Why won’t Ubuntu recognize my wireless modem?

yusuf October 11, 2011
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I recently installed Ubuntu. However, it doesn’t seem to recognize my Hauwei 153 wireless modem properly, as it shows up as a mass storage device. There is a modem icon on the desktop, but I need help to decide what to do with it.

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  1. Mike
    October 20, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    sounds about right... neither sakis3g nor modeswitch are permanent

    Basically when your system shuts down, restarts or hibernate the USB is power cycled and the change [to the product ID] made by those tools is lost.

    The only workaround I can think of is using sleep mode (or hybrid sleep if you wish) instead of hibernate.

    * You may have to change energy options to maintain USB power during sleep

  2. Jay
    October 12, 2011 at 4:46 am

    Does a "mobile partner" icon appears in my computer when you attach the modem?
    Do you have the same icon on the desktop ? what happens when you click it ?
    Can you tell me more about the destop icon?what is its file name ?

    which version of ubuntu you have installed?

  3. Mike
    October 12, 2011 at 12:45 am

    Unfortunately it is a known problem with the modern USB modems that contain a Virtual CD-Rom partition with the modem software [for Windows/Mac].

    On Windows or Mac the driver automatically puts the device into the modem mode while on Linux the device identifier stays within the storage mode.

    I suggest to try the Ubuntu solution first. If that doesn't help I know of two tools which might be able to solve your problem:
    Sakis3G
    USB ModeSwitch

    In case of ModeSwitch it can get tricky to find the correct modem ID to access it's modem function. The corresponding ID for the Huawei 153 is not submitted (or at least not listed on the homepage) but maybe you can find a pattern among the Huawei entries to use.

    • Karen
      October 20, 2011 at 7:04 pm

      Mike, thank you for the tip on Sakis3G.

      I have a Zoom 4595 3G tri-band USB modem on Ubuntu 10.04.3 LTS. I ran Sakis3G with the following setting:

      Add the file /etc/sakis3g.conf containing
      --console
      --sudo
      --debug

      At the command line, issue the command "sakis3g switchonly" 

      The command successfully switches the modem from a CD-Rom device to a USB device. the CD-Rom icon disappeared from GNOME desktop, and I see 3 character stream devices (/dev/ttyUSB1, /dev/ttyUSB2, /dev/ttyUSB3) are detected.  

      However, each time the system reboots or resumes from hibernation, the modem reappears at a CD-Rom, and I need to run "sakis3g switchonly" again.

      Karen