USB mobile broadband modem

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USB data cards, surf sticks, etc. are USB modems to connect to UMTS (or EDGE or GSM) mobile cellular networks.



Set USB and PPP first.


Most device are supported by the option driver. You need to activate the following kernel options:

Device drivers --->
    [*] USB support  --->
        <*>   USB Serial Converter support  --->
              <*>   USB driver for GSM and CDMA modems


Most USB WiMAX dongles have a double mode. See the USB_ModeSwitch article for more information and instructions.


See also

  • Gnokii - Suite of programs for communicating with mobile phones

USB 3G modem Manual configuration

There is a case, when the system can not detect the modem, but even when detects, the NetwrokManager can not establish connection. Then it needs additional configuration to make it working. To realize this, we need to install some software:



for first we need to switch USB modem to work only as a modem and not as a modem+storage etc. For this case, we install usb_modeswitch

user $lsusb

and see that modem is attached to a USB and see it's ID. This could be like this:

Bus 002 Device 006: ID 19d2:2000 ZTE WCDMA

19d2 - device 2000 - mode Then, check /dev and see that there is nothing yet named as ttyUSBx

user $ ls /dev

after that, main problem is to find correct data for Your modem. Here we have some: and here is a link from there to download a list of modem's data: There You can find Your modem's config and copy that data info into usb_switch.conf. In this case, we took 19d2:2000 file and placed all data into usb_switch.conf

root #nano /etc/usb_switch.conf

fter that, we need to run command

root #nano usb_modeswitch -Wc /etc/usb_modeswitch.conf

This will change usb-modem into modem only mode, so then we will see in /dev directory some devices named as ttyUSB0, ttyUSB1 etc - those are what we need. Now we see that ttyUSB0, ttyUSB1 etc devices are detected:

user $ ls /dev

same time, modem mode is different:

Bus 002 Device 009: ID 19d2:0042 ZTE WCDMA

Means - mode has changed. Now it is modem only device: 19d:2000 become 19d2:0042. Then install wvdial

root # emerge --ask wvdial

the we run command wvdialconf to make preliminary config file. Wvdial will detect device and make preliminary setup:

root # wvdialconf

After that we open that config file and add there additional data and edit also some data it added there before. What was added by "wvdialconf"

root # nano /etc/wvdial.conf
[Dialer Defaults]
Init1 = ATZ
Init2 = ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0
Modem Type = USB Modem
ISDN = 0
Modem = /dev/ttyUSB2
Baud = 9600 


Modem = /dev/ttyUSBx

is the device which one is Your modem. This can be different: ttyUSB1, ttyUSB0 etc - just place Your one. Now we edit wvdial.conf and place our modem specific data. Here we used MF637A ZTE modem which is conencting to Orange, so all data is that modem and provider specific. Our modem is detected as ttyUSB2 device.

root # nano -w /etc/wvdial.conf

and add next data

[Dialer Defaults]
Init1 = ATZ
Init2 = ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0
Modem Type = USB Modem
ISDN = 0
Modem = /dev/ttyUSB2
Baud = 57600

now add dialing data. Orange provides next: calling number: *99#, ATP = <>.

[Dialer orange3g]
Phone = *99#
New PPD = yes
Username = foo
Password = foo
Stupid Mode = 1
Init3 = AT+CGDCONT=1,"ip",""

"foo" means - no. Username = foo, means - no user-name needs to enter. If You must enter PIN code, place this code inside also:

[Dialer mypin]
Init4 = AT+CPIN=1234

where 1234 - replace by Your PIN code.

To make a conenction, we use next command

root # wvdial orange3g

where <orange3g> is coming from

[Dialer orange3g]

and You can replace it by anything You need to name that connection. Probably, modem can not connect at first attempts, so repeat command until it connects. During connection You will see in terminal the negotiation between modem and base station of GSM provider.

How to integrate this with NetworkManager to make automated connections? Would better to add later by other users. I do not know how to do it.