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Mobile Broadband On Linux To Improve With ModemManager

Free Software

Published on 24 March 2009 10:06 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software
7 Comments

With NetworkManager 0.7, which can be found in most modern Linux distributions already, there is "out of the box" support for many mobile broadband / cellular cards in this excellent network management utility. Most SM, GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HDSPA, HSUPA, and EVDO devices can then provide an Internet connection to a Linux host usually with the click of a menu item from the NetworkManager plug-in. However, not all mobile broadband devices play well with Linux right now.

If you are interested in finding out what mobile broadband devices do work well with the current NetworkManager stack, Dan Williams (the lead NetworkManager developer at Red Hat) has written a lengthy blog post that details the support level for various cellular cards. The devices covered include the HUAWEI, Qualcomm Gobi, Modern Sierra, Old-School Sierra, Option "HSO", Ericsson F3507g, and BUSlink SCWi275u.

Dan shares, however, that the current NetworkManager architecture does not allow all mobile broadband devices to be supported. As a result, a new FreeDesktop.org project has been started, which is called ModemManager. ModemManager will interact with NetworkManager in a similar way to how wpa_supplicant works with NetworkManager. Via D-Bus, ModemManager will make it possible to handle data connections, send SMS messages, read/change the phone-book, acquire signal strength, read the GPS signal, and provide other features not possible strictly in a NetworkManager stack. In fact, just yesterday ModemManager picked up the support for sending SMS messages on Linux via a connected mobile phone.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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