Last week, I wrote about connectivity problems when using the vodafone-provided ‘mobile broadband‘ dongle with my shiny new Karmic Koala distro from Ubuntu.

Fair’s fair, so it’s only right that I should report the fix which resolved the problem for me. I can’t guarantee this will work with every netbook/notebook configuration (in my case, E620 dongle and IBM Thinkpad T60) but all indications are that it works for the majority, if not all cases.

So courtesy of dj_toons, here’s the fix.

Plug in your USB dongle, and boot your computer.

Open up Places|Computer. If you see a virtual CD ROM and an SSD card slot, right-click on the Virtual CD ROM (you don’t need it, the only reasons it’s there is to supply drivers to Windows users) and select Safety Remove Device.

Once the SSD card reader and virtual CD ROM icons have dissapered , close the browser box.

Open a command line terminal [Applications|Accessories|Terminal]

Copy and paste the following commands (you will be prompted for your password).

sudo rmmod usb-storage

sudo modprobe -r option

sudo modprobe -r usbserial

sudo modprobe usbserial vendor=0x12d1 product=0x1001

sudo pppd ttyUSB0

That’s it.

When you go to Network Manager, your modem should be listed.

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.


  1. I’m not a gamer or music head, so I don’t really see myself hitting the 10Gb/month limit anytime soon. Unless there’s something I don’t know, that is. Have I enabled any odd settings I should know about with the fix?

  2. Update: This morning, I went through the process outlined above on my netbook, an 8Gb SSD Asus Aspire One.

    Everything went smoothly, except for one hitch. The first time I attempted to ‘Safely Remove Device’, I got some Big Scary Pop-Ups saying it couldn’t be done.
    Ignore those messages, and repeat the process. The device will be removed without complaint at the second attempt.

    PS: The menus look a little different in Netbook Remix, so to get to the point where you ‘Safely Remove Device’, click on Files & Folders, then on any of the shown directories (I chose Documents, the first on the list). The virtual CD will appear in the left-hand column under ‘Places’. Simply right-click to ‘Safely Remove…’

  3. Looks like I spoke too soon.

    When I reboot, Ubuntu Netbook Remix does not remember that it’s supposed to see my vodafone dongle as a mobbile broadband device. I have to go through the procedure outlined above in order to get a connection.

    To save some time, I created a script to run the commands listed above, but so far, although i’m sure there’s a way to do it, I haven’t come across a script to ‘Safely Unmount Device’, and still have to do that part manually.

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