Huawei E169G - the easy way
Note to Ubuntu and Easy Peasy users: Your Huawei E169G should now work out-of-the box with later versions of Ubuntu (8.10 onwards) and derivatives. Lots of other modems work too, like the E160G.
A few days ago Lifehacker Australia carried a blog post where they said that they felt my method to get the Huawei E169G modem working on an EEE PC was a "tad fiddly". Well, they are probably right, so taking this as a challenge I've had a go at creating a package that will apply these steps automatically and make getting this modem up and running as simple as possible. This is one of my first attempts at packaging, so there might be some problems, however I've successfully tested that it works on both a Xandros and an Ubuntu powered EEE PC. The package is quite basic in what it does, so it may well work on some other Debian-based distributions too.
The package basically automates the steps in my earlier post "Using the Huawei E169G usb mobile internet modem on the EEE", it includes files to set up the rules for what should happen when you plug the device in, a copy of usb_modeswitch, documentation, and a sample configuration file for gnome-ppp (thanks to the Joyrex Wiki) to help you set up a connection (you won't need this for a standard Xandros powered EEE).
Installation on a Xandros EEE PC
- Download the file e169g-switch_0.3_all.deb from this site to somewhere you can easily find it.
- Open file manager (under the work tab) and go to the location where you downloaded the file
- Right click over the file and select "Install DEB file..."
- Enter your password when prompted (this is required because you are making a system change)
- After a few moments you should get a message saying installation has been completed.
You should now be able plug in the E169G and use it to make an Internet connection in the normal way using the "Network" icon under "Internet"
Installation on an Ubuntu EEE PC
- Using Firefox, click here to start the installation process for e169g-switch
- Firefox will offer you the option to download and open the package with GDebi Package Installer, click Ok to accept
- GDebi will launch, showing you information about the package, click "Install Package" in the top right hand corner
- Enter your password when prompted (this is needed because you are making changes to the system)
- After a few moments the package will be installed and you should be able to plug in your E169G (on mine I noticed that a file browser window still launches for mobile connect, but the modem does work)
- If you want to make a connection using gnome-ppp have a look under /usr/share/doc/e169g-switch for a sample configuration file. You should edit this and copy it to your home directory and name it .wvdial.conf
Thanks to Georgina Parsons for testing out the package on her Xandros-powered EEE. So far I've had this working on an Ubuntu and Xandros powered EEE, but it should work on other machines running Ubuntu. If you get success on other platforms please mention it here. The package itself is very simple, it just copies files, it does not use any of the advanced features of the Debian packaging format, but in the end was quite straightforward to put together. If you want to verify that you have downloaded the file correctly before installing it the MD5 sum of the package is: f3e80b78c7e0ad704ae48d22b1ca2d09, you can verify this by typing md5sum e169g-switch_0.2_all.deb in a command line.
Hopefully this package will make the E169G simple to use on the EEE as the two devices go together very well.
*** UPDATE 12th October 2008 ***
Thanks for your feedback on this package. Some of you experienced a "floating point" error when trying to use this package on a Xandros-powered EEE system. Today I updated the e169g-switch package to version 0.2 and included a special version of usb_modeswitch that was compiled on a Xandros system. This seems to clear up the error on a simulation of a Xandros-powered EEE that I have and seems to work fine on Ubuntu as well. As my EEE doesn't have Xandros on it anymore I've not been able to test it on a real machine, so if it works for you please comment here. If you are up and running with version 0.1 there is no need to upgrade.To upgrade just follow the instructions above, if you already have version 0.1 installed the upgrade will be handled automatically. All of the links above have been updated.
*** UPDATE 5th December 2008 ***
New version 0.3: I've updated the version of usb_modeswitch used by e169g_switch to version 0.9.5 and altered the package file so it now provides "usb_modeswitch" for any package that depends on it. If you are happily using the package already, you probably don't need to update.