USB Mobile Phone Broadband

USB Mobile Phone Broadband

Post by cferri » Sun, 31 May 2009 20:25:20

Ref USB Mobile Phone Broadband

Is it possible to use one of the 'USB Mobile Phone Broadband' adaptors
with a Iyonix?

Colin Ferris Cornwall UK

USB Mobile Phone Broadband

Post by Rob Kendri » Sun, 31 May 2009 22:07:13

On Sat, 30 May 2009 12:25:20 +0100

Yes, if it's running Linux :) To the best of my knowledge, nobody has
written any RISC OS drivers or support infrastructure for these
devices. You could buy a cheap second-hand PC, plug the device into
that, and have it do internet connection sharing or similar, though.



USB Mobile Phone Broadband

Post by Theo Marke » Mon, 01 Jun 2009 01:49:38

Some routers also have a socket in which you can connect a USB dongle.

I don't know any recent-ish phones that have serial ports, but there may be
some 3G phones that have them in addition to USB (or which don't do native
USB but have the USB-RS232 adaptor in the cable). These might work for data


USB Mobile Phone Broadband

Post by druc » Tue, 02 Jun 2009 05:10:40

They wouldn't be very complex to drive, they basically work like a
serial modem, and are controlled via AT commands, so if presented to
RISC OS as a USB serial port, something like !Dailup could do all the
work of establishing a connection.

The problem is the device doesn't play nice and describe itself as a USB
serial port. On plugging in the Huawei E160 that I use with my EEE in to
the Iyonix, !USBInfo shows it as a single SCSI mass storage device.
Hitting the reset button on the device button reconnects it, and it then
appears as two vendor specific interfaces and two SCSI mass storage

That's more what I'd expect, the two mass storage is it's internal
memory which contains a driver for the MAC and the micro-SD slot. The
one or both of the vendor specific interfaces are for the 3G.

Has anyone got the simpler E220 they could test with !USBinfo, as that
doesn't have the mass storage interfaces?


USB Mobile Phone Broadband

Post by Rob Kendri » Tue, 02 Jun 2009 05:37:55

On Sun, 31 May 2009 21:10:40 +0100

Also, quite often you need to upload firmware to them in some magical,
undocumented process. Although if Linux can do it, that means
somebody's already worked out the chants and utterances to do it. Many
such devices are still only supported under Windows and OS X.

(Which is shameful, really; implementing a small boot ROM that
implemented CDC serial that you then send the firmware down to, and
then having the firmware present a simple CDC-connected modem really
isn't difficult.)


USB Mobile Phone Broadband

Post by Theo Marke » Tue, 02 Jun 2009 08:02:38

Have a google for 'usb-modeswitch'. It basically just squirts a special USB
packet down the wire that flips the device from being a Mass Storage device
with the Windows/Mac/Linux drivers, and a serial device. The configuration
file for usb-modeswitch for your particular dongle has a hex dump of the
special packet. Shouldn't be too difficult to write something that does
this for RISC OS.

(I have a ZTE MF627 device where this is used - I think Huawei and Option do
something similar though I haven't looked specifically)

Interesting... I thought once flipped they were just plain CDC devices. The
ones that have builtin flash on them ('ZeroCD', where it automatically
installs the drivers for you) shouldn't need softloaded firmware I'd have

Do we actually have a RISC OS USB driver for CDC?

But then hardware manufacturers like making things difficult just to save


USB Mobile Phone Broadband

Post by Rob Kendri » Tue, 02 Jun 2009 08:24:42

On 01 Jun 2009 00:02:38 +0100 (BST)

Well, it's one thing to plonk down a cheap flash chip and mass storage
controller, but another to find room/budget to put another flash chip
down for the device to actually boot off.

Hardware designers are to blame :) They often think that cutting a
corner or shaving an edge makes everything easier; because everything's
easier in software, of course :) (Despite the issue that they then
have a bundle of software engineering and a flash chip to install,
rather than just using drivers already built into the OS.)


USB Mobile Phone Broadband

Post by Peter Naul » Tue, 02 Jun 2009 09:28:44

As it happens, I know a great deal about this subject. Most of the
devices in the UK are pretty similar - almost all of them are Huawei
based, which indeed presents a serial port device. This includes
present models from T-Mobile and Vodafone.

But these devices present several serial interfaces - it is not
always the first one that is correct to issue AT commands on.

Some devices from Option do indeed require a mode switch, usually by
passing some SCSI magic - the devices initially present themselves
as a SCSI mass storage or a SCSI CDROM drive. This is also true
of some devices from Novatel and Sierra, who are the other major
manufacturers (also Franklin). Yet other devices require a
SCSI eject command (the Linux 'eject' command is correct) to change

Other devices present themselves as a USB modem device (as do many
phones under tethering), which would require a different driver.
This is the CDC thing referred to.

Finally, some of the Huawei modems, in order to get the maximum
performance out of them (the 7Mbps/sec+ advertised by T-Mobile)
require yet a different driver. This is the "hso" driver under

Fortunately, some of this complexity open happens with US devices,
so in general, is not relevant to RISC OS.

USB Mobile Phone Broadband

Post by Theo Marke » Tue, 02 Jun 2009 17:57:50

Thanks for that, it's very interesting.

FWIW most of Three UK's current offerings are by ZTE - to start with they
supplied Huawei dongles (eg the classic E220) but they've moved onto
ZTE now.

Do you know of any that need firmware downloads? That's not something I've
come across.

(I've also done a bit of digging into EVDO dongles for CDMA which,
surprisingly, don't seem all that different at the software end from GSM)


USB Mobile Phone Broadband

Post by james.holt » Tue, 02 Jun 2009 18:56:51

Are you sure it's simpler?
I only ask, because I briefly had access to an E220 about a year ago
(trying to make it work on FreeBSD), and my memory says it too was a
dual-mode device -- picking up mass-storage by default (although
whether it was readonly/read-write I cannot remember), requiring a
magic kick, to get it into serial-mode.


USB Mobile Phone Broadband

Post by Russell Ha » Tue, 02 Jun 2009 19:23:17

In article <6XB* XXXX@XXXXX.COM >, Theo

Not directly RO, I know, but do you know if these dongles
are all totally locked to one network, or is there any way
in which one can get them to work with a different SIM?

Russell Hafter Holidays E-mail to enquiries at our domain
Need a hotel? < ;

USB Mobile Phone Broadband

Post by Peter Naul » Tue, 02 Jun 2009 23:54:20

I'm not aware of any device that requires firmware downloads, anywhere.
However, if we're talking about "4G" (i.e. WiMax which is an entirely
different technology), then the story is likely different). Sometimes,
however, the Windows dialer software will let you update the firmware.

The CDMA devices are by and large identical to the GSM; in same cases
very similar or software identical devices are made by the same
manufacturer, just branded to the telco. The main difference is the
number to dial is different, and with GSM, you need to specify username,
password and APN. With CDMA, there's no APN, and in general, you won't
need username and password for CDMA devices.

All very much possible on RISC OS, if you were to restrict yourself to
some of the widely used devices.

> Not directly RO, I know, but do you know if these dongles
> are all totally locked to one network, or is there any way
> in which one can get them to work with a different SIM?

AT&T devices in the US have a physically removable SIM, but
I don't think that's very common otherwise. All modems have a
proprietary command set that you can do odd things with
(presumably including unlocking), but this isn't generally
available information.

USB Mobile Phone Broadband

Post by Alan Adam » Wed, 03 Jun 2009 00:22:05

In message <h00q2u$e1j$ XXXX@XXXXX.COM >


The E160 supplied by 3 in the UK takes a SIM, which is supplied in the

There were dire warnings aboput not using any other SIM in case it was
damaged, presumably as a deterrent against using your mobile phone SIM
to get a different/cheaper connection. Would it really be damaged?

I might try the reverse - I've got an old Orange Nokia I could try the
Three SIM in. Unless I can find out how to turn the credit in my
account into the 10UKP per 1GB per month allowance, I won't be using
the dongle again. 10UKP per 1MB is ridiculous (even worse than using
my Orange phone as a modem).

Alan Adams, from Northamptonshire

USB Mobile Phone Broadband

Post by Rob Kendri » Wed, 03 Jun 2009 01:48:58

On Mon, 01 Jun 2009 07:54:20 -0700

Well, you can be assured if their existence now. (For there is such a
beast in my laptop.)