HUAWEI E169 HSDPA modem

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HUAWEI E169 HSDPA modem

Postby nicholak on Fri Dec 04, 2009 9:34 am

If you are running LinuxMint 8 and are having issues with the HUAWEI E169 HSDPA and similar models then maybe I can share my hours of frustration with you so that you have none.

There are numerous posts about this, but the ones that matter indicate that this is due to a kernel regression (link). I have mine running fine now, but only by downloading and installing kernel version 2.6.32 (at the time of writing, the most recent) from here: http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v2.6.32/. If you discover some modules will not rebuild after this you probably did not install either or both lots of headers for your architecture also, and you may also need to install the source.

To install the new kernel, do:
Code: Select all
sudo dpkg -i file1.deb file2.deb
etc... Be sure to reboot to the new kernel after this.

This may not be the end of it. Your computer may not recognise the modem. Basically, there appears to be at least 2 workarounds that may work for you:

1 - Boot your machine with the USB modem inserted - this will ensure it is detected, and it should automatically detect thereafter. [EDIT] It appears to only detect it if you insert the modem for every boot. To detect it otherwise if it does not appear in network manager use:
Code: Select all
sudo modprobe usbserial vendor=0x12d1 product=0x1001
and then connect via network manager.

2 - Prevent mounting of the storage device in the modem. This appears to remove the usb storage module from the system. I did not try this as it appears to be a bad idea, but who am I to know - here are the instructions if it helps: http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p= ... ostcount=2

I hope this helps. Enjoy!

Nicholas
Last edited by nicholak on Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: HUAWEI E169 HSDPA modem

Postby viking777 on Fri Dec 04, 2009 1:46 pm

Nicholas, I hate to rain on your party, especially when you have obviously taken such a lot of time to work out this problem for yourself, but in the interests of other users I feel I must urge some caution here. Your post gives the impression that the .32 kernel is some kind of magic bullet for mobile broadband problems, but I have to say that from my own experience it really isn't. I wish it was, but alas it is not so.

I already run this kernel on another distro, so, interested by what you said, I removed usb-modeswitch from that kernel, rebooted and tried running my modems. I have 3 of these, and 2 out of three would not work at all. Now maybe you are lucky and the modem you are using works with this kernel (as one of mine did), but let me assure you it is not universal. It took me quite a bit of effort to get my other two modems working on this distro again, because the default version of usb-modeswitch on this distro is 1.0.5 - and it doesn't work. So I had to find a source and downgrade to 1.0.2 which does work.

The other problem with this kernel (at least for me) is that it actually conflicts with usb-modeswitch and launches about 30 secs worth of error messages on each boot complaining about usb-modeswitch's udev entries. It doesn't stop it booting, but it drastically slows it down. Not only that but it also point blank refuses to work with Virtualbox puel version (unless you want to manually reload the kernel driver every boot), so really I would not recommend installing this kernel to anyone at the moment.

I hope you will not be upset by what I am saying here it is most definitely not a snipe at you, but I would hate for others to try what you have done only to find it doesn't help the original problem and then creates more problems for them elsewhere.

One thing I can definitely agree with about your post is that it is not a good idea to remove the usb storage module from your system because if you do then none of your usb storage devices is going to work!!
Fujitsu Lifebook AH532. Intel i5 processor, 6Gb ram, Intel HD3000 graphics, Intel Audio/wifi. Realtek RTL8111/8168B Ethernet.Lubuntu 13.10,Ubuntu12.10 (Unity), Mint16 (Cinnamon), Manjaro (Xfce).
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Re: HUAWEI E169 HSDPA modem

Postby nicholak on Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:21 pm

Thanks for your concerns. I made it quite clear that it fixed my issue, but implicit in this is that it may not fix anyone elses - the linux community I think understands this.

For me, not having a working modem was a show stopper, so it was a no brainer to try this kernel and pretty much anything else. for others in similar circumstances (and there are many such people) it would probably mean the difference between an upgrade or not, or even switching to/from a different distro.

I did not experience any issues as a result of using this new kernel (AFAIK yet). Wrt usb-modeswitch, I have no idea about this as I never touched it, and there appear to be no issues resulting.

Everyones experiences are different, and mine was quite positive in the end - I am sharing this as it may benefit others. You say it may not fix the problem and that's fine - readers can decide for themselves if it is worth trying, and the risks are minimal if you need to use one of these modems. It changes nothing else so it is easy enough to reboot to the old kernel when done.
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Re: HUAWEI E169 HSDPA modem

Postby viking777 on Sat Dec 05, 2009 5:55 am

Wrt usb-modeswitch, I have no idea about this as I never touched it.


Impressive! How you have got by without usb-modeswitch on any Linux distro is a mystery to me. I notice you recommend the 'modprobe' command, but for this to work you would have to do it every boot as modprobe doesn't survive a reboot. If that is what you are doing then I suggest you have a look at usb-modeswitch as it automates the process so the modem is detected every time it is plugged in (you don't have to plug it in before boot up either). Of course if your .32 kernel has meant you don't have to 'modprobe' each time then you don't need it.

I have been using mobile broadband for several years now, with 3 different modems, a dozen or more different distros , and I have never got any of them to work without the wonders of usb-modeswitch. I will qualify that a little - until now . I have a live DVD of Suse 11.1 (which has a 2.6.27 kernel) and it will run all three of my modems without any extra software, any configuration, or any effort, it is just plug and go . Don't get me wrong here, I don't recommend Suse, I would rather use Mint and usb-modeswitch any day, but for those who want 'instant' mobile broadband results with no hassle it must be worth looking at. What annoys me is that if Suse Linux can get it right then why can't anyone else?

PS I hope you don't think I am hassling you over this, it is just that this is a topic that interests me a lot and as I often try to help others who have difficulties in this area, I am always interested in hearing new ideas and solutions.
Rgds.
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Re: HUAWEI E169 HSDPA modem

Postby nicholak on Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:20 pm

OK. My celebrations were premature. There were still issues with using network manager.

I have tried dozens of combinations of usb-modeswitch, network manager, kernels and could not get it to work reliably. After alot of frustration and not much sleep I finally have a 100% reliable method of connecting using this modem using wvdial. I have removed network-manager and now use wicd for ethernet & wireless.

With wvdial I found that the nameserver detect was only successful about 20% of the time, leaving me connected but with no route via the connection. I wrote a script then to start and stop the modem connection that will write the nameservers to /etc/resolv.conf if they are not already there upon connection. Just change the nameservers and log file to suit. If you do not want logging, use LOG=/dev/null
Code: Select all
#!/bin/bash

# connect HUAWEI E169
NS1=192.231.203.132
NS2=192.231.203.3
LOG=e169.log

# nothing to change below here
case "${1:-''}" in
  'start')
        killall wvdial >>$LOG 2>&1
        sleep 2

        NS=`cat /etc/resolv.conf |grep -c $NS1`

        if [ $NS -lt 1 ]; then
          echo "nameserver $NS1" >>/etc/resolv.conf 2>>$LOG
          echo "nameserver $NS2" >>/etc/resolv.conf 2>>$LOG
        fi

        wvdial >>$LOG 2>&1 &
        exit 0
  ;;

  'stop')
        killall wvdial >>$LOG 2>&1
        exit 0
  ;;
esac



I save this to a script and sudo it.

eg. e169-connect.sh start or e169-connect.sh stop

My /etc/wvdial.conf looks like this:
Code: Select all
[Dialer Defaults]
Init1 = ATZ
Init2 = ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0
Init3 = ATQ0V1E1S0=0&C1&D2+FCLASS=0
INIT5 = AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","splns333a1"
Password = NA
Phone = *99#
Modem Type = Analog Modem
Stupid Mode = 1
Baud = 9600
Dial Command = ATD
Modem = /dev/ttyUSB0
ISDN = 0
Username = NA


The result of an autoconfig after running wvdialconf - yours will differ depending on your ISP

I hope this helps someone else.

Nicholas
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Re: HUAWEI E169 HSDPA modem

Postby viking777 on Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:12 am

Glad you got it sorted Nicholas. I too have suffered from this error in the past. I got round it in a different way which I will share with you here for the benefit of others who don't have scripting skills (although I suppose they could copy yours).

This is what I did - Edit etc/resolv.conf to include the nameserver of your choice then execute the following command:

Code: Select all
sudo chattr +i /etc/resolv.conf


This will make the file unwriteable by anyone or anything and will thus always remain as you set it. (incidentally I should point out that if you ever want to change the file to a different nameserver you repeat the above command with -i instead of +i).

From my own personal point of view the combination of wvdial and wicd is about the worst I can think of for this purpose, I used to use the Xfce version of Mint which contains wicd by default, the first thing I would do with it after installation is to remove wicd and replace it with gnome-network-manager!! But if it works for you then what the hell, we all have different tastes!
Fujitsu Lifebook AH532. Intel i5 processor, 6Gb ram, Intel HD3000 graphics, Intel Audio/wifi. Realtek RTL8111/8168B Ethernet.Lubuntu 13.10,Ubuntu12.10 (Unity), Mint16 (Cinnamon), Manjaro (Xfce).
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Re: HUAWEI E169 HSDPA modem

Postby nicholak on Sun Dec 06, 2009 8:09 am

viking777, I find it difficult to discern your motivations throughout this thread. If you have all of the answers in relation to this modem then let's have them from you instead of your constant critique of my own attempts to fix the issues I am experiencing. This thread has nothing to do with my "tastes", but has everything to do with attaining a working system. If you have all the answers then again lets have them, otherwise what are you contributing to this thread?

I have had nothing but issues with my modem. I have found overwhelming evidence of many others also experiencing the same or similar issues. I have made numerous attempts over different distros and still have never had reliable use of this modem until now, and your contribution is that you think it is the worst combination for my issue and that it is a question of taste? There is a world of people out there that have removed network-manager and use wicd because it is in their experience more reliable. Network-manager in my own years of linux experience has been frequently unreliable and at times frustrating to debug & use.

Your contribution in this thread has amounted to little more than opinion and critique. What matters is your contribution to this issue, and this is sadly lacking.

For the others reading this, for whom this thread was created, here is my contribution after hours of tests and research, and months of using an unreliable and frustrating connection on 2 linux distros. I offer my experiences to you as a possible solution for this modem issue, and can vouch for it being 100% successful on my machine. As usual, your mileage may vary.

Nicholas
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Re: HUAWEI E169 HSDPA modem

Postby viking777 on Sun Dec 06, 2009 8:58 am

:shock: I don't know what to say to that, I will just butt out!

As for my contributions to this particular problem they are all over the forum if you care to look.

Don't worry, I promise not to reply to your posts ever again
Fujitsu Lifebook AH532. Intel i5 processor, 6Gb ram, Intel HD3000 graphics, Intel Audio/wifi. Realtek RTL8111/8168B Ethernet.Lubuntu 13.10,Ubuntu12.10 (Unity), Mint16 (Cinnamon), Manjaro (Xfce).
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Re: HUAWEI E169 HSDPA modem

Postby nicholak on Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:50 am

Better still, there is a purpose built linux GPL application for managing mobile connections - Vodafone Mobile Connect software:

http://www.betavine.net/bvportal/resour ... os/ubuntu/

or get the most up-to-date files from here:

https://forge.betavine.net/frs/?group_id=12

Allows you to configure as many profiles as you wish and appears to support the Huawei e169 just fine
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