Cannot get Motorola SB4200 modem working in Linux

Q I managed to install the KDE desktop environment version of SUSE 10.0 but I cannot get the Motorola SB4200 modem supplied by Blueyonder, my ISP, to connect to the internet via the USB port. I know the forums all suggest using the NIC connection, but would you be partial to any information that would allow me to get a working connection between SUSE Linux and my modem?

A There are good reasons why so many people recommend using the Ethernet connection rather than USB. The main three are:

  • Ethernet is faster
  • Ethernet is trivial to set up
  • Ethernet is faster

Yes, there is a huge speed difference between the two. I haven't tried it with this modem, but on my ADSL line the superior performance of Ethernet over USB modems is striking, particularly in terms of responsiveness. This is hardly surprising, as it's just what Ethernet was designed for, whereas USB is a universal system originally designed for low-speed devices. If your PC does not have an Ethernet port already, a PCI card can be bought for less than £5 and SUSE will take care of its configuration. You may also need to register the MAC address (a unique hardware identifier) of your network card with Blueyonder; the company uses this to validate your login.

To find this, start the Yast Control Centre and go to Hardware > Hardware Info. Click on your network card and then Resources > Hwaddr. Call Blueyonder's support team and give them this number. To use the USB connection, you need the CDCEther driver. This is compiled into the standard SUSE 10.0 kernel, so the modem should 'just work'. Does SUSE detect the modem when you connect it? If so, but there is no network interface for it, you will need to set this up from the Network Device section of Yast. The type should be USB and you should select Automatic Address Setup.

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