Use Reliance Netconnect wireless USB modem on Ubuntu

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Using non-standard hardware can be a pain on Linux sometimes – we experience it with printers, webcams, modems etc. all the time.

When I tried to use Reliance Netconnect wireless USB modem with Ubuntu, the process was not as easy as I would have liked. Below is a write-up of the steps required to get Netconnect working. If you are a Windows 64-bit OS user, see this tutorial instead.

The most important thing is to have the latest version of Ubuntu. Each new version brings with it support for more hardware.

1. Install WVDial
Enter the commands below into a command terminal:

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sudo apt-get install wvdial
wvdialconf /etc/wvdial.conf

2. Edit wvdial.conf
Edit the configuration file located at /etc/wvdial.conf with the command

gksu gedit /etc/wvdial.conf

and add mobile number as Username and Password, and #777 as the Phone.

3. Connect to internet
Enter the command below to connect your Reliance Netconnect 3G broadband modem

sudo wvdial

Minimise the terminal and start using internet. Take care to not close the terminal, as you’d loose connectivity.

Error: No modem detected

When you entered sudo wvdial /etc/wvdial.conf into terminal and get the error “Sorry, no modem was detected! Is it in use by another program?” error, a few more steps are required to get the Reliance data card working.

4. Check if Netconnect is detected
Enter lsusb in terminal to check if the device is connected and detected properly.

If the modem is detected, the output will contain the line ” ONDA Communication”. Take a note of that line. The characters after Bus 00x Device 00x: ID is vendor: product. That is, if the line is

Bus 002 Device 003: ID 19d2:fffd ONDA Communication S.p.A.

then 19d2 is vendor ID and fffd is product ID.

5. Load kernel module
Enter the command below to manually load the kernel module for Reliance modem (notice that 0x is added to the beginning of vendor and product ID that we obtained in previous step).

sudo modprobe usbserial vendor=0x19d2 product=0xfffd

Now, follow step 3 to connect to internet.

Discussion

  1. The command-fu is not required if you’ve enabled the nationwide roaming feature on your Netconnect modem. This allows you to use your assigned 10-digit modem number as your username and password.
    Now in Ubuntu, go to “Wireless Broadband” (or Mobile Broadband – something like that), create a new connection (afaik, Ubuntu Karmic actually detects Reliance and Tata Photon modems), select India as your country (so the phone number is #777) and enter the 10-digit number as your username and password (unless you’ve changed the password, of course!). That should do the job. :)

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