Using your Asus EEE PC on the 3 mobile network

If you are trying to get a Huawei E169G modem from 3 to work on your EEE then please have a look at this blog post:

I've just been helping a friend get her Asus EEE PC working with 3 mobile broadband, which is a service here in the UK that brings a broadband connection to your computer over the 3G mobile phone network rather than using a wired telephone line. Many mobile operators have started offering such a service and it is a great option for people who live in accomodation that does not have a fixed telehone line installed or available, it is also quicker to get up and running than having to wait for ADSL broadband to be provisioned. The major advantage of this technology is that you can use it wherever there is coverage, you are not restricted to your own home. The downside of it is the limitations on downloads, which are lower than ADSL users so may make it unsuitable for some types of broadband use.

The hardware that is provided with the 3 service is a Huawei E220 USB 3G modem, this device is also offered through many other mobile operators. It is supported without the need to install additional drivers in version 2.6.20 of the Linux kernel onwards (you can find out the kernel version for your Linux machine by typing uname -a into a terminal prompt).

On the EEE is is supported and you can use the Network wizard (Internet -> Network -> Create button) to link up with your mobile network. The wizard is pretty much self explanatory, however there are a couple of things to note that might catch you out. Firstly, you should check that you are in an area with a good strong signal, otherwise you will get lots of errors, of occasions when it will not get through all of the steps to connect properly. You may see the 3 network appear on the list of detected mobile networks, but this doesn't mean that the signal is necessarily strong enough. Try to check the signal with a 3 mobile phone if you can and relocate to a area with a strong signal.

When you get to the hardware detection part of the wizard, you will see two entries for the modem, pick the entry for /dev/ttyUSB0. On the page to select the mobile network, you will notice that the user name and password have been prepopulated, you can accept these defaults.

After completing the wizard you should be good to go so have a go at connecting. If all goes well you should now be able to browse the internet on the move! However if you connect successfully but cannot load any pages, you may have had a problem with downloading some of the settings. The first thing to do is to disconnect and reconnect again. If that doesn't work, you may be able to locate problem manually, in the Network program, click on your connection and click Properties. In the General tab, locate the entry for "Preferred DNS server", if this says then have a look at the discussion on this thread on the EEE User forum for a possible solution. I found this happened when I tried to connect, but went away when I reconnected.

The last issue we found was that sometimes, when trying to connect, we would get a message saying "Operation failed" very quickly. It turns out that sometimes the EEE tries to use the wrong bit of hardware to make the connection. Instead of using the E220, it tried to use the internal modem (which I think is missing anyway?). You can easily fix this by going to the connection in Network, then clicking Properties and on the hardware tab click on the entry for the E220 (/dev/ttyUSB0) then click OK.

This all seems to work well once it is up and running and makes for a convenient way to browse the Internet. You will lose some battery life, but you should be able to turn off your WiFi connection (Fn + F2) to save some power.

*** UPDATE ***

If you are using a Huawei E169G modem instead of the E220, check out Dale Lane's blog. I haven't tried this out for myself as I don't own one of these devices, but it looks like he has got this working with the EEE.

*** UPDATE 2 ***

I've just got an H169G, and have written up how to get it working on the EEE at:

*** UPDATE 3 ***

I've made a package to get the E169G working on the EEE, have a look at:



I too have Three mobile broadband using an E220 modem. On the EEEPC, the default APN for Three is, which works well enough. But if you put the E220 into a windows machine, the default APN is 3internet.

I decided to see if 3internet had any advantage as an APN for the EEEPC, so I made a copy of the default Three connection on the EEEPC, and in the copy changed the APN from to 3internet. [To do this you go to /etc/opt/xandros/xandrosncs/services. There are (probably) several files of the kind 'dialupx', where x is a number. Find the one corresponding to the copy of the Three connection - it'll be the one with the highest number if you haven't created any new connections since copying the Three connection. I opened it with Nano and changed the APN (which is in the last line) to 3internet.]

The result has been erratic. It connects, but often I cannot actually do anything with the connection. Some times FirstClass works, but not Firefox. Once I could get both to work, but more often neither works. Most odd.


I too have these problems, and it seems to depend on where i am. In my place, most of the time the connection works. But sometime it may seem to work but i cant get anywhere with firefox - skype almost always works in these situations. Maybe some network/linux pro can help?

Thanks to your blog and some of your links I got the E220 from Three and my eee working today without too much hassle - needed a few attempts to find ttyUSB0 but working fine now... I only get a green light here in the sticks so need to try it from the office tomorrow to see if speed improves on 3g. It should do. So far Im v impressed...

Out in the countryside, the Vodafone mobile phone network seems to have widest coverage - 3 seems to be centred mainly on urban areas.

Does anyone have any experience of Vodafone's mobile broadband service and USB modems with the eee, especially in the sticks? Maybe much more basic than 3 but perhaps more reliable?

If so, is installation reasonably straightforward? The Vodafone inshop database suggests that mainstream distros such as Suse and Ubuntu are compatible but doesn't mention Xandros.


Thanks very much for this page, Liam. I tried all day yesterday to get a Vodafone E270 (the low rate one) working on openSUSE, and failed. It worked in 5 minutes on the eeePC (which I'm more impressed with every time I use it). Where we are (Anglesey), 3, Orange, etc don't have very good coverage, and Vodafone is a lot better. Unfortunately we don't seem to get 3G (blue light), so it's just GPRS (green light) until I can visit some metropolis and try it there. The speed, though, is pretty acceptable - I would say about 30-40% slower than my broadband.

Thanks for the info liam. I have an eeepc which I am very happy with, it is a cheap and cheerful little machine that does everything. Except it runs linux and I was wondering if I can run it on mobile broadband. Looks like ASUS have got that covered too which is very cool. Asus know their stuff.

I've just followed your instructions to connect with the E156G. Couldn't have been simpler - thank you!

Has anyone any idea where I can find a dongle that gives me mobile broadband on my LINUX SETUP UBUNTU Toshiba netbook? Finding this very confusing...

Most mobile providers will state which mobile broadband dongle that they are offering with their package. So you can take these model numbers and see what sort of experience people are having with Linux. Some information on cards supported under Ubuntu can be found at: although I don't know how up to date it is.

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OK so I've installed Easy-peasy on my eeepc901 - no problems. It still connects to
my wireless router and the internet.
I recently bought a mf627 wireless dongle from '3' (UK).(Works ok on Windows).
I followed Liams instructions and now have a simple question :-
When I right click the networks icon and select edit mobile broadband it asks me for
1. Phone number - do I need to put +44 or 44 before the mobile number?
2. A user name - don't remember if they gave me one!
3. A password - I've got that.

Under advanced the boxes I'm unsure about are:
APN it's got 3internet in there at the moment.
Network - Blank. What do I need to put in here?
PIN - What do I need to put in here?
PUK - What do I need to put in here?

Then there are the PPP and IPV4 setting tabs.......

Thanks in advance for any tips.
How do I find out what my 'user name' is?

i got my daughter a linux asus eee pc 900 in holland, now we are back in uk and it wont work on 3g dongle,why ?

In my case, the eee pc tried to use the audio device as a modem. I recreated the connection and its fine now.

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