How to get Bell Canada 3G USB network up?

Christian Jaeger's picture

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Another update in my quest to get that UMTS modem work properly:

Bell technical support told me that I should run a firmware upgrade on
the stick (and gave me a link to the exact file). Of course that's a
windows .exe. I tried to run it in a second hand computer store that
let me plug in my Bell stick, but it didn't work, probably because I
didn't install the driver beforehand, the installer and upgrade
utility conflicted with each other. So I gave up for some time.

Now I've finally gotten an own computer with Windows (XP), so I
installed the modem first, then ran the firmware upgrade. Both worked
without problems. Also, on Windows the modem doesn't seem to exhibit
that disconnect problem. Then I tried again on Debian, and nothing
changed, disconnection on first try. Duh.

So, if anyone knows what's left that I could try (well I'll try
contacting some network manager people), or knows which USB UMTS modem
works on Debian in Canada (with Bell), please tell.

Thanks
Christian.

How to get Bell Canada 3G USB network up?

Jasper Noe's picture

Christian Jaeger gmail.com> writes:

>
> Another update in my quest to get that UMTS modem work properly:
>
> Bell technical support told me that I should run a firmware upgrade on
> the stick (and gave me a link to the exact file). Of course that's a
> windows .exe. I tried to run it in a second hand computer store that
> let me plug in my Bell stick, but it didn't work, probably because I
> didn't install the driver beforehand, the installer and upgrade
> utility conflicted with each other. So I gave up for some time.
>
> Now I've finally gotten an own computer with Windows (XP), so I
> installed the modem first, then ran the firmware upgrade. Both worked
> without problems. Also, on Windows the modem doesn't seem to exhibit
> that disconnect problem. Then I tried again on Debian, and nothing
> changed, disconnection on first try. Duh.
>
> So, if anyone knows what's left that I could try (well I'll try
> contacting some network manager people), or knows which USB UMTS modem
> works on Debian in Canada (with Bell), please tell.
>
> Thanks
> Christian.
>
>
Reading your first post on this issue I see that you remove the option module in
favor of usbserial. That advice is all over the net. Are you still doing that ?
I think it is -basically- wrong: 'option' is the specialised driver for this and
many other 3g modems. 'usbserial' is -only- a generic driver on which you can
fall back if-all-else-fails. ( I am citing the author of usbserial )

I suggest that you go back to the beginning, probably a clean, fresh install of
Squeeze, stick the modem in and see what happens. Or a live cd, or, ..

In Squeeze usbmodeswitch is standard.
Then the option module should grab the modem.
The module creates /dev/ttyUSB*

After that the dialling: that is specific for your provider.

HTH, --Jasper.

How to get Bell Canada 3G USB network up?

Christian Jaeger's picture

> Reading your first post on this issue I see that you remove the option module in
> favor of usbserial. That advice is all over the net. Are you still doing that ?
> I think it is -basically- wrong: 'option' is the specialised driver for this and
> many other 3g modems. 'usbserial' is -only- a generic driver on which you can
> fall back if-all-else-fails. ( I am citing the author of usbserial )

I think I'm only removing the modules so they can be reloaded
afterwards, i.e. to reset their state. At least I think it worked
equally both with reloading option afterwards and without.

Now, option is actually loaded when I connect; and, interestingly it's
not at the top of lsmod output, and, as I realize now, my own
initialization scripts are not even called anymore as it seems. I'm
quite confused; on 2011-03-20
/lib/udev/rules.d/40-usb_modeswitch.rules was changed to a version
that doesn't call my hook. I don't have any record that I did this
myself, and don't remember anything about it, I can only conclude that
some Debian package upgrade did it. Sigh. (Ok I know that /lib isn't
/etc, but then why are those files in /lib? Or do /etc/udev/ files
override those in /lib/udev?)

It seems the option module is actually being used by network manager
(directly or indirectly), since lsmod shows its use count going up to
2 when I'm connecting, and dropping back to 0 when I unplug the stick.

option 12918 2
usb_wwan 6147 1 option
usbserial 21120 7 option,usb_wwan

> I suggest that you go back to the beginning, probably a clean, fresh install of
> Squeeze, stick the modem in and see what happens. Or a live cd, or, ..

I've just booted from a current Ubuntu live image. The exact same
thing happens once it connects: 20 seconds after connection is up it
is being dropped again. (This happened 2 times.) The difference to my
Debian setup is that about 4 further times I tried to up the
connection, it didn't even enter up state; network manager would just
show "connected", but the stick would still blink its LED instead of
going to light it up constantly as it would when connected, then a
couple seconds later network manager would say "disconnected"; after
that no connection attempt succeeds, I unplug+replug the stick to try
again. So it's just worse...

> In Squeeze usbmodeswitch is standard.

Yes, but it didn't work reliably in Ubuntu back when I tried a year
ago, and not at all in Squeeze (testing back then), which led me to
write my own switching scripts.

When I tried it on the newer Ubuntu today, watching syslog and nm
popup messages, it seems usbmode switching is reliable (and fast, in
~2 seconds), but as mentioned it then fails to connect at all in the
majority of cases. Actually I think that's exactly what happened a
year ago, and I probably just mis-concluded that usb mode switching
wasn't reliable on Ubuntu, where in fact the switching itself seems to
work fine, but somehow in about 2/3 of cases leaves it in a state that
doesn't allow it to connect.

How do you connect, using nm or something else?

Well I'm also going to try a Debian live image, to confirm whether
withoug my own scripts it works the same.

Christian.

How to get Bell Canada 3G USB network up?

Jasper Noe's picture

Not sure if I can be of much further help to you.

>> Reading your first post on this issue I see that you remove the option module in
>> favor of usbserial. That advice is all over the net. Are you still doing that ?
>> I think it is -basically- wrong: 'option' is the specialised driver for this and
>> many other 3g modems. 'usbserial' is -only- a generic driver on which you can
>> fall back if-all-else-fails. ( I am citing the author of usbserial )
>
> I think I'm only removing the modules so they can be reloaded
> afterwards, i.e. to reset their state. At least I think it worked
> equally both with reloading option afterwards and without.
>
> Now, option is actually loaded when I connect; and, interestingly it's

The module is loaded when you insert the modem

> not at the top of lsmod output, and, as I realize now, my own
> initialization scripts are not even called anymore as it seems. I'm
> quite confused; on 2011-03-20
> /lib/udev/rules.d/40-usb_modeswitch.rules was changed to a version
> that doesn't call my hook. I don't have any record that I did this
> myself, and don't remember anything about it, I can only conclude that
> some Debian package upgrade did it. Sigh. (Ok I know that /lib isn't
> /etc, but then why are those files in /lib? Or do /etc/udev/ files
> override those in /lib/udev?)
>
> It seems the option module is actually being used by network manager
> (directly or indirectly), since lsmod shows its use count going up to
> 2 when I'm connecting, and dropping back to 0 when I unplug the stick.
>
> option 12918 2
> usb_wwan 6147 1 option
> usbserial 21120 7 option,usb_wwan
>

I am worried about this 'usb_wwan', it seems to do exactly what 'option'
is supposed to do. rmmod usb_wwan ? Is it nm doing this ?

>
>> I suggest that you go back to the beginning, probably a clean, fresh install of
>> Squeeze, stick the modem in and see what happens. Or a live cd, or, ..
>
> I've just booted from a current Ubuntu live image. The exact same
> thing happens once it connects: 20 seconds after connection is up it
> is being dropped again. (This happened 2 times.) The difference to my
> Debian setup is that about 4 further times I tried to up the
> connection, it didn't even enter up state; network manager would just
> show "connected", but the stick would still blink its LED instead of
> going to light it up constantly as it would when connected, then a
> couple seconds later network manager would say "disconnected"; after
> that no connection attempt succeeds, I unplug+replug the stick to try
> again. So it's just worse...
>
>> In Squeeze usbmodeswitch is standard.
>
> Yes, but it didn't work reliably in Ubuntu back when I tried a year
> ago, and not at all in Squeeze (testing back then), which led me to
> write my own switching scripts.
>
> When I tried it on the newer Ubuntu today, watching syslog and nm
> popup messages, it seems usbmode switching is reliable (and fast, in
> ~2 seconds), but as mentioned it then fails to connect at all in the
> majority of cases. Actually I think that's exactly what happened a
> year ago, and I probably just mis-concluded that usb mode switching
> wasn't reliable on Ubuntu, where in fact the switching itself seems to
> work fine, but somehow in about 2/3 of cases leaves it in a state that
> doesn't allow it to connect.

The modeswitching is just the first stage, a very annoying hurdle, it
has nothing to do with connecting. ( but indeed, if it does not work it
"won't allow you to connect" although that sounds confused to me. )

The second stage is the loading of the proper module which makes the
device accessible. ( presence of /dev/ttyUSB* )

Now we can 'talk' to this thing. It works like an old fashioned
telephoneline-modem with 'AT-' commands, we can tell it to 'dial',
disconnect, scan for available networks, measure signalstrength etc.

One might use 'minicom' to play with it.
Or use 'chat', which is part of the package 'ppp', to write scripts that
manipulate the modem.

>
> How do you connect, using nm or something else?

I avoid nm like the plague, but that said, if it is ready it might be
beautiful. I prefer low-level tools.

Like wvdial. Run 'wvdialconf' -if- the modem is accessible. And then
tweak /etc/wvdial.conf .

I do not own a 3g modem myself, but over time I have made several of
them working, on debian systems.

>
> Well I'm also going to try a Debian live image, to confirm whether
> withoug my own scripts it works the same.

I am curious.

>
> Christian.

bye, --Jasper.
( not sure if I hit your problem at all, but since the hardware is
working in windows, it should ... )

How to get Bell Canada 3G USB network up?

Jasper Noe's picture

Christian Jaeger gmail.com> writes:

>
> Another update in my quest to get that UMTS modem work properly:
>
> Bell technical support told me that I should run a firmware upgrade on
> the stick (and gave me a link to the exact file). Of course that's a
> windows .exe. I tried to run it in a second hand computer store that
> let me plug in my Bell stick, but it didn't work, probably because I
> didn't install the driver beforehand, the installer and upgrade
> utility conflicted with each other. So I gave up for some time.
>
> Now I've finally gotten an own computer with Windows (XP), so I
> installed the modem first, then ran the firmware upgrade. Both worked
> without problems. Also, on Windows the modem doesn't seem to exhibit
> that disconnect problem. Then I tried again on Debian, and nothing
> changed, disconnection on first try. Duh.
>
> So, if anyone knows what's left that I could try (well I'll try
> contacting some network manager people), or knows which USB UMTS modem
> works on Debian in Canada (with Bell), please tell.
>
> Thanks
> Christian.
>
>
Reading your first post on this issue I see that you remove the option
module in favor of usbserial. That advice is all over the net. Are you
still doing that ?
I think it is -basically- wrong: 'option' is the specialised driver for
this and many other 3g modems. 'usbserial' is -only- a generic driver on
which you can fall back if-all-else-fails. ( I am citing the author of
usbserial )

I suggest that you go back to the beginning, probably a clean, fresh
install of Squeeze, stick the modem in and see what happens. Or a live
cd, or, ..

In Squeeze usbmodeswitch is standard.
Then the option module should grab the modem.
The module creates /dev/ttyUSB*

After that the dialling: that is specific for your provider.

HTH, --Jasper.

How to get Bell Canada 3G USB network up?

Pablo Sánchez's picture

Christian , Dan William's blog at http://blogs.gnome.org/dcbw/ .
He is a NM developer .

Good info there .

Pablo Sánchez .

> Another update in my quest to get that UMTS modem work properly:
>
> Bell technical support told me that I should run a firmware upgrade on
> the stick (and gave me a link to the exact file). Of course that's a
> windows .exe. I tried to run it in a second hand computer store that
> let me plug in my Bell stick, but it didn't work, probably because I
> didn't install the driver beforehand, the installer and upgrade
> utility conflicted with each other. So I gave up for some time.
>
> Now I've finally gotten an own computer with Windows (XP), so I
> installed the modem first, then ran the firmware upgrade. Both worked
> without problems. Also, on Windows the modem doesn't seem to exhibit
> that disconnect problem. Then I tried again on Debian, and nothing
> changed, disconnection on first try. Duh.
>
> So, if anyone knows what's left that I could try (well I'll try
> contacting some network manager people), or knows which USB UMTS modem
> works on Debian in Canada (with Bell), please tell.
>
> Thanks
> Christian.
>
>