Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Vodafone Australia mobile broadband and Fedora Linux

well, that title should get me a few hits :)

Anyway, the other day I had to set up one of these 3G mobile internet USB modems on a Fedora 12 box. The dongle in question was from Vodafone, purchased about a week and a half ago. It didn't work out of the box, though in hindsight it should have. So for anyone who's googling around on how to set this up (or whether it can be set up at all), here's the gist.

The dongle is a HUAWEI Technology usb modem, Vendor number 12d1, product id 1520. The modem looks like a mass storage device on account of the manufacturer trying to be smart. If you plug the modem in, dmesg has this to say:


usb 1-2: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 6
usb 1-2: New USB device found, idVendor=12d1, idProduct=1520
usb 1-2: New USB device strings: Mfr=3, Product=2, SerialNumber=0
usb 1-2: Product: HUAWEI Mobile
usb 1-2: Manufacturer: HUAWEI Technology
usb 1-2: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
scsi5 : SCSI emulation for USB Mass Storage devices
usb-storage: device found at 6
usb-storage: waiting for device to settle before scanning
usb-storage: device scan complete
scsi 5:0:0:0: CD-ROM Vodafone CD ROM (Huawei) 2.31 PQ: 0 ANSI: 2
sr1: scsi-1 drive
sr 5:0:0:0: Attached scsi CD-ROM sr1
sr 5:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg4 type 5


As I said above, these modems look like mass storage devices and need to be switched to the actual modem mode. The nifty program usb_modeswitch does exactly that, but alas, only in version 1.1.0 for this particular device. This version also includes the udev rules to make everything work automagically. At the time of writing, Fedora 12 didn't have 1.1.0 available yet (Bug 563503). So you can poke the maintainer to update the package (see the bug) or grep the spec file from that bug report and build the rpm yourself. Once built, install, plug the modem in and the dmesg looks a lot better:


usb 1-2: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 8
usb 1-2: New USB device found, idVendor=12d1, idProduct=1465
usb 1-2: New USB device strings: Mfr=3, Product=2, SerialNumber=0
usb 1-2: Product: HUAWEI Mobile
usb 1-2: Manufacturer: HUAWEI Technology
usb 1-2: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
scsi7 : SCSI emulation for USB Mass Storage devices
usb-storage: device found at 8
usb-storage: waiting for device to settle before scanning
scsi8 : SCSI emulation for USB Mass Storage devices
usb-storage: device found at 8
usb-storage: waiting for device to settle before scanning
usbcore: registered new interface driver usbserial
USB Serial support registered for generic
usbcore: registered new interface driver usbserial_generic
usbserial: USB Serial Driver core
USB Serial support registered for GSM modem (1-port)
usbcore: registered new interface driver option
option: v0.7.2:USB Driver for GSM modems
option 1-2:1.0: GSM modem (1-port) converter detected
usb 1-2: GSM modem (1-port) converter now attached to ttyUSB0
option 1-2:1.1: GSM modem (1-port) converter detected
usb 1-2: GSM modem (1-port) converter now attached to ttyUSB1
option 1-2:1.2: GSM modem (1-port) converter detected
usb 1-2: GSM modem (1-port) converter now attached to ttyUSB2
option 1-2:1.3: GSM modem (1-port) converter detected
usb 1-2: GSM modem (1-port) converter now attached to ttyUSB3
usb-storage: device scan complete
usb-storage: device scan complete
scsi 8:0:0:0: Direct-Access Vodafone Storage (Huawei) 2.31 PQ: 0 ANSI: 2
scsi 7:0:0:0: CD-ROM Vodafone CD ROM (Huawei) 2.31 PQ: 0 ANSI: 2
sd 8:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg4 type 0
sd 8:0:0:0: [sdd] Attached SCSI removable disk
sr1: scsi-1 drive
sr 7:0:0:0: Attached scsi CD-ROM sr1
sr 7:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg5 type 5


Whoopdi-doo. The modem is recognized as modem and we can go and set it up. Now, I don't get a warm fuzzy feeling when editing config files that I'll likely not look at again for a while, so I chose the clicky-pointy route: the magnificent NetworkManager. Click on the NM icon on your desktop, and it'll look like this:



Click on new connection, then jump through the wizard and you're done.










Now, all you have to do whenever you need to connect to the internet is plug the modem in, wait for a few seconds and then click onto your connection:




The sad thing is, that if usb_modeswitch 1.1.0 was installed already, it would have truly been plug and play, even though Vodafone claims that Linux is not supported. Oh well, at least this way I've got something to write about to shoo away those tumbleweeds on my blog.

Many thanks to Laurianne for letting my try the dongle on the Mac first (and letting me install the ridiculous piece of software Vodafone ships with the dongle) and Tom for running Debian which already was on usb_modeswitch 1.1.0 - showing that the modem works.

4 comments:

Дамјан Георгиевски said...

2 things, just FYI:

- usually you can just "eject" the cdrom device and it will switch to the modem state

- there's an AT command that will set the device to always be a modem:

AT+ZOPRT=5
AT+ZCDRUN=8



At least that's how my ZTE MF-626 behaves

mether said...

filed a request at

https://fedorahosted.org/rel-eng/ticket/3474

Peter Hutterer said...

Дамјан:
I didn't find the eject method work for me with this particular modem, it just ejected it and that's it. But good to know that this works for some devices at least, thanks.

Nicholas Herriot said...

Vodafone do in fact support an open source app which does this.

http://www.betavine.net/bvportal/resources/datacards

However you may find other issues in connecting due to the way Network Manager controls connectivity on Linux. As of NM 0.8 there was connectivty incompatiblity issues with the Vodafone app caused by NM.

Next time you wonder why big companies like Vodafone shy away from helping Linux.... Well now you know!!!!

Kind regards, Nicholas Herriot.