17 October 2009

How to get Manx Telecom 3G Internet access working using a Huawei E220 modem from a Netbook in Ubuntu 9.0.4

So, Manx Telecom on the Isle of Man now offers a 30-Day Notice Mobile Broadband contract and I have now taken out a £10/month 2GB limit contract. However, Manx Telecom also charges you £120,- for a broadband modem (the Huawei E180), which is in my eyes is rather steep - you need only look on E-Bay to find better prices. However, I took a leap of faith and instead bought an E220 (at a cool price of £35,- including shipping, on E-Bay) because it offers all the features I need and also supports Linux (thanks for this tip goes to one of my work colleagues). And it works beautifully under both Windows and Linux - although it does take a bit of extra effort to get it working under Linux, which is where this blog comes into play.

You will need wired or wi-fi access from your Netbook to follow the instructions below because some software will need to be installed - unless of course you have another PC and a memory stick.

To be able to plug-in and dial up using the E220 without rebooting, follow the instructions provided in the posting Ubuntu 9.04 + Huawei E220 + Aspire one = working, which results in the command huawaiAktBbo being installed on your system. Otherwise you will have to reboot every time you wish to plug-in and use the E220.

Once you have plugged the E220 into a USB port (with the SIM card already installed) run the command /sbin/huaweiAktBbo, which will activate and bind the USB device to the /dev/ttyUSB0 device. Alternatively, if you have not followed the instructions for compiling the huaweiAktBbo command, you will need to reboot after plugging in the E220.

On the Ubuntu desktop right-click on the Network icon in the panel and choose Edit Connections..., then go to the Mobile Broadband tab, click the Add button and then fill out the details as follows:

Connection name: 3gpronto
Number: *99#
Username: [blank it]
Password: [blank it]
APN: 3gpronto
PIN: [your SIM card PIN]

(Please note: every time you access these settings, the Password field will default to "password" because it is blank - so if you plan to make changes and save them, make sure that you blank the Password field every time before you save the changes)

Press the Apply button.

Now left-click on the Network icon in the panel and choose the 3gpronto connection from the drop down list in the Mobile Broadband section. It should now be connecting and if so will initially show two flashing (green) dots and a circling arrow while doing so. When connected, a signal-strength bar will be displayed for a few seconds.

It would be advisable at this stage to disconnect from all other wireless and wired network to ensure that the connection is working. You can also run the command "route -n" in a terminal window to ensure that a default gateway of has been automatically added to the routing table.

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