How to Enable 3G Modem USB Dongles (EC1260 etc.) in Ubuntu 9.10

Unfortunately Ubuntu 9.10 initial release had a bug which rendered a number of 3G modem based USB dongles useless. The Linux kernel refused to recognize the USB based 3G modems and it affected a wide range of modems including Huwei and ZTE models. For example, Reliance NetConnect Broadband+ service in India uses EC1260 modem which was not recognized by Ubuntu 9.10 (Tata Photon+ also uses a similar device). Even the most recent update (as of 25th Nov 2009) of Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) has this bug.

Clearly people who manage Ubuntu distribution has no idea how prevalent USB 3G models are! For example, In India everyone one is switching over to 3G USB modems.

There is a quick fix to this problem. It involves using a patched Linux kernel (2.6.31-16-generic). The patched kernel can be downloaded from this link. You need to download the following patches and install them using package manager. Double click the downloaded files to install them.

Kernel patch – Linux headers (32 bit)

Kernel patch – Linux image (32 bit)

Restart Ubuntu after installation. Now your 3G USB modem will be recognized by Ubuntu! However I was still unable to get it working using the default network manager of Ubuntu. I had to use the command line wvdial ppp dialer and finally EC1260 was up and running.

Configuring your 3G USB Modem using wvdial command

Step 1: Install wvdial package

sudo aptitude install wvdial

Step 2: Configure USB modem using wvdialconf

sudo wvdialconf

This will create wvdial.conf file in /etc/ folder. However the username/password entries will be missing. You need to add them in wvdial.conf. Following is the sample wvdial.conf file for Reliance Netconnect Broadband+ modem EC1260,

[Dialer Defaults]
Modem = /dev/ttyUSB0
Init1 = ATZ
Init2 = ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0
CBaud = 460800
Stupid Mode = 1
Modem Type = Analog Modem
Phone = #777
New PPPD = yes
ISDN = 0
Username = 934xxxxxxx
Password = 934xxxxxxx
Baud = 9600

Step 3: Enter your username/password in wvdial.conf file. I use gedit to edit the file.

sudo gedit /etc/wvdial.conf

Step 4: Start wvdial to connect to Internet

sudo wvdial

If everything goes well you should see output similar to the following,

jayson@jjc:~$ sudo wvdial
[sudo] password for jayson:
–> WvDial: Internet dialer version 1.60
–> Cannot get information for serial port.
–> Initializing modem.
–> Sending: ATZ
–> Sending: ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0
ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0
–> Modem initialized.
–> Sending: ATDT#777
–> Waiting for carrier.
–> Carrier detected.  Starting PPP immediately.
–> Starting pppd at Wed Nov 25 21:32:49 2009
–> Pid of pppd: 4103
–> Using interface ppp0


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