Get Maxon BP3-EXT modem working in Linux

Q I have used Microsoft for about 25 years and I must confess Linux is vastly different and it really takes some coming to grips with. I still consider myself on "L" plates. I am using a Maxon Broadband Wireless Modem Model BP3-EXT to access the internet using Windows XP on a desktop PC. My ISP, Bigpond in Australia, has informed me that it does not support Linux operating systems. Can I connect to the internet?

A The answer to your question is "yes" but I suspect you also want to know how. The modem you have is a USB serial modem. Despite it using wireless to connect to the internet, it appears to the computer as a normal dial-up modem. Getting it to work in Linux involves two fairly simple steps. The first is to load up the driver, and make sure it is loaded every time you boot. The other step is setting up the dialler software to connect. The modem needs the USB serial driver, which is included with all distros, but it needs to be configured to work with your modem and for that you need its vendor and product ID codes. You can find these by running lsusb in a root terminal or by examining the output from dmesg (which prints out kernel messages). Open a root terminal, plug in the modem then run

dmesg | tail -n 20

to see the last twenty lines of kernel messages and look for something like this

usb 2-4.4: new full speed USB device using ehci_cd and address 8
usb 2-4.4: new device found, idVendor=16d8, idProduct=6280

Now, using the values from dmesg (which may not be the same as given here), load the driver:

modprobe -v usbserial vendor=0x16d8 product=0x6280

Running dmesg again should show

usbcore: registered new interface driver usbserial
drivers/usb/serial/usb-serial.c: USB Serial support registered for generic
usbserial_generic 2-4.4:1.0: generic converter detected
usb 2-4.4: generic converter now attached to ttyUSB0
usbserial_generic 2-4.4:1.1: generic converter detected
usb 2-4.4: generic converter now attached to ttyUSB1
usbserial_generic 2-4.4:1.2: generic converter detected
usb 2-4.4: generic converter now attached to ttyUSB2

which means you have successfully loaded the drivers and enabled the modem. You can make this happen on boot by adding usbserial to /etc/modules.preload and the following line to /etc/modprobe.conf:

options usbserial vendor=0x16d8 product=0x6280

Now switch from root back to your normal user. As you can see from the dmesg output, the modem appears as three devices. The one you want is /dev/ttyUSB1, so fire up Kppp and set up a new connection using /dev/ttyUSB1 as the modem device, "*99#" as the number to dial and the login details given by your ISP. When setting up the modem, set Flow Control to Hardware and turn off "Wait for dial tone before dialling"

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