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:
- Install NetworkManager 0.7 from the PPA. You might need to reboot afterwards.
- 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?
- Right-click the NetworkManager panel applet and select Edit Connections.
- Select the Mobile Broadband tab and click Add.
- Follow the wizard/druid: select your country and upstream provider (I chose Optus 3G).
- Once the druid is complete, return to the Mobile Broadband tab, select your newly-created connection, and click Edit.
- 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 🙂