Trusting to the power of Linux on my laptop, I blindly ordered an AirH Edge connectivity card from JCR (Air-H (Edge) Data Card for Laptops - No Airtime or Data Charges).

Prior to leaving the US, I downloaded a few things, anticipating that I’d be ‘flying blind’ since I wouldn’t be able to connect until it actually worked. I was able to get it working eventually, but the following shows the results of a process that wasn’t plain sailing at all.


Inserting the card had promising results :

# tail /var/log/messages  
Jul 21 11:22:54 hudson kernel: pccard: PCMCIA card inserted into slot 0
Jul 21 11:22:54 hudson kernel: cs: memory probe 0xf6000000-0xfbffffff: excluding 0xf6000000-0xf71fffff 0xf7e00000-0xf83fffff 0xf9c00000-0xfa1fffff 0xfae00000-0xfb3fffff
Jul 21 11:22:54 hudson kernel: pcmcia: registering new device pcmcia0.0
Jul 21 11:22:54 hudson kernel: 0.0: ttyS1 at I/O 0x2f8 (irq = 3) is a 16550A

But the interrupt situation seemed worrying :

andrewsm]# more /proc/interrupts   
0: 4519231 XT-PIC-XT timer
1: 18190 XT-PIC-XT i8042
2: 0 XT-PIC-XT cascade
3: 157708 XT-PIC-XT serial
5: 458618 XT-PIC-XT Intel 82801DB-ICH4, ipw2200
7: 2 XT-PIC-XT parport0
8: 1 XT-PIC-XT rtc
9: 5 XT-PIC-XT acpi
11: 2519527 XT-PIC-XT yenta, yenta, uhci_hcd:usb1, uhci_hcd:usb2,
uhci_hcd:usb3, ehci_hcd:usb4, radeon@pci:0000:01:00.0
12: 209 XT-PIC-XT i8042
14: 45115 XT-PIC-XT libata
15: 184709 XT-PIC-XT libata
NMI: 0
LOC: 0
ERR: 0
MIS: 0

More worryingly, the GnomePPP applet reported /dev/ttyS1 as busy (and it still does, even though I’ve got everything otherwise operational).

Also, wvdialconf didn’t find a modem.

So, on to minicom to try and debug things interactively. Interestingly, it seems that multi-part initialization strings all result in ‘ERROR’ from the modem. After a bit of messing around, ATDTxxxxxxxx got a ‘CONNECT’ but wasn’t responsive after that.

Finally, I decided to let wvdial do the work (since it knows about flow control and passwords). Success! It appears that wvdialconf interrogates the modem with a multi-option string, which doesn’t appear to work on this modem.


The following setup in /etc/wvdial.conf allows wvdial nifty to work :

[root@hudson andrewsm]# more /etc/wvdial.conf  
Modem = /dev/ttyS1
Baud = 115200
SetVolume = 0
Dial Command = ATDT
Init1 = ATZ
Init3 = ATM0
FlowControl = CRTSCTS

[Dialer nifty]
Username =
Password = JCRxddddxx
Phone = 0570990999##99
Stupid Mode = 1
Init1 = ATZ
# This was the default - and the modem doesn't
# seem to understand multi-option commands...
#Init2 = ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1; &D2 +FCLASS=0
# So, splitting it up seems to do the trick
Init2 = ATQ0
Init3 = ATV1
Init4 = ATE1
Init5 = ATS0=0
Init6 = AT&C1;
Init7 = AT&D2
# And kill this one, which gives 'ERROR'
#Init8 = AT+FCLASS=0
Inherits = Modem0

Setting up a new network connection in the System-Administration-Networking dialog (using ppp and nifty as a provider name) allows the ppp0 to be set up, to allow regular network ifup and ifdown commands.


Doing the following works fine : (test with ping, for instance) :

# /sbin/ifup ppp0  

Martin Andrews

{Finance, Software, AI} entrepreneur, living in Singapore with my family.