BT Voyager 105 USB modem not working

Q I am using a computer with an AMD 1.6GHz processor. I have installed Ubuntu 8.10 in a separate partition from Windows XP. My internet provider is BT and the USB modem is a BT Voyager 105. This is where my problem starts, as BT tell me they don't recognise Ubuntu and cannot suggest how I can access the net. I downloaded some gobbledygook from the Ubuntu forums but that did not work. Surely there is a simpler, step-by-step way to get the internet in Ubuntu. By the way, my Lexmark printer would not work so I had to splash out on an HP 4100 printer, so don't ask me to buy too much software as I am a pensioner and at present skint!

A I know you don't want to spend any money, but a few pounds spent on a decent modem will save you so much trouble. The best thing you can say about the free modems given away by ISPs is that they are reasonable value for money! A decent modem connects by Ethernet, not USB, and needs no special drivers or software on the computer. The standard networking stack and a web browser, which everything has by default, will do just fine. Most standalone modems also include a router and firewall, making your system more secure whichever operating system it uses. Because a proper modem handles the network protocols internally instead of offloading the work to the computer's CPU with a driver, both the network connection and your computer in general are more responsive. Such a modem can be bought for around £20.

If you stick with the Voyager USB modem, you have to accept that it will work less efficiently and that you will have some work to get it set up. This is true on Windows too, but you do get automated driver installation there. To do this with Ubuntu 8.10, you need to download two files. As your connection is not working under Linux, do this in Windows or on a different computer. Go to http://eciadsl.flashtux.org/download.php and fetch the Ubuntu package, currently eciadsl-usermode_0.12-1_i386.deb. Then go to http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/pool/universe/r/rp-pppoe and get the latest i386 Deb file, which is currently pppoe_3.8-3_i386.deb. The version number in these files may change if updates were released after we wrote this. Copy these files to a USB stick and transfer it to your Ubuntu computer. After making sure the modem isn't plugged in, install each of the packages by double-clicking them, the pppoe file first.

Now you have to configure the modem with the settings for your ISP (this is the part that Windows users get done for them). In your terminal, run "sudo eciadsl-config-tk" to open the graphical configuration program (if it fails to run use eciadsl-config-text). At the top of the window, set your username and password to those given to you by BT and set VPI and VCI to 0 and 38 respectively. Pick the correct modem from the list, set the PPP mode to VCM_RFC2364, click on the Remove Dabusb button (you can safely ignore any messages it gives you) followed by Create Config. This should open a window containing a number of messages ending in OK. Your modem is now installed and set up, and you can plug in the modem and connect to the internet by running

eciadsl-start

You can attach this command to a desktop icon by right-clicking on the desktop and selecting Create Launcher. Put eciadsl-start (or eciadsl-stop) in both the name and command boxes. You can also have the command run automatically when the desktop opens by going to System > Preferences > Sessions, clicking on the Add button and entering the program name.

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