The least interesting tech narratives to read — and write — are the ones where everything worked well. Where's the narrative? Where was the challenge? But I want this on the net so searchers find a success story.
I got a Huwei E1552 Modem to work on Linux, and it took no trouble on Bodhi Linux 1.1 (corresponds to Ubuntu Karmic Koala, I think) with Gnome Network Manager. And I was amazed. This is not the way things typically go on Linux! It should work with any Ubuntu distribution later than Karmic, and potentially any distro using Gnome's network-manager applet version 0.8 or greater (maybe earlier, too; I haven't checked). I connected to Senegal's Orange network over a GSM connection, and since Senegal uses France's Orange technology, this modem should work on other Orange networks as well.
The only trick was getting it to run successfully on Windows first. Turns out these little USB key—cellphone thingies are configured to run a clever little ruse: the first time you plug them in, your computer recognizes them as a USB key ("flash drive") storage medium. It shows you the stored file, including the little .EXE Windows executable program that allows you to install the driver on Windows. Running the installer then "flips" a bit so the USB key gets recognized forever after as a GSM modem, which is what it is. Piece of cake.
That finally explains to me why to get these things to work on Linux you so often need to run USB-Switcher to make that conversion manually. Not knowing any better, I just let it blow its load on Windows, where I got connected the first time, and then plugged it into Linux. Bodhi Linux recognized it immediately, Gnome Network Manager knew immediately how to use it, and when I requested a connection, I got one immediately. Color me stupified.
Kudos to everyone who made this happen. And to the rest of you, rest assured that a Sonatel/Orange "Internet Everywhere" Huwei E1552 modem will get you on line with Linux. On the grounds that somehow this feels like the future of mobile internet usage, this seems very important to me. And the fact that I can now urgently check my frikkin' email from the middle of the badlands is nothing short of thrilling (but not surprising, considering how much energy and money has gone into ensuring there are cell towers all over the place, even in the badlands).
Footnote: It also worked perfectly on my HP Chromebook 14. Yippee!
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