Huawei E1550 on Ubuntu

Update: I’ve rewritten this article for 10.04.1, please post comments there and not here!

Update: You no longer need to install udev-extras in Ubuntu 10.04.

I picked up a Huawei E1550 pre-pay mobile broadband dongle, £39.99 with 3 Mobile including 3Gb usage (note it’s not the device they’re picturing).

I’m on a course next month so that’ll do fine, I have no reception at home and am not away enough to warrant a contract.

It appears to identify itself as USB storage, to install drivers on Windows then flip-flops to a modem.  Nice idea, terrible implementation, even in Windows where it installs drivers every time you use a different USB port (it’s often wise to try such devices in Windows – so you don’t chase your tail with a faulty device).  Pretty sure it’s the autorun program that’s flipping the device.

Anyway for 8.10 you need udev-extras, you don’t need this for 10.04 onwards:
sudo apt-get install udev-extras

Add a udev rule:
gksu gedit /etc/udev/rules.d/15-huawei-e1550.rules

What we’re doing is telling udev that when this device is plugged in to switch its mode.  Paste this and save:
RUN+="/lib/udev/modem-modeswitch --vendor 0x12d1 --product 0x1446 --type option-zerocd"

On next insertion, Network Manager’s mobile broadband configuration assistant will run – select “3 (handsets)”.

Also, the booklet that came with mine was fairly unhelpful but flashing green lights are powered, flashing blue show available networks and solid blue is connected to a network.

The differences with both Fedora and Arch are on my wiki pages.

Please don’t ask if it works in Linpus Linux Lite because I haven’t had that installed in ages.  I suspect the Fedora guide will point the way but I know Acer have their own mobile broadband software for Huawei devices.  Whether that extends to this model I couldn’t say.

49 Replies to “Huawei E1550 on Ubuntu”

  1. Hi,
    I am using Ubuntu 8.04 and I tried to follow you instructions but when I pluged in the E1550 modem it only opened a window and showed the content inside the E1550 modem device.

    Do you know what is missing here.

    1. Yes, the device is being detected as a USB storage device – it sounds like you’ve missed a step but it might be a slightly different revision of the same model.

      If you open a terminal and run the modeswitch manually, does it flip over?

  2. Terminal does not recognize the modeswitch command.
    I checked in /lib/udev/ and noticed that I don’t have modem-modeswitch. How can I install it?

    When I run the following command sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install udev-extras I got this error on terminal
    W: Failed to fetch…86/Packages.gz 404 Not Found [IP: 80]

    Rest of the other were downloaded fine. BTW I am using Ubuntu 8.04

  3. When I only run to install udv-extras then it fails

    khurum@Khurum-ThinkPad:~$ sudo apt-get install udev-extras
    Reading package lists… Done
    Building dependency tree
    Reading state information… Done
    E: Couldn’t find package udev-extras

    I think that is why I dont have modem-modeswitch in /lib/udev/ floder.
    Any idea how can i get it.

  4. Truly Excellent!
    Many thanks for this clear and consise howto.
    I got it working on a Samsung NC10 netbook and an LG Z1 Pro Express Dual laptop, both running Ubuntu 9.04, by following your clear instructions.
    As I arrived back in the UK for my annual 5 weeks expatriate holiday in early September 2009 from the UAE this howto was very timely.
    Thanks again.


  5. download ubuntu 9.04 o karmic koala(9.10), this dristros of ubuntu work perfectly qith the 3g huawei modems, also ubuntu configure the modems automatic.


  6. Hi, I tried to install my Huawei E1550 3G/HDSPA modem using thius tutorial. After all, Network Mnagaer does recognize my device, but I cannot make it connect to the 3G network (DiGi.MOBIL – Romania). On Windows XP it’s working quite well. Do I have to make some additional settings? On XP I had to enter the APN phone number, which is *99# for Digi Mobil, and that was all, there is no Billing Plan associated as this is a service with no data-traffic limit.

    I’m running Karmic Koala, and also couldn’t install udev-extras, I think it’s not available anymore. I’m also using PPPoE connection (from the same provider), which had to be configured with “pppeconf” due to a bug in Network Manager, which hasn’t been solved yet.

    It appears a notification any time I try to connect, saying that “GSM network – Disconnected”

    Please help someone!! 😀

      1. Well, this provider isn’t included in the list. They are still working on it, so it’s quite new. It’s been able in my country for a few months only. I can find only Orange and Vodafone for Romania, there is no other prov. I’ll try setting it up in Kubuntu or Xubuntu. I’m really curious to see if it’s working or not.

        There is a Windows driver included on the stick, which installs “Mobile Partner”. There I had to set up a profile for this connection, and every time I try to connect, i’ll have to enable it. These are the settings from the Windows utility:
        – IP Settings: Dynamic
        – Authentication Protocol Settings: CHAP (this one is selected, the other one would be PAP, but I didn’t change this, so CHAP would be the default one)
        – DNS Settings: Dynamic
        – WINS Settings: Dynamic (i don’t know what this one is??)
        – APN: Dynamic
        – Authentication:
        -Access Number: *99#
        -username: blank
        -password: blank

        I’d really appreciate if someone could help me set up this connection. In network manager there are very few settings compared to “Mobile Partner”.

        I don’t know, but maybe it has to do something with the fact, that Ubuntu Karmic mounts the stick as a removable drive. I also overrode those settings mentioned in the tutorial, namely to prevent Ubuntu mounting it when connected, and it doesn’t appear anymore.

  7. Thank you. I have just tried this on Lucid Lynx and your fix worked a treat. However it is worth noting that I did not need to install the udev-extras as it seems the functionality required is now provided under the udev package which was installed by default. Thanks.

  8. Thanks that worked a treat on Lucid Lynx. However there was no need to install udev-extras as this is no longer available, instead udev is provided out of the box and is all that is needed to implement your fix.

  9. Hello, I tried this and it worked on my Ubuntu 10.04 and Huawei E1552. Does this settings really compatible with E1552? I wonder because when I see the product id of E1553, it is 1001 and not 1446.

    1. Ubuntu 10.04 has better support out the box, if the vendor strings are different then I imagine E1552 is compatible.

      I have been completely out of the loop with 10.04 and probably with 10.10 too so there is also the possibility that there have been changes I don’t know about.

  10. I’m using 10.04 and your instruction helped me. thanks for that. However, my sony vault no longer mount. I have to remove the rule file before I can use it again.

    so basically it’s either the e1550 or my usb stick. is there anyway to use both of them simultaneously? or at least something that will not require me to remove/rename the file?

    thanks a ton!

    1. Suki, I’ve got same poblem on my Sony VGN. My USB can’t mount no more after the usb modem patch…
      Seen some people with same problem, but still found no solution.
      I’ll be gald if I only had one method to flip the usb modem manually from terminal, so I don’t have to restart each time after editng the file…

  11. hay all thanks for that tutorials
    i install Huawei Mobile broadband E1550 to Ubunut 32 bit 10.01 i just add Add a udev rule:
    gksu gedit /etc/udev/rules.d/15-huawei-e1550.rules

    What we’re doing is telling udev that when this device is plugged in to switch its mode. Paste this and save:
    RUN+=”/lib/udev/modem-modeswitch –vendor 0x12d1 –product 0x1446 –type option-zerocd”
    and restart the computer it works
    well thank you

  12. Your Howto helped me a lot on Ubuntu 10.4 – now the device works flawlessly! Thanks fou sharing your wisdon! 🙂

  13. Thanks a lot. This worked fine for me.
    I’m using Compaq 610 laptop, Ubuntu 10.04, HUAWEI E1550 modem.

    Thanks again.

  14. hi there i have recently changed from vista to linux i have been using huawei e1150 on 3 network but now i’ve changed over to linux i can’t get it to work. im not really a computer minded person so it’s all really confusing for me. any help would be greatly appreciated.

  15. Thank you so much. Finally my modem is working. The difference in your method is using gksudo instead of sudo.

  16. Thanks for the tutorial. However, I encounter a problem in connecting with the mobile broadband when laptop is restarted.

    1. Does it work before restart? You might need to specifically tell the power management system to restart that network module – is it suspend, reboot, hibernated?

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