BlackBerry Internet Service offers a seamless mobile extension to your existing email service by allowing users to access their email from BlackBerry® smartphones. BlackBerry Internet Service is a Consumer focused out-of-the-box service that also includes our favorite apps/services such as BlackBerry Messenger, PIN messaging and App World.
Features of BlackBerry Internet Service
Integration of up to 10 email accounts
Synchronize contacts (not all email accounts)
Attachment viewing (JPEG, BMP, TIFF, Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, Corel, WordPerfect, Adobe PDF)
Access to BlackBerry Messenger Services
Access to BlackBerry App World
Internet Access (compressed data)
A Note on Attachment Viewing
Email File attachments in Microsoft® Word, Excel, PowerPoint®, Adobe® PDF, JPG, GIF, HTML and other formats can be viewed easily directly on a BlackBerry smartphone. Where the BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) come’s into play is really interesting – it actually generates an image of the document and sends that to the device, when you’re viewing an attachment (using attachment viewer) you’re not actually viewing an excel spreadsheet or PDF – its a picture. This allows for for a much faster way of viewing the attachment since images use less data and are much easier to compress.
The Flow Of Data in BIS
Using your BlackBerry services requires the device to send and receive data practically 24/7. Even if you’re not actively using it, data regarding emails, Facebook updates, twitter, BBM, etc are going back and forth. In terms of how this data is handled by the network, depends on how you’re connected to the BlackBerry Network as shown by the routes shown in the diagram (Click for larger image).
This is the path all data traffic takes when you are connected only via Bmobile’s/Digicel’s EDGE mobile data networks. All data is routed through the cell tower, then to the carrier network and on to BlackBerry’s Services networks located in Canada (yep, every request sent has to go to Canada before it even reaches the internet). From the BIS servers in Canada, emails are sent, Internet webpages (like TriniBerry.com) are requested, FB updates are posted, etc. BlackBerry specific services however, such as BlackBerry Messenger and PIN messaging, never leave the blackberry network or reach the internet – they are processed and routed entirely between the BlackBerry Network and the devices.
The return path is also the same, Emails, web pages, etc are received via the servers in Canada and routed to your device via the mobile networks. The BlackBerry Servers compress this data before sending it back, which is why using a BIS data plan is faster that using plain EDGE data plan.
Route (2) & (3)
This path is used when the device is connected via WiFi. the data is routed via fixed-line networks such as Blink and Flow but only certain data interacts directly with the open internet. If you’re using your web browser, data goes straight through to the internet. This is why even if you don’t have a SIM in your blackberry you can still access your web browser. Services such as BBM, PIN messages, Email, App World are still routed (over the internet) through to BlackBerry servers (route 3) as these services require a BlackBerry Account for access. It can do this because your device can connect directly to these servers over the internet/WiFi, bypassing the mobile network (and the slowness of EDGE).
The fact that BIS can work over WiFi is very important to those of you who do a bit of international travel. In your device settings, change your data settings to “Off when Roaming” – doing this will allow your device to function over WiFi while roaming and send/receive BBM messages, emails, and other BlackBerry services while abroad.