Mobile broadband with Ubuntu, 3 UK and Nokia E63

Last year I decided to go get a Nokia E63 w/ unlimited data plan from 3 UK, and I’ve got to say I’m impressed🙂

The phone itself is quite a nifty little thing. Granted, not as blitzy and glam as your average iPhone, but it packs a punch. It does just about everything I need, and with a qwerty keyboard in a small form factor with a decent screen its comfortable to carry around. Function wise, I use it to read my Google Mail (which is nicely integrated in the same interface as is used for SMS), to control my server / desktop using PuTTY for symbian, for Google Maps (saved me a couple of times…), listening to radio, internet radio, browsing, skyping while on the move, and in the latest development, providing my laptop with internet access when a Wifi AP is not to be found.

Please note, I have an unlimited data plan, make sure you also have similar data plans before you go surfing, it could end up being very expensive…

I had a bluetooth adapter running around which I had bought. It’s an unbranded, cheap adapter but it does its job ok. In windows 7 the job was quite easy. As soon as the bluetooth adapter was plugged in, Windows installed the drivers, and after setting up the necessary trusts, I soon had a bluetooth pairing going on with my Nokia. I next downloaded the Nokia PC suite from their website, and proceeded to start up the mobile broadband wizard. After filling in my provider details the connection was established and that’s that…

Kudos to windows for making it so easy….

… but Ubuntu wasn’t so far behind in making it easy either🙂 True, you need to know which programs will make it easiest, but nothing Google cant help you with in about 30 mins of light reading.

I first decided to change the default Ubuntu bluetooth manager after reading that the program Blueman does a better job of this. A pretty straightforward, point and click installation as outlined in their own site:

http://blueman-project.org/downloads.html.

That done, I proceeded to see if it recognized my bluetooth adapter. Wasn’t a problem, took 2 minutes and no intervention from my part (apart from accepting the security warning that a connection was taking place) to get the positive result:

A bluetooth icon appears on the top right toolbar near Network Manager, if not, you may wanna have a look at System > Preferences > Bluetooth Manager

Ok… so at this point I had a functional bluetooth pairing. In order to initiate the internet connection I clicked on the “setup” icon and chose “dial up networking (DUN)”. This asked about my provider, just like windows did, and I had a new connection called “3 Handsets” in network manager. Right clicking on network manager and selecting the “edit connections” option shows a new mobile broadband tab with the aforementioned connection:

At this point, I did try to connect however the connection would immediately fail, and the debug and  syslog logs in the /var directory would show: GSM connection failed, no carrier. Clicking on the “edit” button in the above screenshot in the network manager like so solved my problems and successfully connected🙂

The part I was missing was my PIN.. save yourself some swearing and insert your correct PIN in the field🙂

PS, in the PPP settings tab, for authentication, I selected CHAP auth only, though I doubt that made a difference…