ZTE MF626 / MF636

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Introduction

See also USB 3G Modem.

The ZTE MF626 / MF636 is a USB modem which combines 3G+/3G with EDGE/GPRS in one compact device. It has an integrated micro-SD card reader. It can send data at speeds up to 4.5 Mbps on 3G+ networks and receive data at speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps.  It is also known as the Rogers (Canadian cellular carrier) red stick USB dongle.

Disable CD mode on the device

Using a Windows machine, plug in the USB device and go through the short install wizard. Once done, close the Rogers app that starts up, then head into the Device Manager (Control Panel -> System -> Hardware -> Device Manager). Under the Ports section, find the COM port that's connected to the USB modem (ignore the Diagnostics mode). Connect to that COM port through Hyperterminal, found in the Accessories area of the Start Menu. Connection parameters are:

Bits per Second: 115200
Data bits: 8
Parity: None
Stop bits: 1
Flow Control: None

Once connected, type the following commands:

AT+ZOPRT=5
AT+ZCDRUN=8

This tells the modem not to use CD mode when it's first plugged into a computer. Now exit Hypterterminal and remove the USB modem. You're done with Windows.

Setup udev rules

Create a file /etc/udev/rules.d/90-zte.conf that contains the following:

ACTION!="add", GOTO="ZTE_End"
SUBSYSTEM=="usb", SYSFS{idProduct}=="0031", SYSFS{idVendor}=="19d2", GOTO="ZTE_Modem"
GOTO="ZTE_End"

LABEL="ZTE_Modem"
RUN+="/sbin/modprobe usbserial vendor=0x19d2 product=0x0031", MODE="660", GROUP="network"
LABEL="ZTE_End"

Setup hal rules

The current version of hal (that I have) doesn't know about the MF636, though it does acknowledge some earlier models. To inform it, create a file /etc/hal/fdi/information/10-modem.fdi with the following:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <!-- -*- xml -*- -->

<deviceinfo version="0.2">
  <device>
    <match key="info.category" string="serial">
        <!-- ZTE MF636 HSDPA USB dongle -->
        <match key="@info.parent:usb.product_id" int="0x0031">
          <match key="@info.parent:usb.interface.number" int="3">
            <append key="modem.command_sets" type="strlist">GSM-07.07</append>
            <append key="modem.command_sets" type="strlist">GSM-07.05</append>
          </match>
        </match>
    </match>
  </device>
</deviceinfo>

Create a wvdial configuration

Wvdial is an easy-to-use frontend to PPPd. The configuration is fairly easy to comprehend. This one is probably longer than it needs to be, but I'll include it all. Make sure you replace the /dev/ttyUSB0 line with the node that your USB modem is connected to, you can see that with dmesg. Save as /etc/wvdial.conf.

[Dialer Defaults]
Modem = /dev/ttyUSB0
ISDN = off
Modem Type = USB Modem
Baud = 7200000
Init = ATZ
Init2 = 
Init3 = 
Init4 = 
Init5 = 
Init6 = 
Init7 = 
Init8 = 
Init9 = 
Phone = *99#
Phone1 = 
Phone2 = 
Phone3 = 
Phone4 = 
Dial Prefix = 
Dial Attempts = 1
Dial Command = ATM1L3DT
Ask Password = off
Password = off
Username = na
Auto Reconnect = off
Abort on Busy = off
Carrier Check = off
Check Def Route = off
Abort on No Dialtone = off
Stupid Mode = on
Idle Seconds = 0
Auto DNS = on

Connect to the internet

Now just run wvdial to connect

# wvdial

If you see output reporting your PPP local and endpoint IP addresses, then it worked.

Tips & Tricks

All steps above may be obsolete if the modem stick is supported by sakis3g which is an all in one command line script and automatises all the steps above. The installation steps are as follows:

wget "http://www.sakis3g.org/versions/latest/$ARCH/sakis3g.gz" # where $ARCH is either i386 or amd64
gunzip sakis3g.gz
chmod +x sakis3g
./sakis3g --interactive

Acknowledgements

Thanks to the following webpages that gave me all this information:

   * http://www.zeroflux.org/blog/post/255
   * http://www.matt-barrett.com/?p=5
   * http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1005910
   * http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1065934