I recently bought myself a Hua­wei e169 3G modem as part of a ser­vice with Exetel (based on the Optus net­work). There are a few guides online on how to get it to work with GNU/​Linux, but either they did­n’t work as advert­ised or I was­n’t happy with the approach they took. Ubuntu 8.10 is due in three weeks, but since I usu­ally wait at least a month for a new release to settle, I was after a solu­tion that would tide me over for at min­im­um the next couple of months. It had to be simple and not too messy.

Here’s the approach I took:

  1. Install Net­work­Man­ager 0.7 from the PPA. You might need to reboot afterwards.
  2. Install usb_​modeswitch. I got lazy and installed a DEB from here. Can someone con­firm that this is included by default in Ubuntu 8.10?
  3. Right-click the Net­work­Man­ager pan­el applet and select Edit Con­nec­tions.
  4. Select the Mobile Broad­band tab and click Add.
  5. Fol­low the wiz­ard/​druid: select your coun­try and upstream pro­vider (I chose Optus 3G).
  6. Once the druid is com­plete, return to the Mobile Broad­band tab, select your newly-cre­ated con­nec­tion, and click Edit.
  7. The only set­ting I had to enter was my APN (exetel1). You may also wish to change the Type to Prefer 3G (3 cus­tom­ers can save $$$ by select­ing 3G — thanks Tel­stra! :p ).

Now when you plug in your 3G modem, two things will hap­pen (after a few seconds). Firstly, the ISO9660 filesys­tem on the USB stick will be auto­mat­ic­ally moun­ted and dis­played by Nautilus (you might want to turn this off in the Nautilus pref­er­ences if it gets too annoy­ing). Secondly, you should see an option to use your modem when you click on the Net­work­Manger pan­el applet. Once con­nec­ted, you can dis­con­nect in the same way.

There we go! Now all I need to do is plug in my modem and connect/​disconnect from the Net­work­Man­ager pan­el applet. My Eee PC 901 is truly mobile now 🙂

LotD: A Sysad­min’s Unix­ersal Trans­lat­or (ROSETTA STONE)

Huawei e169 3G modem on Ubuntu 8.04 / Sridhar Dhanapalan by Sridhar Dhanapalan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA 4.0 licence.
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