Feb 17th 2011, 08:55 PM
Virgin Mobile Broadband2Go used to work on my Kubuntu 10.10. I posted how to get it to work months ago.
After a crash of the OS I can no longer get the modem to connect regardless of how many fixes I try. I tried them (almost) all.
It appears to me that the Novatel MC 760 usb device no longer ejects the mass storage part of the device even when prompted by modified files.
Virgin Mobile even replaced my modem. No change. It also does not work in Windows.
The modem works fine on other XP computers. Could not test it on another Kubuntu computer.
I could post what I have done so far but it is quite long and technical. I am using usb_modeswitch that is supposed to eject the storage part and activate the modem. It does not.
I also have made the two files required to eject the storage part manually and to set the modem active. This method worked for me last time. It does no longer do so.
If you have any suggestions I would appreciate to hear the details. Right now I have a working modem (in other computers) and I am paying Virgin Mobile for no access.
I really need some advice urgently. Thanks.
Feb 28th 2011, 03:51 AM
Any ideas anyone? Come on you guys can do better. You helped many before.
Since nobody volunteers I will as usual answer my own question.
Virgin Mobile USB broadband modem is a hybrid. It is a mass storage device and broadband modem. It can also handle a micro card and an external antenna.
The mass storage section of the device is holding the drivers and other software needed by Windows to install and operate the modem. The idea is to install first the software and the drivers and then switch the device to modem mode.
Unfortunately this does not always work as planned. Not even in Windows. Just google for it and enjoy the dozens of horror stories about installation problems in Windows. I could not install the device on my computer in windows because my OS (Windows XP) is in German. I have a donated German computer.
For Linux the driver and software section of the device is like a useless appendix. Linux kernels have the necessary drivers built in. So, we do not need the driver section. It does nevertheless get into the way of smooth operation because it has a tendency just to sit there (as storage device) and thus prevent the device from functioning as broadband modem.
My research in the Net found indeed that even many of the older Linux kernels have the drivers that give the device broadband modem functionality almost right out of the box. In my own case I could install the broadband device in Kubuntu 10.10 without problem. All I had to do was to add two small files with special instructions as I pointed out in a previous post. However with the crash of my OS this out of the box functionality was lost. I could not get the modem to work though I was following my installation instructions that were preserved during the crash. Try as I might, research far and wide and install a myriad of proposed solutions I still remained unsuccessful. Virgin Mobile support did their best to help but they are really not Linux experts.
To make this long story short: During my quest I found out about usb_modeswitch that is meant to get these multi-function modems to flip from storage to modem functionality. The file /etc/usb_modeswitch.conf needs to be modified in accordance with the broadband modem used. There are several modifications/additions posted in various forums on the Net. I tried all and though one of them worked before the crash, it did not after it.
However, I found in the directory /etc/usb_modeswitch an entire section of files with rather cryptic file names. These files contain manufacturer specific additions/modifications to the usb configuration file.
I finally found the file with info on the Novatel modem (also Virgin Mobile). The modification was almost identical with the widely publicized text except that for some reason the published modifications omitted a line of code or two.
I corrected the file usb_modeswitch to reflect the factory info and then double checked two files that are said to be required to make the modem work. One new file goes to /etc/udev/rules.d and contains code that is designed to eject the storage part of the device after the device is connected.
The second new file named 'bb2go' goes into /usr/local/bin. It is coded to transform the device into a broadband modem after the storage part is ejected. I used the proposed code without changes.
After the improved changes to usb_modeswitch my broadband modem was recognized, startedupon its own and connected to Virgin Mobile. It did not take manual connection or KPPP or any other PPP dialer.
I do not know whether the two additional files mentioned are really required, but presume that they may not be necessary. After all, usb_modeswitch is supposed to take care of the switching from storage to modem mode. It appears significant that my modem became active again AFTER I had brought the file usb_modeswitch.conf to reflect the manufacturer's data.
Be that as it may, I am not about to tempt fate by testing whether the modem will work without the two added files.
Only the much maligned Network Manager can handle broadband wireless connections at this time. WICD does not yet have that capability. It is easy to set up the modem parameters in NM. Open the manager, go to broadband wireless, click add, select CDMA modem from the drop down menu. Then comes the second part that has caused me a lot of headache and cost time and money. Broadband connections do not need a user name and password during setup. The modem has to be activated with Virgin Mobile using Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7. Thereafter, no password or user name is required. They are known to Virgin Mobile on the base of the serial number of the modem and the account number.
I overlooked that for a while and suffered the consequences in the form of 'no connection' messages.
Make sure that you enter the following information during the setup of the connection regardless of what NM asks you to enter.
Number (telephone): #777
User name: Enter your Virgin Mobile phone number (which is not really a phone number but rather your account number)
I have previously used 'user' as phone number and password. Others claim to use #99 instead. It does not matter what you enter there as long as there is some data in the fields.
Reiterating crucial points: Adding the manufacturer file modifications to the file usb_modeswitch (and not the text found on the net) and using the password and account number above are most important. The two fields phone number and password could be blank where it not for NM complaining about blank fields.
Good luck with your setup. Most of the required information is on the Internet or directly on your computer.
I was connecting today from inside a library at speeds of up to 1.4 MBits.
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