the local system that you want to send. Then, click the icon of the file you want to send, and click the Open button. Then click Next.
- On the receiving computer, the wizard asks what you want to name the file and where you want to put it. Type a file name for the file you’re about to receive, and use the Browse button to choose the folder in which you want to put the file. Then click Next.
- When the transfer is complete, click the Finish button in the last wizard page on both computers.
Remember, there are many different Bluetooth devices are available on the market. If none of the techniques described here help you make the connection between two computers in a personal area network, be sure to refer to the instructions that came with your Bluetooth device.