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Linux Setup Guide - CDMA Devices

Note: This document is provided for information purpose only. Novatel Wireless cannot accept any responsibility for the use of information provided in this document.

The information contained in this document is subject to change without notice and should not be construed as a commitment by Novatel Wireless Inc. unless such commitment is expressly given in a covering document.

This document guides Linux users to be able to use Novatel Wireless cards on any graphical Linux distribution. The setup instructions in this document has been tested with Ubuntu Linux 8.04. For setup on other Linux distributions, you should still be able to follow the instructions after you download and install the necessary software packages outlined below.

Please contact Novatel Wireless technical support only if you are experiencing problems with the modem card itself.


This document describes

  1. how to set up your equipment and
  2. configure dialer to connect to the Internet

using a Novatel Wireless Modem on the Linux platform using open source software packages.


Before you can connect to the wireless network service provider with a Novatel Wireless modem, you will need the following:

  • Novatel Wireless modem that has been activated (on a Windows machine). The modem should be associated with an account on a service provider.
  • Linux OS based on kernel 2.6.13 or later for best results with minimal effort (examples Ubuntu 6.06 or later, openSuSE 10.0 or later). Basic functionality is available on all kernels from 2.4 onward with minimal effort. See the installation guide for details
  • KPPP or other Modem Configuration and Dialing software application.Virtually all linux distributions come with such an application preloaded, but there is a lot of variation in ease of use and even functionality. If you don't like your default dialer app, it is ususally very easy to install others.

Known Limitations

Most dialer software does not support display of network information (signal strengths, network service type, and connectivity status).

  • Card updates features are not available. This can be done on a Windows machine at least for the first use of the card.

Setting Up Your Equipment

Your computer must have drivers to recognize and use the device.

Choose automatic system configuration package for:

distributions use the dpkg software manager

Ubuntu and derivatives
- EduBuntu
- Kubuntu
- Ubuntu Chritian Edition

(note - Exceptions)





distributions use the rpm software manager

Red Hat
- Fedora
- Enterprise Linux

- openSuSE (used by Novell)
- Enterprise Server
- Enterprise Desktop
- Enterprise RealTime

- previously Mandrake







Coyote Linux



PS2 Linux


Other linux systems do not use the dpkg or rpm software management system (or use either). Most of those are for advanced users. Some will able to use either dpkg or rpm (may need to install first), for others a manual installation will be required, using either of the packages as a guideline.

Manual Compile Guidelines.

NoteThe automatic system packages do NOT require source code changes since it uses the existing drivers. The best driver will be configured for kernels 2.4.x and 2.6.x using devfs or udev. For 2.4.x kernels there is a performance penalty (~500Kbps througput due to "usbserial" module).

Driver Configuration Package Readme

Configure Dialer

The pppd daemon controls the connection to the network in Linux. You may configure the daemon directly and control the connection through command-line commands. However, many front-ends exist to make the configuration and use of the pppd easier.Virtually all of these front-ends are generic (support wiri, wired, modem, DSL,...) From the list below, only umtsmon is specific to UMTS wireless modems.

  • kppp: KDE-based GUI front-end for pppd
  • gnome-ppp: GNOME-based GUI front-end for wvdial
  • gkdial: GNOME-based GUI front-end for pppd
  • GNUstep-based GUI front-end for pppd
  • wvdial: Smart front-end for ppd, but still command-line
  • umtsmon: standalone wireless modem dashboard

Basic Dialer Setup

  1. Create a Profile/Account
    1. Name
    2. Phone number: *777
    3. Authentication:
  2. Configure Modem
    1. Modem device: /dev/ttyUSB0
    2. Flow Control: Hardware
    3. Line termination: CR

    1. Connect - From dialer application
      1. Using Profile setup above
      2. Using Modem setup above
      3. If applicable - using username and password
    2. Disconnect - From dialer application

    Detailed example: KPPP Dialer on Ubuntu.


    The network indication available is by the LED on the wireless card.



    Other Troubleshooting Information