Virgin Mobile Broadband with Ubuntu

I have being meaning to get myself a mobile broadband USB modem for casual use. It makes sense if you do not want to shell out $15-$20 for wifi an hour. Whenever I take my family for a holiday on the cost, or find myself waiting at an airport I can just get online. The only catch is that you either shell out $150 for 1 year and 10GB of data. or you plan ahead and use $15 to get 500MB valid for 30 days prior to your vacation.

After much deliberation and googling, I decided to go with the Optus network as it has reasonable coverage and has many resellers. I found Virgin Mobile offering their Huawei E1762 modem for $89. This is a 7.2MB modem. It has a microSD slot that supports up to 8GB cards and it even has an external antenna connection.

It works fine in ubuntu 9.10 (that’s all I have tested). But I first had to activate my account via a windows machine. I don’t believe that windows based activation is a necessary step except that I needed a working connection to get the correct setting to configure the ubuntu netbook.

I started off with the default setting offered by network-manager. I then edited the connection and changed the APN to: virginbroadband (was VirginInternet) and disabled all the authentication mechanisms except PAP.

And there you go… it works… I am using it to type this 🙂

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