BSNL 3G on Ubuntu rocks

One more (much delayed) post on my experiments with Ubuntu. Earlier I had written on how easy was to setup BSNL EVDO device with my ubuntu laptop. And this time it is BSNL 3G connection on Ubuntu, and it as been delightfully easy to setup.

It's a UMTS third generation connectivity which offers much better bandwidth compared to GPRS or EDGE. BSNL (and may be MTNL too) is the first to implement this in India, and other service providers are catching up - we have just finished reading in the news papers on the 3G spectrum auction and stuff. The BSNL website provides on the tarrif and other details here, and the SIM card just costs Rs.59/-.

I bought a Huawei USB modem which was instantly regonized and setup by my Jaunty. This device supports sending and receving SMS, but not making voice calls using from the PC - which is okay for me since my primary intend is just to browse the internet. The configuration is done with very few clicks. Simply use the network management applet on the desktop panel..and enter the dial in number as *99# and APN as 'bsnlnet'.. and click  Apply button, that's it, done.

You can find the details of your modem by lsusb command on the shell, it should print the modem details, in this case Huawei - as in this output

$ lsusb
Bus 007 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 002 Device 004: ID 12d1:140c Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.
Bus 002 Device 002: ID 090c:3714 Feiya Technology Corp.

This internet connection is pretty fast and serves well for my practical purposes that includes everyday browsing (including youtube videos without any buffering delays), my office VPN and little bit of downloading. I can say, it gives almost 1Mbps.. but download speeds around 120-200 KB/s. Well, the wireless connections are known for their inconsistent speeds, and my observations could not be very accurate. Still my overall experience with this has been very good. I would suggest configuring KPP for dialing into the network, since it provides this nice 'Accounting' features and helps you to keep a tab on the usage. Another free tool umtsmon might also be a good option.

I occasionally use Wammu for sending and receiving sms, and for other SIM management stuff.. It 's cool and suits well for my needs. I used the "Phone Wizard" to configure the modem details (device to use :  /dev/ttyUSB0, make : huawei -  for example) and it is a just a self explanatory simple interface.

Okay, just wrapping up my quick notes here. Bye for now!


Bloom Box!

Saw this interesting report in today's Hindu - the bloom box. Thought of bookmarking it here. I 've not yet read about its principle of operation or any other details, but all that I could guess now is that it would be something like a fuel cell. And that can generate power for normal household needs, interesting!

Here is my plan!
Read this on weekend!
And watch this video.


BSNL EVDO on Ubuntu-9.04 made easy!

It is time to knock off all your skepticism about using GNU/Linux; it is equally (if not better) equipped to meet most of the general purpose computing requirements for an average user. Believe me, I have been using Ubuntu-9.04 on my laptop, and till now I have not come across a situation which forces me to have another OS, say MS Windows.

Here is one more reason to reinforce my belief.

Recently I had to connect to the internet while away from home. I was looking for a internet connection for temporary use, and soon landed onto a BSNL EVDO device borrowed from a friend.

The next question was how to get the EVDO USB device (ZTE make) work with my laptop running Ubuntu-9.04. Google search results took me towards lengthy articles detailing how to probe for our USB device, configure wvdial.conf etc. But NO! Time to be updated, all those steps are not required any more.

Here is how I configured the ZTE EV-DO device, that took not even a minute!

  1. Right click on the NetworkManager tray icon.
  2. Click "Edit Connections" on the menu and choose the "Mobile Broadband" tab.
  3. Select "Auto Mobile Broadband (CDMA) connection" & click "Edit"
  4. Type-in the details - Number : #777, Username and Password and click "Apply" button.
  5. Left click on the NetworkManager tray icon again and click "Auto Mobile Broadband (CDMA) connection".
  6. Yes, done! You will find the connection notification on the right corner soon. You could disconnect any time using the "Disconnect" from the menu when you left click on the NetworkManager tray icon.

Happy web browsing!

I found this EV-DO connection fast enough for normal requirements. On 2wire speed meter it showed ~100Kbps at BTM Layout, where as at Koramangala speed touched ~384 Kbps. The speed is not found to be consistent like a wired connection, and may not be suitable if you have specific bandwidth requirements.

Before doing the above steps you could check the /var/log/ to make sure that the ZTE device is detected by Ubuntu.
$sudo tail -f /var/log/messages


Saw these steps on this forum too.