Sierra Wireless

Question:

Can I use my Sierra Wireless modem on a Linux operating system (v.1.7.40)?
Answer:

Yes, but these instructions are not supported and are provided to the Linux user community as a courtesy. These instructions and associated drivers, scripts, and executable files are provided by Sierra Wireless "AS IS" without warranty of any kind.

The drivers provided in the Download section below are freeware; you can redistribute them and/or modify them under the terms of the
GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation.

This guide is for Linux users who would like to install and use a Sierra Wireless device on a recent kernel (2.6.21 or newer). If you are interested in kernel version 2.4.x click here


Features such as the proprietary control and status protocol (CNS), text messaging (SMS), and advanced power management are not covered in these instructions.

*Note: Sierra Wireless submits driver updates and patches to the public Linux distribution found at www.kernel.org.

**Note: Ubuntu 9.10 distribution is not supported with Sierra Wireless modems. Ubuntu 9.04 distribution is still supported with all Sierra Wireless modems listed in this KB article.


Article Table of Contents

1. Supported Modems
2. Driver Downloads
3. Driver Installation

3.1. Preparation
3.2. Sierra Driver Installation Instructions

4. Connecting to the Network

4.1. Connecting using Network Manager
4.2. Connecting using KPPP
4.3. Connecting using PPPD

5. CDMA AT Commands
6. GSM/UMTS AT Commands


1. Supported Modems

Modem Type

CDMA

GSM/UMTS

Mini Cards

MC5720, Dell WWAN-MC5720 VZW, MC5725, MC5727, MC5728V, Q26 Elite, SL501X

MC8755, MC8765, MC8775, MC878x, MC879x, MC870x, SL6087, SL808x, SL80XX

Other

EM5625

***Note: If your modem is not listed, please refer to KB article below: Can I use a Sierra Wireless Modem on Linux Machines (direct IP modems) ?


2. Driver Downloads

Note: If you don't want to install the latest drivers below, you can still use your Sierra Wireless modem with Linux. Starting from kernel ver. 2.6.25 most of Linux distributions include the Sierra Linux drivers and are equipped with the Network Manager application.
Simply insert your modem and follow the prompts on your screen. Please refer to the KB article below for more details.
How can I use Network Manager Application on Linux OS ?

Kernel version

Driver Version

2.6.20

v.1.7.40

2.6.21

v.1.7.40

2.6.22

v.1.7.40

2.6.23

v.1.7.40

2.6.24

v.1.7.40

2.6.25

v.1.7.40

2.6.26

v.1.7.40

2.6.27

v.1.7.40

2.6.28

v.1.7.40

2.6.29

v.1.7.40

2.6.30

v.1.7.40

2.6.31

v.1.7.40

2.6.32

v.1.7.40

2.6.33

v.1.7.40

2.6.34

v.1.7.40

2.6.35

v.1.7.40

2.6.36

v.1.7.40

2.6.38

v.1.7.40

3.0.x

v.1.7.40


The pppd dialing scripts may be downloaded here.

 

3. Driver Installation

3.1. Preparation

IMPORTANT! If you have a CDMA modem and it has not been activated, you must activate it first on a Windows system with the supplied software. Some service providers pre-activate their devices, but Sierra Wireless recommends that you first try the device on a Windows machine.

Check whether or not your system already has the Sierra Wireless driver by typing the following command.
# modinfo sierra

If the result is "Could not find module sierra" then the driver is not installed.

If a driver is installed, check whether the version of the installed driver is older or newer than the one posted above. If there is no version, it is older.

Prior to installing the driver, the kernel source code must be downloaded into /usr/src/linux. Depending on your Linux distribution, the location of the kernel source code varies. However, the distribution package manager (e.g. yum, yast, or apt) can help you find it (try searching in the manager for "kernel source").

 

3.2. Sierra Driver Installation Instructions


1. Navigate to the directory that contains the sierra drivers and extract the files by typing the following commands:

 # tar -xvf v.x.y.z_kernel2.6.y.tar ( e.g. tar -xvf v.1.7.x_kernel2.6.28.tar )

# cd kernel-2.6.y   
 

2.  Compile and install the new driver by using the following command:


# make
# sudo make install

(Enter the password you use to log into your Linux account if prompted)

The driver is now installed.

 

4. Connecting to the Network

We will cover 3 methods of connecting to the network:

  • Network Manager
  • KPPP - a front end GUI that configures pppd
  • Manual setup of pppd

 

4.1. Connecting using Network Manager

The Network Manager application has been included with Ubuntu 8.10, 9.04, 9.10, 10.4, Fedora 11 and many other distros. This is the native Linux support for Network interfaces. For more details please refer to the KB article below:

How can I use Network Manager Application on Linux OS?

 

4.2. Connecting using KPPP

KPPP must first be installed. If it is not installed, try using your package manager to install it (e.g. yum, apt, or yast).

1. Switch to root and execute KPPP by typing the following commands:
$ su
# kppp &

2. Configure the account by doing the following:

a. Click on Configure or Setup.

b. Select the Accounts tab and click New.

c. Click Manual Setup.

d. Type WWAN in the Connection name field.

e. Complete the phone number field:

i. for GSM/UMTS devices: *99#

ii. for CDMA devices: #777

f. Select PAP/CHAP for authentication.

g. Click OK.

3. Configure the modem by doing the following:

a. Click Configure to switch to the Configuration window.

b. Select the Modems tab and click New.

c. Type in the modem name in Modem name.

d. Select /dev/ttyUSBx as the device, where x is the Data Port number for your Serra Wireless modem in the table under  "GSM/UMTS AT Commands" chapter. E.g. For Mercury-Compass 885 modem  the Data Port is /dev/ttyUSB4

e. Verify that flow control is set to Hardware.

f. Do the following if you are using a GSM/UMTS Device:

i. Click the Modem tab and then the Modem Commands… button.

ii. Type at+cgdcont=1,"IP","APN" in the 'Initialization String 1' field where APN is Access Point Name of your service provider (e.g. isp.cingular if your service provider is AT&T. If you do not know the APN, contact your service provider.)

g. Save the changes and exit the Configuration window.

4. Enter your user name and password (Contact your service provider if you do not know what these are).

5. Click Connect.

 

4.3. Connecting using PPPD

To connect using the manual pppd method you will need to download the pppd scripts here.

1. Navigate to the directory that contains pppd-scripts.tar.gz and extract it to the default location by typing the following commands:
$ cd "directory"
$ tar -zxf pppd-scripts.tar.gz

2. Switch to root and copy the files to the ppp/peers directory by typing the following commands:
# su
# cp -r ./ppp /etc/
# cd /etc/ppp
# chmod a+x ip-up.local ip-down.local

3. If using a GSM/UMTS device follow these steps to set the authentication settings; otherwise, skip this step:

a. # cd /etc/ppp/peers

b. # vi ./gsm_chat (You may use other editing programs such as emacs or gedit to edit the script)

c. Go to the APN section and replace the listed APN with that of your service provider (e.g. If your service provider is AT&T, you would type in isp.cingular).

d. There are a few sample APN lines listed in the script that can be tried.

e. Save and exit.

4. Test the connection by typing the following command (you may need to use the root account to run pppd):

a. For CDMA devices:
# pppd call cdma

b. For GSM/UMTS devices:
# pppd call gsm


 

5. If the connection test is not successful; further authentication may be required.

a. # vi ./gsm (You can use other editing programs such as emacs or gedit)

b. Put a '#' next to the "noauth" line (this disables the line).

c. Remove the '#' next to the user and password lines.

d. Type in the appropriate user name and password. (Contact your service provider if you do not know what these are.)

e. Some pppd version may not correctly set up the dynamic DNS configuration. It may be necessary to copy or link /etc/ppp/resolv.conf to /etc/resolv.conf.

 

5. CDMA AT Commands

AT commands should be issued to endpoint 2 (/dev/ttyUSB0), assuming there are no other serial devices plugged into to your computer’s USB connectors ) on CDMA devices and cannot be used during a connection (the Heatherington escape method is not supported).
** Use the wvdialconf and dmesg commands to determine the ports that your computer is using.

Enter the following AT command in any terminal application (e.g. Minicom) to obtain the signal quality (RSSI):
at!rssi?or at!status?

A range from -60 dbm to -90 dBm is considered adequate.

Enter the following AT command to see whether your modem is online:
at!pcinfo

Enter the following AT command to turn the radio on (if the modem is in low power mode (LPM) the radio is off):
at!pcstate=1

For modems, the power LED on the card will light up.


6. GSM/UMTS AT Commands

The following table shows the different ports supported by product type (assuming there are no other serial devices plugged into to your computer’s USB connectors) :


GSM Type

AT command port

Data port

MC8755/ MC8765/ MC8775

/dev/ttyUSB0

/dev/ttyUSB2

MC8775V / MC878XV

/dev/ttyUSB2

/dev/ttyUSB0

MC8785 / MC879X

/dev/ttyUSB3

/dev/ttyUSB4


 AT commands can be used while a data connection is established.

** Note: Please use the wvdialconf and dmesg commands to determine and verify the Data and AT command ports assigned to your Sierra Wireless modem. The ports may have changed depending on the Kernel version and Firmware versions on the modem. If you connected to the AT command port,the AT commandati5 returns the modem information. If you connected to the Data port, the AT command ati5 returns OK only.

Enter the following AT command in any terminal application (e.g. Minicom) to obtain the signal quality (RSSI):
at+csq

The first number indicates the signal strength above -109 dBm (in 2 dBm increments). A value of 7 or higher (-95 dBm) can be considered adequate.

Enter the following AT command to see whether your modem is online:
at!gstatus?

Enter the following AT command to turn your radio on (if the modem is in low power mode (LPM) the radio is off):
at+cfun=1

The power LED on the card will light up.


Related Answers
Answer ID:
A000005-030311
Product Brand: AirPrime™ Intelligent Embedded
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