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)

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