The E160G works on Ubuntu and Easy Peasy

The notification shown by Network Manager upon a successful connection, says "Connected to 3"A few days ago a man wrote into The Guardian's technology help column Ask Jack to ask for help getting a Huawei E160G mobile internet modem working with his son's Asus EEE PC 901 complaining that "Nobody seems willing or able to assist".  Jack Schofield, the Jack of Ask Jack, thoughtfully smoked his pipe (possibly) and suggested that "You can try reading Dale Lane's blog post and 138 comments, but frankly it would be easier to change the modem or install Windows XP, which works fine". Within hours, 3 Mobile Buzz, a blog from 3 that covers posts about their products from the blogosphere rounding up the information that they have. They didn't have a definitive answer on the E160G though, and later I twittered that I'd have a look to see if it is possible to get it working in a similar way to the E169G, another model of mobile internet modem. 3 Mobile Buzz took me up on the idea, and lent me an E160G to what was possible. The news so far is that it works perfectly on Ubuntu 8.10 (including the 64 bit version) and Easy Peasy (a version of Ubuntu targeted at netbooks, including the EEE) without any additional software. I've not managed to get it fully working on a Xandros powered EEE PC yet though, so if you want to use this modem with your EEE it might be a good idea to switch to using Easy Peasy. It is possible to the use the modem on Ubuntu, and with a little bit of fiddling about the built in micro-SD card reader as well.

A side view of the E160G showing the external antenna socket and the micro-SD card reader slotThe E160G is a similar device to the E169G, it does have a couple of extra features though; a micro-SD card reader and an external antenna socket. When you plug it into your Ubuntu machine you will see a message saying that the modem has been detected (as a Huawei Technologies E220 Modem/ E270 HSDPA/HSUPA Modem) and you can click on a button to configure the device. When you do this, you will be presented with a wizard to select you country (which should be auto-selected) and your network. I took the default settings for 3 (UK) and it worked fine.

It appears that there are variations on the model number for this device, my colleague Allan Jones has a similar device from Vodafone that has a model number of K3565, but his invoice said it was a E160. I'm not sure what the difference is either between the 'G' and non-'G' versions. If you know more about this it would be great to hear from you or maybe you could add the information to the Ubuntu Wiki page on 3G. One way to identify this device though is to issue the command lsusb in a terminal, you should see an output like this:

Bus 007 Device 014: ID 12d1:1003 Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. E220 HSDPA Modem / E270 HSDPA/HSUPA Modem

You can also use the built in micro-SD card reader of the device. Unfortunately it is not auto-detected so you must set it up manually using a couple of commands. Firstly, you need to set up a mount point for the card reader, a place in the file system that will be the place where the contents of the card can be found. This will be set up under the /media directory and you can call it anything you like, in this example I've called the mount point "e160g-sdcard". Enter this command to set up the mount point (these start out life as regular directories):
sudo mkdir /media/e160g-microsd

Next, you should insert a card into the device, before plugging the device in, issue the command sudo tail -f /var/log/messages in a terminal. When you plug the device in you should see some activity and new messages. There should be some messages about a storage device and you should see some letters repeated in square brackets, this will be something like "sdb", this is the device that the card reader is attached to.

The output of the messages file showing the device code in square brackets

Now we can mount the command with a command like this, and the contents should be available to browse:
sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /media/e160g-microsd

So you don't have to install Windows XP to enjoy using the E160G, instead you can use it under Ubuntu and Easy Peasy. Hopefully it will be possible to get the device working on a factory standard Xandros-powered EEE PC, but even if that is not possible, Easy Peasy is available for free and I think creates a much better experience than Xandros in this and many other ways. The upgrade to Network Manager included in Ubuntu 8.10 again comes in very useful!


thanks Liam; I will try to follow this blog too; interested at what point the 160 failed for you; my daughter installed your excellent .deb package for the 169 before she realised she had a 160! so that package is in her Xandros Eee!! not clear what component may be active;

to configure the Huawei 160 on Xandros Eee 700 she has gone to Network; create new connection; 3G; it recognises the 160; she must click accept or whatever; then back to main Network page; identify the entry that has been created; connect; it dials, connects and then fails .... I see other programmes asking for username, password etc and I am not clear if such are needed; interested what steps you pursued

I cannot seem to get the SD card working with any versions of Ubuntu Im currently using 9.04. It works on the machine when dual booting into XP also its picked up within the BIOS where I can see both virtual CD and 8Gb SD card.

My system is a ASUS laptop PRO31f

this is a copy from my log

May 17 13:18:15 oi kernel: [ 502.880071] usb 1-4: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 3
May 17 13:18:15 oi kernel: [ 503.023552] usb 1-4: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
May 17 13:18:15 oi kernel: [ 503.114127] Initializing USB Mass Storage driver...
May 17 13:18:15 oi kernel: [ 503.116566] usb-storage: probe of 1-4:1.0 failed with error -1
May 17 13:18:15 oi kernel: [ 503.116624] usbcore: registered new interface driver usb-storage
May 17 13:18:15 oi kernel: [ 503.116632] USB Mass Storage support registered.
May 17 13:18:15 oi kernel: [ 503.116934] usb 1-4: USB disconnect, address 3
May 17 13:18:20 oi kernel: [ 508.729075] usb 1-4: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 4
May 17 13:18:21 oi kernel: [ 508.871530] usb 1-4: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
May 17 13:18:21 oi kernel: [ 508.887901] usb-storage: probe of 1-4:1.0 failed with error -5
May 17 13:18:21 oi kernel: [ 508.907346] usb-storage: probe of 1-4:1.1 failed with error -5
May 17 13:18:21 oi kernel: [ 508.921976] usb-storage: probe of 1-4:1.2 failed with error -1
May 17 13:18:21 oi kernel: [ 508.922949] usb-storage: probe of 1-4:1.3 failed with error -1
May 17 13:18:21 oi kernel: [ 508.970466] USB Serial support registered for GSM modem (1-port)
May 17 13:18:21 oi kernel: [ 508.970557] option 1-4:1.0: GSM modem (1-port) converter detected
May 17 13:18:21 oi kernel: [ 508.970796] usb 1-4: GSM modem (1-port) converter now attached to ttyUSB0
May 17 13:18:21 oi kernel: [ 508.970820] option 1-4:1.1: GSM modem (1-port) converter detected
May 17 13:18:21 oi kernel: [ 508.970929] usb 1-4: GSM modem (1-port) converter now attached to ttyUSB1
May 17 13:18:21 oi kernel: [ 508.970976] usbcore: registered new interface driver option
May 17 13:18:21 oi kernel: [ 508.970982] option: v0.7.2:USB Driver for GSM modems

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I have now been able to plug a Huawei 160 with a Vodafone NZ simcard into an easy peasy 1.1 distro on an Eee 701 and Eee 900; (and also MoonOS); (both Ubuntu 8.10 based); to configure, you need to right click on the network manager icon on the panel; you click on third option down: "Edit Connections"; now left-click on that; then you get choice of: 1) wired 2) wireless 3)mobile broadband; etc one clicks on "mobile broadband"; selects "add": select country: select network provider: by accepting, one is returned to the network manager icon on the panel; by left-clicking on that now, the mobile broadband should now appear as an option; only clicks connect and I can only hope it connects as quickly for anyone as it has connected for us; I have set up a couple of persistent SD cards now with differing distros and the mobile broadband now configured for each;

confirming successful access to Vodafone 3G network on standard 701 Eee running Xandros; in addition though this install of the Eee 701 has the package you prepared for the 169: (as well as vmc but vmc does not recognise the 160, whereas it does recognise the Vodem Huawei 220)

we tried this on before installing: no log in; with this package, we can log in to a 3G Vodafone (NZ) network, using a Vodafone simcard in a Huawei 160 modem;

it does take the Xandros longer to set up; (has to scan to recognise the local GSM network, but it does that, and then refers to presumably inbuilt network reference?) but it works well in the end: Network; create; 3G; it crucially recognises the modem; select network; (scans for this): offers appropriate choice, and sets up

I have a Huawei Technologies E220 Modem/ E270 HSDPA/HSUPA Modem but cannot get it to work on the latest version of Ubuntu, Jaunty.

The usb modeswitch works but I've been trying to run a vodafone driver that works with Huawei modems and all I get is 'python' related errors.

Any ideas?



Hi John, is it this Vodafone driver that you are using: ? If so they have forums here: which is probably the best place to ask.

Hope this helps.

Hi John; we have been learning about this modems recently; by trial and error; we are now the proud owners of an unlocked 160 and Vodafone 220; both work beautifully on any Ubuntu variant that we have tried; (all on the Ubuntu 8.10 version): I have used the USB installer function on Ubuntu and made SD cards to try various distros: MoonOS; easy peasy 1.0 and 1.1; Eeebuntu variants; Cruncheee;

I would recommend easy peasy: try it on an SD card; (you can get it onto a 1g SD card!!) it just works better than Ubuntu NMR 9.04; plug your 220 modem in; (you can do it after the easy peasy is fully loaded; wait; network manager (the TV icons on the top bar) will ask you to configure; but if not, rightclick on network manager; select mobile broadband; select country; select network; it just works effortlessly on each of the above;

for us, it just works very quickly; (on a Vodafone 3G network so far); we also installed the betavine vodafone driver; (on a Xandros 701)that is excellent for the Xandros, and runs a 220 very well;

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