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GPRS/Edge/3G modem, where are configuration files?


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I have connected my T-Mobile (USA) TM506 phone to a computer through a USB cable and am trying to configure a GPRS/Edge/3G Internet connection. When I use "Set up a new network interface" in the Mandriva Linux Control Center, and then select "GPRS/Edge/3G", and select my phone's model number, in which directory are the configuration files created?

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I used wvdial to successfully connect to T-Mobile's 2G network through my usb tethered TM506, as well as my unlocked ATT Sierra AC881 card. I am not in a T-Mobile 3G area, but ATT has 3G service here. A few weeks ago I borrowed an ATT sim card and connected to ATT's 3G using my Sierra AC881 inserted into a WRT54G3G-AT router (actually a WRT54G3G-ST router which I flashed with the WRT54G3G-AT firmware).


From your thread at forum.mandriva.com I see that your Sierra Aircard seems to be a PCMCIA card with a serial port built in. My Sierra AC881 is also a PCMCIA card but is a usb device. Sierra also makes an actual usb version as well. The actual usb model may be preferable for some people because when on a usb cable it could be moved around a bit to get a better signal.


About the problem you've had on 3G, I would suggest that you try wvdial. If wvdial doesn't fix the problem then you may want to try using a Sierra AC881 card. The PCMCIA version of the 881 can be purchased on ebay for about $30 usd including delivery.

Edited by boatman9
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Maybe you're right, I should try a newer AirCard. My wife had a Sony Ericsson GC83 card unlocked for T-Mobile, but she recently lost her card (still paying for the service though). I see I can get the unlock code for my AT&T 860 AirCard for about $10 on ebay. With that and a new 881 AirCard from ebay for myself, we could both be back in business for less than $50. The newer 881 AirCards support faster download speeds than my 860 AirCard.

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I see I can get the unlock code for my AT&T 860 AirCard for about $10 on ebay.

Both AT+T and T-Mobile will give unlock codes if you have been a customer for some time. If they ask for a reason tell them that you will be traveling overseas and will need to use a local sim card in the destination country. I am not sure about AT+T's requirements, but T-Mobile requires that the account has been open for 3 months. Note that an unlocked AT+T 3G AirCard can connect to T-Mobile's network on 2G, but not 3G, because the AT+T card lacks the 1700 MHz band.


I wonder if your AT+T 860 AirCard is being configured the same in both Linux and Windows. You may be able to use serial port monitor software to learn which command codes are sent to your AirCard 860 when operating under Windows.


Options should be added in Mandriva Linux Control Center (MLCC) configuration to support at least one of the major North American cell phone carriers. I want to learn more about what's done, which files are created etc, when one uses the MLCC tool to make a new GPRS/Edge/3G connection. There must be some documentation about that somewhere.

Edited by boatman9
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The thing was, I had it working pretty good in Mandriva 2007.1. I could connect with the network center, but I had better success with kppp. In 2008.1, getting the network center to work at all was a real crapshoot. Kppp also had problems because the configuration files kept getting overwritten. I got pppd to work for a while, but then I started having issues in certain locations. Staying connected on 2G EDGE was no problem with pppd, but I had disconnect problems using 3G in many areas.


I think something has happened to the signal that is causing my problem. It occurred to me that maybe another 3G carrier in those areas may be interfering with AT&T's 3G signal. Even in Windows I see the signal suddenly drop from full strength to nothing, then back to full strength in the matter of just a few seconds. With the Sierra Wireless 3G Watcher connection software, at least I don't normally have to redial the connection when this happens. IIRC, with Mandriva's network manager, and I am sure with kppp, I could set the connection to automatically redial if I lost it. With pppd, it is much more of a pain since I have to type in the root password every time I connect or reconnect. Nothing automatic with pppd.


The end result of all this is that I rarely use Mandriva these days. For 2007.1 I used the Free version, but for 2008.1 I bought the Powerpack (to help support the developers). When 2009.1 comes out, I see how it works, but if I cannot get my AT&T WWAN connection issues ironed out, I'll be distro hopping (and hoping). I generally like how the Mandriva OS operates, but WWAN is essential for me.


Regarding unlocking my AirCard, I tried calling in to get an older AT&T phone unlocked so my wife could use it on T-Mobile. After quite awhile on the phone, neither carrier would give me the unlock code. At the time, our family had been with both carriers for years, and the AT&T phone I was trying to unlock I had bought from AT&T and had owned for over a year. I might try calling again, but I think I would rather just pay the $10 than go through the hassle.

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You should try wvdial. Although it runs in a root console you don't have to retype the root password to reconnect. Someone gave me instructions for wvdial with AT+T as follows:


Start this way:

# tail -f /var/log/messages


Plug in phone and watch to see what you get. Hopefully you see something like /dev/ttyACM0. Some /dev/tty for sure.


Now check to see if you have wvdial. If not, do apt-get install wvdial. You can use wvdialconf to get going or copy and adjust my /etc/wvdial.conf like this:


[Dialer Defaults]

Init1 = ATZ

Init2 = ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0

Modem Type = USB Modem

Phone = *99#

ISDN = 0

Password = CINGULAR1




Modem = /dev/ttyACM0

Baud = 460800


Note that the modem init string may need adjustment for yours if it doesn't work, and Modem port needs to match. Plug it in and run wvdial as root or sudo wvdial and you should be connected shortly. There are other dialers but wvdial has been serving me well for years. Verify interface is up with "ifconfig ppp0" and take down wvdial by killing process or ^c at command line.

Instead of tail, I prefer dmeg. I start with dmesg -c to clear what's already logged, then plug in the device and type dmesg without the -c.

Edited by boatman9
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I did use wvdial a couple of weeks in early November 2007 with Mandriva 2007.1. Then I tried kppp and preferred that. But back then, I was not having any disconnect issues. I may have to try wvdial again.


Regarding my disconnect problems, it occurred to me this morning that maybe the upgrade of AT&T's HSDPA network for downloads from 1.8 Mbit/s to 3.6 Mbit/s to 7.2 Mbit/s and the upgrade of HSDPA to HSUPA for uploads from 384 Kbit/s to 1.4 Mbit/s might be causing some problems with my older 1.8/384 AirCard.


EDIT: Regarding wvdial running as root in konsole, the same is true of pppd. What it was, I wanted a desktop icon to launch pppd. I could do this with no konsole window appearing on the desktop. But if a few minutes elapsed since I last clicked on the icon, I would be asked for the root password again to redial the connection. I do believe wvdial would behave the same way as pppd in this respect.


EDIT2: Comparing the specs of the 881 with the 860, I definitely should (and will) upgrade. I had no idea I could get an 881 AirCard so cheap without a contract commitment. Thanks for the heads up! B)

Edited by David Batson
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