Configuring Sprint tm Wireless USB Cards

This document describes how to set up and connect to the Internet (EVDO mobile broadband) using a Sprint tm Wireless Modem on the Linux platform using open source software packages.

Please note that this document is provided to guide current Linux users to be able to use Sprint Wireless Modems on any graphical Linux distribution, however, the setup instructions in this document has been tested with recently releases of Fedora / Redhat Linux only.

In addition, this document has only been tested using the U727 USB card and does not discuss how to install a card if the native operating system does not reconize it. For additional support, the Sprint Guide (in PDF format) can be downloaded from the sprint website or located by click on the attachments link at the bottom of this document.

What is EVDO ?

EVDO is short for Evolution Data Only or Evolution Data Optimized, and is a 3G mobile broadband technology used by Verizon tm, Sprint tm, Alltel tm, etc. to provide relatively high speeds (600-1400kbps) of download and decent (500-800kbps) upload speeds completely wirelessly. This allows users to "take the internet with them" where they can and surf the web in a moving car, on the train, or in the airport.

  • EVDO Highlights :
    • EV-DO - Evolution Data Optimized
    • Personal broadband wireless service for a wide range of customers, from business people to students
    • Always on - similar to DSL (wherever 3G capability is available)
    • Rides on CDMA signal- 1x data capability available everywhere CDMA voice service available
    • Always on with seamless roaming!
    • Signal can travel on same cell sites as cell phones
    • 1xRTT: 50Kbps - 100Kbps Upload and Download (bursts to 144Kbps)
    • EVDO Rev 0: 400kbps-700kbps Download (bursts up to 2.0Mbps), 50kbps-100kbps Upload (bursts to 144Kbps)
    • EVDO Rev A: 600Kbps-1,400Kbps Download (bursts to 2.0Mbps), 500Kbps-800Kbps Upload (bursts to 1.8Mbps)

Automatic Configuration:

  • First see if the card has been automatically found and configured with Network Manager.
    • Plug in the USB Sprint Novatel wireless card, boot the system. Be sure to use a known working/compatible USB port for this device.
    • Click on the Network Manager applet located on the Desktop "Task bar"
    • Look for a Broadband connection (highlighted in blue below):

      (Note: if the card is not available sometimes waiting a few minutes will resolve the problem)
    • select the network from the list and test if it has connected correctly.
    • If the connection works you are all set, otherwise, the card can be configured manually (see next section)

Confirm System Recognizes Card:

  • Plugging in the card: lsusb command shows the usb Sprint "Novatel" card has been identified:
    output from 'lsusb' yields :

    Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
    Bus 005 Device 002: ID 0a5c:2110 Broadcom Corp. Bluetooth Controller
    Bus 005 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
    Bus 004 Device 003: ID 1410:4100 Novatel Wireless U727
    Bus 004 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub

  • System messages: Confirm the card has been reconized with dmesg command:
    output from 'dmesg | grep usb'  yields :
    ... ... ...
    usb 4-1: New USB device found, idVendor=1410, idProduct=4100
    usb 4-1: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=4
    usb 4-1: Product: Novatel Wireless CDMA
    usb 4-1: Manufacturer: Novatel Wireless Inc.
    usb 4-1: SerialNumber: 099090959159000
    ... ... ...

Table - Mobile Broadband Wireless modem products identification numbers

  • Broadband Modem Vendor ID Product ID Form Factor
    Novatel Merlin S620 0x1410 0x1110 PC Card
    Novatel Merlin S720 0x1410 0x1130 PC Card
    Novatel Ovation U720 0x1410 0x2110 USB Modem
    Novatel Merlin EX720 0x1410 0x1120 Express Card
    Novatel U727 0x1410 0x4100 USB Modem
    Novatel U760 0x1410 0x6000 USB Modem
    Pantech PX-500 0x106c 0x3702 PC Card
    Sierra AC580 0x1199 0x0112 PC card
    Sierra AC595 0x1199 0x0019 PC Card
    Sierra AC595U 0x1199 0x120 USB Modem
    Sierra Compass 597 0x1199 0x0023 USB Modem
    Sierra AC597E 0x1199 0x0021 Express Card
    Sierra 598U 0x1199 0x0025 USB Modem

Manual Configuration:

  • Config file: /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-sprint

  • WVDIAL Configuration: /etc/wvdial.conf
    &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0
    [Dialer sprint]
    Username = ''
    Password = ''
    Phone = #777
    Stupid Mode = 1
    Init1 = ATZ
    Inherits = Modem0

Testing -After the configuration changes have been made, try starting the card using the following methods.

  • Test with the wvdial command:
  • Using ifup to start the device:
    su -
    ifup ppp0


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