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Using O2 Mobile Broadband under Ubuntu Linux – Huawei E160

These instructions work for getting a O2 Pay-as-you-go Mobile Broadband USB stick to work under Ubuntu Linux. I also tested this using EEEbuntu on the Eee PC. The device that I tested is a Huawei Mobile Connect Model E160, HSDPA USB Stick. Most current models should work, but Huawei do not provide any official Linux drivers or any kind of support, so if they release a new model that changes the hardware significantly then it may need new drivers to be written.

Connect the stick to the laptop which is auto-detected as a Huawei Technologies E220 / E270 HSDPA/HSUPA Modem.

If it doesn’t prompt automatically then right click on the network icon and choose edit connections. Or from the menu choose System -> Preferences -> Network Connections.

On the Mobile Broadband Tab click Add (this should bring you to the same point as the auto-detect).

Choose the provider, in my case o2 (pre-pay), which is the designation for the O2 pay as you go option.

Now edit the profile and change as follows:
Number: *99#
Username: o2bb (was payandgo)
Password: password (was payandgo)
APN: m-bb.o2.co.uk (was payandgo.o2.co.uk)

Now click on the network icon on the top right and choose the new profile (in my case I called it o2 – it defaults to o2 (pre-pay)).

It will prompt for a password – just click ok leaving the password blank and you should now connect.

To add credit go to: https://mobilebroadbandaccess.o2.co.uk/

3 Responses to “Using O2 Mobile Broadband under Ubuntu Linux – Huawei E160”

  1. richardbwe Says:

    Thanks for this, Stewart. I have the same hardware and pay-and-go tariff (it works on XP) but I can’t get a connection from Linux (Ubuntu 10.04). The network manager seems to have changed since your description, but so far as I can see I have the same info stored. One thing I notice is that XP has the password stored a *99***1# rather than the shorter one you quote, but neither works.

    Could you possibly post me (here or by email) your file from /etc/NetworkManager/system-connections ?

    Though I am getting in to Linux I must confess that I have not mastered how to monitor what is actually happening on the (attempted) connection. I think I should be able to use something like tcpdump but have yet to find what.

  2. Stewart Says:

    Unfortunately I don’t have either the dongle or the laptop that I used it on. I may however have a backup copy of my settings – I’ll take a look when I get chance.

    It is the phone number that should be *99# although I would expect that the longer version would work as well. As you can guess it’s not a real phone number at all, but it is because the modem follows the same protocols as traditional dial-up. The longer version is calling the same number *99, but the ***1 at the just says to select profile 1, but as most devices don’t have more than one profile it’s not normally necessary.

    The details that I used are taken from a PDF file stored on the modem. The guide is written for Mac users as they have to manually configure the modem as well.

    Try looking at the virtual disk on the USB modem (it acts as a virtual CD Drive I think) and see if there is a user guide with the correct details for your device.

  3. richardbwe Says:

    I couldn’t find anything of use in the pdf, but I do now have it working. I used your settings entered through the Network Manager panel. It only worked after I made a further change via the “PPP settings tab, Configure button” – disabling all authentication methods except PAP, but that may not be significant as I had also moved a bit to get a stronger signal.

    Thank you for your help.


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