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How to: Using a CDMA modem to connect to the internet in Ubuntu


This article is part of a series of guest posts by Garikai Dzoma on helping new users migrate successfully to the Ubuntu operating system. Garikai started using Ubuntu Linux in 2007 and is an active member of the Zimbabwe Ubuntu LoCo team.

Two weeks ago, I posted an article on how to connect to the internet using mobile broadband (the dongles) in this Ubuntu How-to series of articles. The article solicited some great comments from readers with some comments providing alternative methods.

The image below is a solution from one such comment by @Libho. You can find it here: I have not tested this method yet so if it works please provide us with some feedback. This would indeed be the simplest solution as yet.


Now to my own solution
I am pleased to announce that I successfully connected using the Africom CDMA modem and if it is of any comfort I must say that setting up the connection was trivial.

I used two methods which both worked viz: Network manager and the “pon” command. Both methods are outlined below. Also note these two methods work on maiden installations i.e. there is no need to install extra software.

Using the Network Manager

  1. Plug in your modem before booting up the computer
  2. Boot up your Ubuntu and login in to your desktop
  3. Click on the Network Manager icon which is on the top right hand corner of your desktop left of the me menu.
  4. Select and click on the Edit Connections menu
  5. Select the Mobile Broadband tab.
  6. Click on new
  7. Select the my country is not listed option and click next. Zimbabwe is not listed here.
  8. Type the name Africom in the connection name box and click next
  9. Enter your in the username box
  10. Enter your password in the password box and click ok
  11. To connect click on the Network Manager icon and click on Africom you will be notified if the connection was successful.

Using the ‘pon’ command

If you have beard as big as Richard Stallman’s and are not intimidated by the command line you can use this method. Also, as you have noted from above the Network Manger method is only guaranteed to work if the modem is plugged in before booting. With this method the modem can be plugged in at anytime you want.

  1. Plug in the modem.
  2. Open the terminal and type: sudo bash
  3. Enter your password and press enter
  4. Type the command pppconfig and press enter.
  5. In the pppconfig utility select the create new connection option using arrow keys and press enter.
  6. Delete the default connection name (the text saying provider) and type africom all in lower case. Changing the name is not really necessary but it will make your life easier.
  7. Using arrow keys select use DNS and press the space bar to confirm option
  8. Select ‘PAP Peer Authentication Protocol‘, hit Ok.
  9. Enter your and password pressing enter after each input.
  10. Change the modem speed to 9600 (this should be safe since this is a ZTE modem)
  11. Select tone dialing and press enter.
  12. Enter the phone number to dial as: #777 i.e. hash triple seven. Please include the hash this is not cosmetic at all
  13. Select enter modem manually (you can also choose automatically detect it bit this will not work and you will be presented with the option to enter it manually)
  14. Type /dev/ttyUSB0 as the location of the modem
  15. Choose “Finished write files and return to main menu
  16. Choose “Quit exit this utility” in each case in step 15 and 16 press enter to effect choice.
  17. When back in terminal type the command: echo ‘replacedefaultroute’>>/etc/ppp/peers/africom
  18. Instead of the above command type: sudo route add default ppp0 everytime you connect.
  19. To connect type the command: sudo pon africom
  20. The connection process can be viewed by typing the command: sudo plog. (At step 19 however you can see your modem’s activity light blinking)
  21. To connect as an ordinary user just type the following commands: sudo adduser Username dip and sudo adduser Username dialout replacing Username with your username. After this you can connect by simply typing in the comman: pon africom.

Please note:
– for step 21 to work you need to have used the method in step 17.
– I am working on wvdial and will bring you the guide shortly
– I do not know whether this will work on the PowerTel modem since I have not been availed with the opportunity to test it yet.

Happy surfing

Quick NetOne, Econet, And Telecel Airtime Recharge

2 thoughts on “How to: Using a CDMA modem to connect to the internet in Ubuntu

    1. Yes t work very fine .. tried it on my laptop and its wat im using ..thanks a lot guys

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