T68i

I'll document my attempts to email images from my telephone!

The bulk of this page was written as notes whilst testing. You may skip the waffle an go directly to the conclusion.

I'm the proud owner of a Ericsson T68i. It's a mobile telephone. I can speak to people on it. I can make calls. I can receive calls. It roams when I go abroad!

Camera

I bought the optional camera for it.

What can I do with the camera?

Not a lot!

All I can do is take a photo and set it as the screen backdrop. Behold:

 

But that's about it. 

Initial Satisfaction

Can I get the image out of the phone? Initially No.
Can I send it to anyone? NO!

For a communications device it isn't very good at communicating!

Things do get better!  

Communication Possibilities

The apparatus has the following interfaces:

Bluetooth problems are well discussed here.

I intend to use email to send an image to myself, communicating via GSM standard circuit switched data.

Yes I am an engineer. I do sad things like send emails to myself. Be with it!

I Must get a Dial Up ISP!

Orange, my phone network provider, insist that I use a dial up account to connect to my email server. I don't have a dial up account. I used to. Most of Orange's punters will have one. I don't. I have ADSL. It's a permanent connection. There is no dialling to be done.

I see this as an oversight / cock-up / marketing decision. As soon as I'm on the GSM network there should be direct access to the internet. The answer is that if I want this type of connection I should go for GPRS.

I discuss this with Orange. The conclusion: get a free dial up account from Freeserve
"It's branded No Ties ".
"We've taken them over, anyway!"

I'm aware that some internet service providers will prevent access to arbitrary email servers. For testing I'll create and use a Freeserve email address. I can then test and if successful attempt to connect to my usual server at anotherurl.com. 

Indeed I find that I cannot use the Freeserve outgoing SMTP server from my permanent connection. Not too surprised at this. Incoming mail can be retrieved from their pop3 server with no restriction.

Freeserve

Creating a Freeserve account is straightforward. However do not attempt to run the installation script, unless you want lots of irrelevant changes to be made to your PC too. Take a look at it!  There are only a few fields I need. I do not want to get wedded to Freeserve!

I note the relevant facts (account name and password etc) and test the new email account from the ADSL internet access. All works fine. (If it hadn't, I could have confidently started debugging SMTP mail.)

Registering with Orange

Registering the email server and access provider details is performed on the webWell that's what I, as a customer, was led to believe. This appears to be optional.

The web page asks several questions. They (Orange) want my access password and email account passwords!

What a security loophole that is! Trust some phone company with your passwords! No thank you! Just as well this is a test and I will not use the Freeserve account in anger.

I supply the details, including my secret passwords.

Mistake in Email Instructions for T68

There's a mistake in the instructions on Orange's web page. On step 4 of 5 there is an error. Swap lines 4 and 3!

Once both messages have been installed:
  1. Press the joystick in to enter the Menu.
  2. Select Messages, press Yes.
  3. Scroll to Options, press Yes.
  4. Scroll to Email, press Yes.
  5. Scroll to Edit Account, press Yes.
  6. Select your ISP account, press Yes.
  7. Select Connect Using, Press Yes.
  8. Select your ISP from the list then press Yes.
  9. Press No six times.

The SMS messages arrive. These supposedly set the phone up with all the access and server details. Saves doing it manually! 

The second message appears whilst answering questions to do with the first. This leaves doubts in my mind...

Test

I test. I send an email from my usual email account to the test account. I dexterously waggle the phones joystick to initiate email "send and receive".

The user interface gives a poor experience. To see errors you must stop what you doing and look at the phone's display. Error messages flash up for a second then disappear, about 20 seconds after you have triggered the action.

"Verifying" it says then "finding server, then "server not found".

So what's wrong?

I inspect the phone settings. Nothing obvious, other than the freeserve servers have .net instead of .com. I ping these. The DNS is resolved and the servers are up. This doesn't appear to be the problem.

Phone hell!

I dial 150 on the instrument. I listen to some voice options 5, more voice options 6, and more voice options 3 on hold music

A Yorkshire lass answers.

"Oh you need your email activating! That's all you need to say."
"I'll put you though!" 

"We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" "We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" "We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" "We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" "We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" "We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" "We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" "We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" "We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" 

I fill and switch on the kettle.

"We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" "We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" "We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" "We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" "We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" "We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" 

I take a break.

"We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" "We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" "We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" "We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" "We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" "We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" 

I go and make some tea.

"We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" "We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" "We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" "We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" "We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" "We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" 

I pour my tea. I report the error, commented above, to their web based email server. Multitasking it's called!

"We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" "We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" "We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" "We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" "We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" "We apologise for the delay. Please be assured that your call is important to us and that we are doing our utmost to answer it as soon as possible" 

I'm beginning to see red, I'm prepared to hang up. 30 minutes of this! Then John from Orange answers.

He checks my orange account - yes I'm allowed to do email.

He takes me through all the menu options data access and email.

These are correct.

John is stumped. He talks to a colleague. I listen to music.

We set the DNS to 195.92.195.94. Now we get "incorrect account or password"

He is stumped. He talks to a colleague. I listen to music.

"Aha! Have you a fsnet account?"

"Yes, its nick@hubbard4888.fsnet.co.uk"

"Aha! Well they don't work. Try a another - like freeserve!"

I organise a new Freeserve email account, with Freeserve in the email address!

And it works! I can receive emails on my telephone!

Sending

The internet email protocol, SMTP, allows for the subject line to be blank. The UI on the phone insists on there being a subject! But it enforces it in the wrong place. Embedded hackers shouldn't do UI!

The communications is slow! I guess this is so more money can be extracted for the telephone network provider!

Sending is completely unreliable with an attached image. 10 attempts fail. Usually the phone gets to 1k sent then fails. The best is 8 k.

I get "Send Failed" every time.

I drink my cold tea. I'm not impressed! The connections are slow and do not work.

I'll give John a call tomorrow. How much does the working option cost?

General Packet Radio Service

I decide to take the £4 monthly hit and get GPRS enabled on the T68. 

The instant ordering is very quick. The instant configuration takes time, I'm still waiting for the GPRS update message.

I just know analogue modems suck big time. Indeed there is no modem in the phone - it will make a GSM digital call, But Mr Orange will have a modem emulation somewhere before the signal hits the PSTN.

Getting the phone to send!

By setting the phone email server entries to point to my own server, www.anotherurl.com it works! 

I created an account nicktest@anotherurl.com and connected using the Freeserve access ISP. Looks like Freeserve mail servers have some bug or other incompatibility with T68's. 

Error handling!

It's dog slow!

That's the nice thing about having your own servers! Perhaps I need to organise my own dialup? But isn't that 10 years out of date?

Successful image transfers

I now am able to download these images:

(2 k)

(30 k)

A wonderful conclusion. Image telephony works! Ship it!  

And what of GPRS?

General Packet Radio Services.

The SMS GPRS update arrived. (About 5 cups of tea later.) Reliability is 100%. (Bear in mind I cannot access any error recovery information.)

It's still SLOW! A web site says the reality is 44kbps. No, not with me.

To test the upload data rate I sent an email from the phone with 5 images attached. That's 30610 bytes an image.

I'll ignore the SMTP protocol overhead. That's 30610 * 5 =  153050 bytes or 1224400 bits. The images are UUencoded, so that approximately doubles the amount of data. The actual amount is 211,172 bytes.  My test took 414 seconds. Not forgetting 8 bits in a byte, I make that a mere 4kbps. OK, this is upload speed, but even so!

GPRS White Paper

There's some more info on GPRS data rates gleaned from the T68 White paper. Let me cut and paste:

GPRS uses Internet-style packet based technology. It lets you be permanently connected to the mobile Internet, but only uses the radio link for the duration of time that it transfers data. GPRS offers the user the speed needed for satisfactory mobile Internet usability.

GPRS access

• The connection is maintained “constantly”, with data transmitted in packets, and transmission
capacity being used by the application in use on an as-needed basis.
• Higher transmission speed than with GSM Data or SMS access.
• Pricing of GPRS can be dependent on the actual use of bandwidth, which means the user is charged for the volume of data transmitted, rather than the duration of the connection.
• When transmitting large amounts of data, band-width can be increased automatically to allow faster transmission speed.
• Ideal for complex pull services, browsing, data transfer, provisioning, pager services, messaging services, info services, push initiations.

Technology

A normal GSM call uses only one of eight repeating time slots in the GSM channel, giving a data speed of 9,600 bps. The T68 supports a more efficient coding scheme, giving data speeds of up to 14,400 bps (with necessary network support). Furthermore, High Speed Circuit Switched Data (HSCSD) adds the possibility of using two time slots for receiving data, increasing the data speed to as much as 28,800 bps (network dependent).

In GPRS, data is sent in packets, with up to three time slots being combined to provide the necessary band-width. The T68 is prepared to support 3+1 timeslots, giving speeds of up to 64,200 bps for receiving data, depending on coding scheme. 

Using GPRS in the T68 

Instead of occupying an entire voice channel for the duration of a data session, the T68 sends/receives data in small packets, as needed, much like IP on the Internet. Because of this, the T68 maintains a constant online connection, its data transmission abilities summoned by the application in use on an as-needed basis.

The GPRS specification includes four coding schemes that allow data speeds of 9,050 bps, 13,400 bps, 15,600 bps and 21,400 bps respectively.

The T68 works with all four coding schemes, but data speed will naturally vary according to network configuration. At the moment, CS-3 and CS-4 are not supported in any live network, i.e. present speed is limited to 40,200 bps.
The GSM system limits the ability to use all eight time slots, so the T68 uses up to three time slots for receiving data, and one slot for transmitting. This means the speed for receiving data is up to 64,200 bps and up to 21,400 bps for sending data

Information about the identity of the phone and the characteristics of the connection are described in the PDP (Packet Data Protocol) context. This information is stored both in the phone and in the mobile network, so that each phone is identified and “visible” to the system. 

WAP

http://www.mobileinfo.com/WAP/limitations.htm

Questions

How do I send an image to the phone? I have no idea!

How do I delete emails from the phone? Just like cc mail years ago! Mark it for deletion from the server!

Conclusions

In fairness, Orange don't actually need to know the passwords for internet access and email access. It's just that their stupid web based SMS dispatch configuration tool demands it. You can go in cold, and set up the phone independently. It's just very fiddly.

Their web page could could have an option to not ask for passwords.

I feel that the IP stack, PPP layer, windowing is screwy with the phone. Why? 

  1. The time it takes to upload images is horrendously slow.
  2. The Freeserve email servers either timeout, or are getting protocol errors. (There's nowhere to plug a network analyser in!)

DNS

The DNS that John suggested I enter is a red herring. The PPP protocol that presents the internet stack will dynamically negotiate a current DNS server address. Forcing a particular DNS address is not a good idea.

Having said that, I've been advised that setting the DNS explicitly (195.92.195.94) did help one poor soul reading this page.

Perhaps there's an Orange server with PPP mis-configured?

USB cable

I test with a serial cable. Actually it's a USB to serial cable. So yet another faked serial communications port is created by another third party driver.

The Handset Manager application that comes with it is more polished than the TDK one. The one downloaded from their web site is newer and better, but is XP style. This conflicts with my fuddy duddy Windows 2000...

T68i Connector The connector carries 

0v Screen in Black sleeve Pin 8

5v Power White Pin 11

PC to Phone asynch TTL Red Pin 4

Phone to PC asynch TTL Black Pin 5

"8 none and 1" at 57.6 kbps

Pin 11 is leftmost pin in picture.  Pin 9 is not installed.

Bluetooth Confusion

Connecting to the T68i from the TDK Dongle can get confusing.

Dual Personality Modem

I connect to the T68i Modem using Bluetooth and then by the serial cable. Here are the results of some AT test commands.

Infra Red Port 

I test with Sony VAIO notebook computer. I enable the IR sensor with in Control panel - and it works! I can send and receive images!

I have no problems - other than the obvious limited range of IR.

I have kindly written up this feat. I'm not really into infrared. It's done and dusted. Bluetooth is the future!

Current Satisfaction

I can now send images to other devices using:

I can now receive images from other devices:

So perseverance pays off!

Comments?

I feel there's a lot more to research here!

Links

http://www.tsixtyeight.com/

You have to register for this next link - but that's not too onerous!

http://www.ericsson.com/mobilityworld/sub/open/devices/t68/docs.html

www.SonyEricsson.com/support.

 

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