The BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) is RIM’s consumer-oriented platform which provides push-based email delivery from your own POP or IMAP-based account to your handheld, without the need for your own BlackBerry server deployed somewhere. It does not offer the device management functionality of the corporate product, the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), but then you don’t necessarily need it as a consumer.
In order to use the BIS service you will obviously need a BlackBerry device, and also have the BIS tariff enabled on your SIM card by your mobile operator.
In this article I am using Vodafone as the network operator, but the instructions are common to all operators that offer BIS. Al operators that do, will have a web site hosted by RIM accessible by users. To activate your new account, browse to the operator’s BIS Portal. In the case of Vodafone UK, the site is accessible here – https://bis.eu.blackberry.com/html?brand=vodauk
Select the option to create a new account:
Read the terms and conditions and select the option to agree if you accept:
Enter the PIN number and IMEI number of your BlackBerry handheld. This information can be found on your device by browsing to Options –> Status.
Enter your desired username and password to access the BIS Portal in the future:
Enter in the email address of the account you wish to activate, as well as the password for that email account.
The setup wizard will now attempt to determine the correct connection settings to use automatically based on the email address entered. This process may work for commonly-used email accounts such as Hotmail or Gmail. If the wizard is not able to determine the settings to use the following will be displayed:
Select the option to enter the settings manually:
Select the type of email account you wish to configure. Personal email accounts would be POP or IMAP-based accounts along the lines of a Hotmail or a GoogleMail account. It may also apply to work accounts that only support POP or IMAP access, such as a Domino-based account (I appreciate that Domino does provide webmail access, but not for the purposes of this service it doesn’t).
Selecting the option to set up a work account will present the following options:
If you have an Exchange server deployed that is configured to provide Outlook Web Access (or webmail – access to email via a web browser), select this option:
Enter in the webmail address of your Exchange server, the address you enter to access your email via your web browser. This is normally of the form:
Exchange 2003 – http(s)://mail.mydomain.com/exchange
Exchange 2007 – http(s)://mail.mydomain/owa
Complete your email address, username and password information. Your username and password will be the same details you use to log into your Windows PC. Your username will need to be in the form ‘domain\username’. The domain to enter will be the contents of the ‘Log Into’ field when you log into your Windows PC.
Your mailbox name will usually be the same as your username. Provided that all the information has been entered correctly, and the Exchange server is accessible, the following will be displayed:
Your account has now been added successfully. In the Settings section you can adjust your default signature as well as whether or not to synchronise deleted items – ie when you delete an item on your device whether or not it gets deleted from the Exchange server.
Should you have selected the option to set up a personal email account, you will need to complete the following information:
The email server address will be the POP or IMAP server provided by your email service. If your account is already configured on your PC in OUtlook or Outlook Express you can retrieve the settings from here.
Filters can also be applied to incoming messages, specifying whether mails containing certain text, from certain senders or sent to certain recipients get forwarded to the handheld or not, or get sent flagged as urgent:
You can also change your password to access the BIS Portal:
In the event that the service stops responding, or you need to hard reset your device, it may be necessary to re-send the configuration details to the handheld. This can be done within the Help menu:
Click on the option to Send Service Books
This process may take up to 30 minutes to complete.