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USB EVDO (Alltel UM175AL) under SLED 10

February 9th, 2009 by

This was a bit of a bear, but I’ve inhereted a generic looking USB EVDO stick at the office. After some research and elbow grease, I’ve managed to get it working. In this post, I’ll detail EVDO configuration under SLED 10. I’ll leave out most of the gory technical details as others have covered that for me. I’ll link to the appropriate reference where necessary.

The UM175AL card from Alltel attempts to identify itself as a USB storage device/cdrom when it’s first inserted. This is a huge mess as it needs to be recognized as a serial device. After some searching, I came across Mark A. Ziesemer’s post on using this same card under Ubuntu. He recommends using USB_ModeSwitch to change the device’s mode.

First, I downloaded the USB_ModeSwitch source, extracted it, and deleted the binary. Next, you’ll want to download libusb and libusb-devel from the OBS. If you don’t have OneClick-Install enabled on your SLED install, simply download the libusb RPMs and issue the following commands:

rpm -Uv libusb-*.rpm

rpm -ivh libusb-devel*.rpm

Once those are installed, go ahead and issue ‘make’ in the USB_ModeSwitch directory. This should execute rather quickly and you should have a new usb_modeswitch binary. Copy ‘usb_modeswitch’ to /usr/sbin.

Next you’ll need to create a config for USB_ModeSwitch. As root, edit /etc/usb_modeswitch.conf with the following information (all the gory details can be found at Mark’s site if you’re up for a read):

# /etc/usb_modeswitch.conf

# alltel evdo hax
DefaultVendor = 0x106c
DefaultProduct = 0x3b03

MessageEndpoint = 0x05
MessageContent = “55534243904ed68a24000000800008ff024445564348470000000000000000”

Note that the above only works for this particular card. You can likely ignore that if your EVDO card is already supported.

Now we should be able to access the modem and use ‘wvdial’ (which conveniently ships with SLED) to get connected. First we’ll need to edit our /etc/wvdial.conf. This example is for Alltel only:

[Dialer Defaults]
Stupid Mode = On
Modem = /dev/ttyACM0
Baud = 921600
Init = ATZ
Init2 = ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0
Phone = #777
Username = XXXXXXXXXX@alltel.net
Password = alltel
Init1 = ATZ
ISDN = 0
Modem Type = Analog Modem
Auto Reconnect = on
Carrier Check = no
[Dialer shh]
Init3 = ATM0
[Dialer Pulse]
Dial Command = ATDP

Replace XXXXXXXXXX with your 10 digit phone number. I gleaned this information from two sources: Linux.com’s EVDO tutorial for VoIP and Linux * Screw’s EVDO with Linux article.

Now that everything is all configured, plug in your EVDO stick and use usb_switchmode to switch it to the proper mode for serial access:

/usr/sbin/usb_modeswitch -c /etc/usb_modeswitch.conf

Which should spit out some “everything OK” messages. If it didn’t, you’ll need to go back and check your configuration.

Once you’ve switched the card to the proper setting, go ahead and use ifconfig to bring your wireless and wired network interfaces down (ifconfig eth0 down, etc.). This step is optional, but I like to do it for good measure.

Now you should be ready to dial your wireless carrier. To do so, simply execute ‘wvdial’ and wait for the connection to finish. You should be online at this point!

So there you have it. I want to give a HUGE thanks to Mark Ziesemer for doing so much research on this card, that helped progress a TON!


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