[Linux-aus] telstra ultimate usb modem not compatable with Linux????

Russell Stuart russell-linuxaus at stuart.id.au
Wed Dec 8 14:24:03 EST 2010

On Wed, 2010-12-08 at 13:04 +1100, stuartjed at theearthing.org wrote:
> mfillpot made it a little clearer for me in saying:
> “The issue we have with companies supporting Linux is that windows
> support techs are a dime a dozen because they are used to restricted
> functionality and are not necessarily trained for in depth usage
> support or allowing the users to run different configurations. Due 
> the the large amount of available applications Linux has to fill a 
> specific need and the available options for each application, this 
> can be hard to support because it would require further training 
> for their support techs which can be costly”

This is just someone is spinning a line.  In reality, Linux users have
one piece of software than talks to the modem - PPPD.  Invariably when
they get to the point you are at, they dump one piece of information on
the support persons desk - the PPPD log.  Which is exactly what you are
doing here.  Thus there is not a myriad of different configurations
under Linux, there is just one.  

Windows on the other hand does have a myriad of programs and GUI's that
connect people using a 3G modem, all with different ways of logging and
reporting errors.

I don't know why they just don't give the real answer - which is 95% of
their users run Windows, and they sell a modem & customised windows
application (read: generic application that has their logo's spammed all
over it) which they have trained their staff to support.  They are not
set up to support anything else, and it certainly isn't worth their
effort to train someone to support the handful of Linux users out there.

Besides, we Linux users are pretty good at supporting ourselves.

> Plugin passwordfd.so loaded.
> pppd options in effect:
> debug           # (from command line)
> nodetach                # (from command line)
> dump            # (from command line)
> plugin passwordfd.so            # (from command line)
> noauth          # (from /etc/ppp/peers/bp3)
> name peace2008          # (from command line)
> passwordfd 0            # (from command line)
> /dev/bp3                # (from command line)
> lock            # (from /etc/ppp/options)
> connect /usr/sbin/chat -v -e -t1 -f /etc/chatscripts/bp3 -T *99#       
>        # (from command line)
> crtscts         # (from /etc/ppp/options)
> modem           # (from /etc/ppp/peers/bp3)
> asyncmap 0              # (from /etc/ppp/options)
> lcp-echo-failure 4              # (from /etc/ppp/options)
> lcp-echo-interval 30            # (from /etc/ppp/options)
> hide-password           # (from /etc/ppp/options)
> noipdefault             # (from /etc/ppp/peers/bp3)
> defaultroute            # (from /etc/ppp/peers/bp3)
> replacedefaultroute             # (from /etc/ppp/peers/bp3)
> proxyarp                # (from /etc/ppp/options)
> usepeerdns              # (from /etc/ppp/peers/bp3)
> noccp           # (from /etc/ppp/peers/bp3)
> noipx           # (from /etc/ppp/options)
> +CGATT: 1
> OK
> ATD*99#

There is something to beware of here, which can be confusing to someone
who is good at diagnosing computer problems.  The PPPD protocol does not
go over the air.  Instead, the GSM/3G phone/modem has a PPPD server
inside it.  Thus when all those PPPD negotiations you see in the above
log appeared to work, this was because the modem was just ACK'ing
everything in the hope your Linux box will shut up soon and ask it to
initiate the connection.  Only when the Linux PPPD server finally does
something that requires it to talk to the other side does it initiate
the connection.  In this case it looked like the Linux PPPD server asked
for DNS servers, and the only way for the phone to find  them out was to
create wireless connection, and when it tried to do that it fell into a
heap.  Error reporting from the modem is typically abysmal, so you
really don't have clue why.  It could be anything from the a cat chewed
the USIM to a subtle configuration error in the telco's GGSN (google

So all that chat you see in that trace is mostly meaningless.  It does
tell you one important thing though: you are talking OK to the USB
modem, so it isn't likely to be a driver problem.

In my experience the most likely problem at this this point is a wrong
APN (Access Point Name).  From your dial string, you are using the
default APN in the modem.  It is not uncommon for these to be wrong or
not set at all.  You can set the APN you use from Linux using the dial

  AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","the-apn" OK ATD*99***1#

Unfortunately Telstra has many of APN's, and not all of them work in all
situations, so knowing what to substitute for "the-apn" in the above
string could be a bit tricky.  If you have Telstra supplied software
with your modem then it will be using the right one, so you could try
extracting it out of that by browsing its settings.  Otherwise try
googling "telstra apn".  This is one link that lists a few of them:


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