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Ubuntu 10.04/11.04 + 3g (huawei)


bobbyb1980
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I thought I'd post this here in case anyone else is/was having problems getting their 3G connection to work in Ubuntu using a USB 3G modem. After several hours of researching 3G USB Linux modem drivers, I found that most will not work out of the box in Ubuntu (or any other distro for that matter).

When you insert the modem initially Ubuntu sees it as a USB storage drive + CD ROM drive. This isn't the right config for functioning as a modem, so the mode needs to be switched which apparently can be done using usb_modeswitch package. I personally had no luck with that on Ubuntu 10.04 nor 11.04. What I had to do was start a virtual machine (XP SP2) and from there I run the default Movistar application which changes the mode. Once the mode is changed, I stopped the VM and let the modem switch back to the host OS. Now network manager will recognize it as a modem but it will still not be able to connect.

From here you run the sakis3g script which seems to work very well, much better than Network Manager. Movistar has also written software FOR UBUNTU!! for their 3G services but it doesn't work that well, either way it's good to see the big companies are making open source moves. Hope this can be of use to someone.

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Really? Im running ubuntu 11.04 on my desktop and connect to the net through 3g with a huawei usb stick and it worked out of the box for me. With that said though under kde i did have issues with it. Im using NetworkManager to handle the connection, all i did was write click the icon on the taskbar ->edit connection ->Mobile Broadband ->Add ->Then followed the wizard that pops up. The only problem that i have is that if i disconnect from the net i have to remove the usb stick from the computer and restart NetworkManager before it will connect again.

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I read that people had better success with 3g modems in Ubuntu 11.04, but definitely not in 10.04. I even went against my principals and installed a new OS (11.04) for the purpose of one application. It didn't work for me, I was using KDE also so I switched back to 10.04 to continue troubleshooting it.

When you insert your modem, how does Ubuntu see it?

Are you using usb_modeswitch or similar?

Now that I have my 3g up I want to try to scan some networks and do some fun stuff, but it isn't that easy with ppp0 : P

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It does depend on what model your using , As stated above you need to install usb_modeswitch to get this running , the funny thing is that ubuntu 9.04 already had this installed and it ran from stock but not on later versions , I haven't tried this on anything other than Ubuntu (using network manager) and puppy linux(I think it was puppy dialer) on my E160g and both worked fine - although Ubuntu was the easiest to set up when usb_modeswitch is installed.BTW what model modem are you using and what does 'lsusb' show when it's plugged in?

Edited by jobdone
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I'm using the E173 but I think usb_modeswitch works for most models.

In Ubuntu 10.04 I tried installing usb_modeswitch from 2 different package managers (symantic & kerix), I tried the .deb, I tried compiling the embedded module w/sakis3g, I tried compiling from source and it didn't work. Same thing in 11.04 (it installed cleaner but it didn't actually switch modes). So now every time I want to use the internet I have to fire up a virtual box haha, but whatever I've had worse problems.

lsusb shows what it's supposed to, I have different hardware addresses before and after "switching".

Next I want to unlock it, so anywhere in the world I am all I have to do is buy a card and I can see all 3g networks, any experience with this?

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I assume you mean Synaptic rather than symantic , but it is not necessary to compile it or indeed use the deb file if you have a working network connection (internet) as it is available in the repositories and synaptic would work fine for this.I believe it may require a reboot and certainly requires a removal of the device and re-insert. as stated above I have the e160g (which is of course different to yours...) but all I did to install this was to install usb-modeswitch , and then used network manager to choose my country and what service provider , then hit connect , I didn't even know sakis3g existed!

Edited by jobdone
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I recommend trying out sakis3g or gnome ppp. I never was a huge fan of network manager be it for 802.11, ethernet or 3g. What I like about gnome ppp and sakis3g is that you can see every step of the connection along the way and pick out the problem. Network manager was using the wrong interface on the USB stick, and luckily I was able to manually choose them with sakis3g and gnome ppp.

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