uwe_lueck > texmap > aaoe1550 — reload — 

Running the Huawei E1550 Dongle on an Acer Aspire One with Linpus Linux

Seit Sommer 2011 verwende ich Ubuntu statt Linpus Linux. Problem und Lösung werden auf Deutsch in wiki.ubuntuusers.de/USB_ModeSwitch (nicht nur für Ubuntu) beschrieben.

Warning: The author of USB_ModeSwitch has suggested to remove this page (which originally was written 2010-09-28), because it does not make use of progress that the program has made. However, I like “minimalist” approaches, using the program in its most basic way, and preparing my netbook for the single dongle I am using, not for all of them.
– U.L., 2012-09-07

sum | Linux | Linux-var | for E1550
  Linpus limits | Huawei dialer | open | sum install
  sources listed (acks) | contact | no warranty | remark ]

[→| ↑ ]


The essential general issue here is running a UMTS USB stick under Linux (kernel 2.6.x). Such a “stick” is a UMTS modem looking like a USB stick, also called “dongle” (controlling access to a provider’s network) or, in Germany, “Surfstick” (see sections on Linux etc.).

What is more special here is using the Linux software that Acer provides for their Aspire One A110 notebook and Huawei connection devices, in particular for running the E1550 HSDPA Stick (German label) for mobile broadband (“3G”; see sections on Linpus etc.).

The next sections may be somewhat “narrative,” sometimes my own adventure story; a soberer summary will follow them.

[→| ↑ ]

Dongle under Linux (kernel 2.6) in General

When you plug in a rather recent USB dongle under Linux kernel 2.6.x, it is recognized as a storage device at first (by default). A special Linux program USB_ModeSwitch (that typically needs to be installed or updated at your call) together with an extra “rule” for the udev device manager renders it working as a modem. After this, you can connect using some dial-in software such as WvDial (command line) or UMTSmon (GUI).

USB_ModeSwitch needs some data about connection devices. They may be placed in the configuration file


udev rules are plain text files in the directory


with a file name extension .rules. The file name typically starts with a two-digit number that seems to determine the order of applying the rules. (See David Drake’s manual on writing udev rules. They refer to vendor and product codes that you may obtain from www.linux-usb.org. 1446 missing!?)

This is not quite easy for Linux newbies. Changes must be made by the root user (sudo or su, for synonym ‘superuser’), for installing packages as well as for creating/modifying text files in /etc/ and /etc/udev/rules.d/.

For the text files, you learn here what command line text editors such as Vim, Pico, or Emacs (called from the “terminal” or text shell) are good for. The Lynx Wiki, e.g., recommends

vi /etc/udev/rules.d/15-huawei-e1550.rules 

Alternatively, you can compose/edit the files with a “usual” (more graphical) text editor in /mnt/home/ or a subdirectory thereof as a “usual user” and then copy them to the /etc/ subdirectories and change their rights (chmod) as “root” in the terminal. (More clearly: copy files owned by “root” and render them writeable for other users temporarily.)

A detailed step-by-step guide (what you type and what you see) being somewhat general (“generic”) as it is (was?) intended in the present section can be found for Slackware 13 here. It does deal with Huawei E1550, to be sure, but somewhat explains how to generalize the procedure to other devices.

The USB_ModeSwitch homepage provides a step-by-step guide “general” in this respect indeed, and it may be more clear in technical respect as is the present page. However, it leaves the user a little alone regarding some details. Also, on my machine things don’t work exactly as described there (same holds for all other guides I found).

Sakis3G is a procedure (a script also using USB_ModeSwitch) intended to provide a “really” simple installation of the dongle. For another Acer Aspire One and Huawei E1550 indeed, you find a success story for Sakis3G in this user forum. (I preferred a minimalistic approach instead.)

I seem to have understood too late (and perhaps still not properly) that the 2.6 Linux kernel currently does support many dongles, and USB_ModeSwitch only is needed for a few, very recent products.

[→| ↑ ]

Linux Variants

In the previous section, I have been trying to report what various guides recommend for certain settings have in common. This is not easy, however. Already use of USB_ModeSwitch doesn’t seem to be universal for Linux: According to the Lynx Wiki, with Ubuntu you install a package udev-extras and call a program modem-modeswitch for switching. Yet this has changed quite recently (September 2010) according to the Lynx Blog to the effect that now USB_ModeSwitch works with Ubuntu as well and thus is another option for running dongles under Ubuntu.

USB_ModeSwitch seems to migrate slowly into Linux distributionsDebian, Ubuntu, Fedora (“partially”); so you may be able to install it by calling your package manager. With Fedora, e.g. (after ‘$ su’, ‘#’ represents the “super/root user” prompt):

# yum install usb_modeswitch 

If your package manager is unable to install the package, you can at least download it from the USB_ModeSwitch homepage and after unpacking and moving into the new directory run—as su—the command line
# make install 

(But don’t follow me blindly, read there!)

As to newbies again, the extension of the downloaded usb-modeswitch-1.1.4.tar.bz2 (note that the underscore is replaced by a ‘-’) was not familiar to me, I had to learn (from the German www.linux-fuer-alle.de; cf. Wikipedia tar and bzip2, or the List of archive formats)

# tar xfvj usb-modeswitch-1.1.4.tar.bz2 

Another Linux variant is discussed below …

[→| ↑ ]

Mode-Switch Settings for Huawei E1550

For instructing udev and USB_ModeSwitch, the vendor code for Huawei is 12d1, the product code for E1150 is 1446.

I am using the following udev rule in the file /etc/udev/rules.d/15-huawei-e1550.rules.

SUBSYSTEM==“usb”, SYSFS{idProduct}==“1446”, SYSFS{idVendor}==“12d1”, 
RUN+=“/usr/sbin/usb_modeswitch -c /etc/usb_modeswitch.conf” 
# UL 2010/09/05 

The RUN content differs from anything I found elsewhere, it’s mainly inspired by the message from usb_modeswitch --help. The date 2010/09/05 of creating the file may be essential to explain this: perhaps the command line syntax of usb_modeswitch is changing rapidly!? Actually the USB_ModeSwitch version used here is 1.1.4, dating from 2010/08/17.

My /etc/usb_modeswitch.conf contains

DefaultVendor = 0x12d1 
DefaultProduct = 0x1446 
MessageEndPoint = “0x01” 
MessageContent = “55534243000000000000000000000011060000000000000000000000000000” 

This at last is what I found in the guides from Lynx Wiki, wiki.archlinux.de (German), and Slackware. The last one adds the interesting lines

that, however, I don’t understand, and I couldn’t note a difference in behavior when I tried it.

It is not sane to type the MessageContent line above, you should paste it, as the Lynx Wiki says. I still need to find out how this is done with Vim.

[→| ↑ ]

Linpus Limitations

My Acer Aspire One A110L was delivered equipped with Linpus Linux Lite v1.0.6.E. based on Fedora 8 (Werewolf)—same content of files fedora-release, redhat-release, system-release in /etc/. This release has Yum as the primary package manager, to be called by yum from the terminal. Yum has a graphical front-end Pirut (from Fedora Core 5 to Fedora 8, according to previous Wikipedia article).

Continuing the Linux story above: The package usb_modeswitch is not available on my machine with Pirut or Yum, cf. Fedora package database (not quite sure what this means, an RPM search like this one indicates that there are packages for Fedora 11 and upwards, may be in development stage). So I downloaded the package manually from its homepage and tried the advertised “manual” make install—I learn that make is not available on my AAO. I try the GNU C compiler (gcc) directly—neither installed.

However, gcc and make are available as Fedora 8 packages with Pirut/Yum (of course). make install though didn’t work immediately; as indicated at the USB_ModeSwitch homepage, I also had to install libusb-devel—well available with Pirut again … and then it worked, great!

While I am an amateur, just reporting my discoveries with a single combination of products (netbook, dongle, software), this professional/German blog discusses alternative solutions and as well may add something to my suggestions of the present page—search for heading ‘Linpux Lite (Acer Aspire One)’. In particular, Vodafone’s Betavine datacard software for Linux is recommended there (in case software offered by Acer doesn’t work at your AAO).

[→| ↑ ]

Huawei Dialer ‘Mobile Partner’

I find files on my AAO having MobilePartner in their names, some dating from 2009/02/02, some from 2008/10/18, both much after I purchased the machine (apparently live-updates I didn’t notice in detail; however I remember some heavy load from one update including DataCard software; cf. huawei081126.sh under ‘Applications’ on Acer’s support site).

Moreover, in the ‘Connect’ Menu (German “Verbinden”), i.e., when I click on the triangle in the blue, upper left field of that Linpus desktop, a green icon (other icons are in shades of blue) labeled ‘Mobile Partner’ appears (it hadn’t been there when I watched that menu the first times). Click it, and a well-designed GUI slowly (first with some as well well-designed ‘Initializing …’ message windows) pops up. ‘Help’ (“Hilfe”) → ‘Info Mobile Partner’ shows

Mobile Partner
C 2004-2008 HUAWEI Technologies Co., Ltd.
Fine! It includes phone calling, maintaining phone numbers, text messages, settings for PINs, statistics, diagnostics. By menu ‘Extras’ → “Options” you can set up a profile. I bought my E1550 and SIM card from BASE (E-Plus). I learnt the set-up from this UMPX forum (FunGo77’s entry from ‘6. Februar 2009’) and created a profile ‘BASE’:
APN: statisch [static]
APN: internet.eplus.de [not very international]
Zugriffsnummer [access number]: *99#
Benutzer [user]: eplus
Passwort [password]: umts
Authentifizierungsprotokoll [authentication protocol]: PAP
Now each time I want to connect to the web, I plug the dongle in, I click on the green ‘Mobile Partner’ icon, a window with ‘BASE’ on the left and ‘Verbinden’ (“connect”) appears, I click on the latter, another notification window appears, with a button for “Abbrechen” (“quit”), first its text is gray, when it turns black, I can surf. (The larger window stays “locked”, cannot be accessed for getting, e.g., some info until the connection is cut by ‘Abbrechen’.)

By chance, I even found a usermanual_de.pdf in /usr/local/MobilePartner/usermanual/.

[→| ↑ ]

Open Questions

  1. USB_ModeSwitch install advice mostly irrelevant!? but how does the switch to that modem with product id 1001 work? what is the data base? where?
  2. Sometimes read of new item ‘Option’—never seen. Run 3G_option0025v2.sh from Acer support page—no difference noted. Should “Verbindungsmanager” (taskbar, settings) show new item?
  3. “activate 10-huawei-startMobilePartner.rules” for “AutoRun”!? Shell script huawei_autostart seems to assume a wrong directory structure.

[→| ↑ ]

Summary of Installation

The following is intended to be a summary of the earlier sections starting with Linux, a concise step-by-step guide for the Huawei E1550 with Linpus Linux Light on the Acer Aspire One (A110L).

However, I did many tries, not all worked. I am here “guessing” (doing my best!) what would have been the easiest way. Please be careful; in trying, save vital files; I CANNOT GUARANTEE for anything!

Examples of omitted steps:

Sorry, I do not want to uninstall everything in order to check whether my proposal below works (maybe I will later). Please tell me what happens on your installation, cf. below.

Also, this is what should have worked 2010/09/05, USB_ModeSwitch and recommendations on its homepage may have changed in the meantime! (However, the homepage was the same 2010/09/18.)

[→| ↑ ]

First Step: mode switching—summary of sections Linux through Linpus.
  1. Open Thunar and move to directory “Desktop” (/mnt/home/Desktop/).
    E.g., click an item in the green ‘Files’ (“Dateien”) menu of the main “desktop” that you see right after any booting, and then click the icon labeled ‘Desktop’.
    Why not /mnt/home/? Then always omit ‘/Desktop’ below.
  2. Open the Terminal (from the ‘File’ or ‘Datei’ menu, or by ‘Alt-F T’ or ‘Alt-D T’, depending on language).
  3. Enter (don’t enter ‘$’ and ‘#’, they represent prompts you should see):
    $ mkdir E1550; cd E1550 
    $ firefox http://www.draisberghof.de/usb_modeswitch/#download 
    —or just move to  http://www.draisberghof.de/usb_modeswitch/#download  in some browser some way.
  4. Click on  ‘usb-modeswitch-1.1.4.tar.bz2’  to download the file of the same name to your new directory  /mnt/home/Desktop/E1550/
  5. In the Terminal opened above, go on entering (don’t enter ‘password’, this line just shows the prompt for your root user password)
    $ tar xfvj usb-modeswitch-1.1.4.tar.bz2 
    $ cd usb-modeswitch-1.1.4 
    $ su 
    # yum install gcc 
    # yum install make 
    # yum install libusb-devel 
    # make install 
    # cd .. 
    # cp /etc/usb_modeswitch.conf ./ 
    # chmod u+w usb_modeswitch.conf 
  6. Go back to the above Thunar window and click on the directory icon labeled ‘E1550’ to move into that directory /mnt/home/Desktop/E1550/
  7. Click on the icon labeled ‘usb_modeswitch.conf’ to open that text file usb_modeswitch.conf  with mousepad (or just open it with some editor).
    I.e., we are editing the text file
    (Keep the Terminal open!)
  8. Paste the following lines
    DefaultVendor = 0x12d1 
    DefaultProduct = 0x1446 
    MessageEndPoint = “0x01” 
    MessageContent = “55534243000000000000000000000011060000000000000000000000000000” 
    to the end of that usb_modeswitch.conf, and save it.
  9. Create another new text file
    in the same directory (e.g., via Thunar’s “File” menu → D, or ‘Alt-F D’ or ‘Alt-D D’, or via mousepad’s ‘Open’, or even using vim in the Terminal) and open it.
  10. Paste
    SUBSYSTEM==“usb”, SYSFS{idProduct}==“1446”, SYSFS{idVendor}==“12d1”, 
    RUN+=“/usr/sbin/usb_modeswitch -c /etc/usb_modeswitch.conf” 
    into this 15-huawei-e1550.rules and save it.
  11. Go back to the Terminal (where you had entered chmod) and enter
    # cp usb_modeswitch.conf /etc/ 
    # cp 15-huawei-e1550.rules /etc/udev/rules.d/ 
Mode switching should work now, at least after restarting the AAO. Another two ‘chmod u-w’?
(You might # exit root mode, unless you want to watch what happens at # lsusb or something else …)

[→| ↑ ]

Next, you should set up a ‘Mobile Partner’ profile (summary of the “dialer” section above):
  1. Plug in the dongle,
  2. move to that “blue” menu,
  3. click at the green ‘Mobile Partner’ icon …
  4. Choose ‘Extras’→‘Options’,
  5. enter data according to section Huawei Software above, i.e.: APN: static/internet.eplus.de, access number *99#, user eplus, password umts, authentication protocol PAP.

[→| ↑ ]

The previous should finish any installation. Afterwards,
  1. plugging in the dongle,
  2. moving to the blue menu,
  3. clicking at the green icon there,
  4. perhaps entering the SIM-PIN provided by your provider, and
  5. finally clicking at ‘connect
should lead you into the web as described in that “dialer” section above.

[→| ↑ ]

List of All Sources (Acknowledgments)

Apart from English Wikipedia articles (well, see source HTML code of present page for these …), I profited from the following web pages:
  1. blog.lynxworks.eu/2009/08/huawei-e1550-on-ubuntu (Lynx Blog on E1550 with Ubuntu)
  2. wiki.lynxworks.eu/misc/e1550 (Lynx Wiki on E1550 under Ubuntu, Fedora, Arch Linux)
  3. gborn.blogger.de/stories/1245657/ (G. Born on UMTS with Linux netbooks, German)
  4. wiki.archlinux.de/title/Surfstick_einrichten/e1550 (German Arch Linux Wiki on E1550)
  5. www.aspireoneuser.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=20712&p=115819#p115819 (Aspire One user forum: “GOT MY HUAWEI E1550 WORKING on my Linpus AAO (model: ZG5) using the Sakis3G ’shell script’.”)
  6. www.draisberghof.de/usb_modeswitch/ (general advice about USB_ModeSwitch)
  7. www.linuxquestions.org/linux/answers/networking/huawei_e_1550_3g_broadband_dongle_three_uk_slackware_13_how (Linux questions: E1550 under Slackware 13)
  8. www.linux-fuer-alle.de/doc_show.php?docid=76 (German “Linux für alle” on archive formats)
  9. www.linux-usb.org (USB support for Linux)
  10. www.umpx.de/netbooks/acer-aspire-one/1755-huawei-e169-auf-dem-150l-linpus-lite/ (German; profile set-up with Huawei Mobile Partner for E169 and others with Linpus; valuable contributions by “GBorn,” “FunGo77,” “Frog,” “Polarbär”)

This is a list of homepages of (most relevant) software mentioned on the present page:

  1. Betavine: www.betavine.net/bvportal/resources/datacards
  2. Mobile Partner etc. for Aspire One A110: support.acer-euro.com/drivers/notebook/as_one_110.html
  3. Sakis3G: www.sakis3g.org
  4. UMTSmon: umtsmon.sourceforge.net
  5. USB_Modeswitch: www.draisberghof.de/usb_modeswitch/
  6. WvDial: alumnit.ca/wiki/index.php?page=WvDial

[→| ↑ ]

Contact Me

Please visit my contact form if you have suggestion or think I wrote something bad (even my English) here!

[→| ↑ ]


  1. I DENY ANY WARRANTY FOR MY SUGGESTIONS GIVEN HERE! (They may be really dangerous, don’t hesitate to ask before trying!)
—These remarks are intended to summarize G. Born’s German legal statements.

[→| ↑ ]

Personal Remark

Oh my dear, again I spent days with writing so much, I could have … However, I had spent about a week in internet shops to find a good way of installing the stick, I thought it would be good to create another web page telling what helped me “concisely” … Rather late, I also wondered if I better had written German (especially with BASE) … I needed to read many web pages before citing; reading forum entries typically needs much reading for very little usable content, and if I remember something useful, I often need a lot of time to find it again … and then I may find that it is not as relevant as I thought to remember … the length of the sum install section may indicate that the matter really isn’t simple ...

Last generated 2013-05-15 © Uwe Lück

[→ top of page ]