Saturday, October 17, 2009

HOWTO: Cricket A600 Modem & Ubuntu

So the Cricket cooperation is too lazy to make their device function by default on Linux so the following is a method I came up with some months back for getting your Cricket A600 Modem working under Linux. There are two methods listed below, choose which ever suits your needs.

Easy Method for Installing (pre-compiled debs):

Attached are the debs and a flipflop.sh to get this working do the following -

Step 1:
Download the .deb file for your selected architecture (32bit or 64bit) && install it

Step 2:
Download the flipflop.sh, Now right click on the file and select "properties". Click over to the "permissions" tab, and check the box "allow executing file as a program". Now double click it and select "Run", enter your password. Wait a few moments and poof! Your 3g modem should now be appearing in your network manager.

Notes:

You will need to run the flipflop.sh every time you connect your modem.

Before this guide will work for you, you do need to load the device on a Windows/Mac system and install the software for the device and activate it. (I have a Windows VM for just such occasions, it worked fine)

Installing from Source:

Step 1:

Download the archive and extract the contents to your preferred directory.

Step 2:

Open up terminal and use cd to change into the directory of the extracted files.

32 bit Users - Install usb_modeswitch with the following command: sudo make install

64 bit Users - We need to recompile modeswitch to work on the 64bit platform. Run the following commands in terminal to do so run the following in order in terminal:
sudo apt-get install build-essential libusb-dev
rm usb_modeswitch
make
sudo make install

Step 3:

Plug in your Cricket A600 to an open USB port, wait a moment for it to be detected as a CD drive/the auto play menu to pop up. Now we just need to execute the flipflop.sh, it is in the directory of files you extracted, by running the following: sudo ./flipflop.sh (Please note you need to first make this file executable by running chmod +x flipflop.sh)

After running the flipflop.sh you need to wait about 12 seconds (while it works it's magic) and then poof! Your Cricket device should now appear in your network manager as a connection option.

Notes:

You will need to sudo ./flipflop.sh each time you attach the device for it to work.

Before this guide will work for you, you do need to load the device on a Windows/Mac system and install the software for the device and activate it. (I have a Windows VM for just such occasions, it worked fine)

I played around with udev some trying to automate this process when you play the device in, but I could not get it to work properly, if someone smarter/experienced than myself would like to figure that out I'd be more than happy to add it to this guide.

Trouble Shooting -
If this guide does not work for you try first opening up the flipflop.sh and increasing the sleep time from 10 seconds to 20 - some systems require a longer delay.

If anyone has any trouble or has any input let me know,
~Jeff Hoogland

14 comments:

  1. How did you come up with this?

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  2. The switch is done using an application called "usb_modeswitch" which I had to make some edits to to support my Cricket Device. Three days and about 4 tutorials later I had the guide you see above all figured out.

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  3. Hi Jeff,

    I did everything as instructed, and sure enough, the "Cricket Communications Connection" showed up in Network Manager.

    However, all my browsers say I'm offline, and the properties of the Cricket Communications in NM says that the connection speed is unkown.

    I tried to add the username and password to its properties but it doesn't seem to stick.

    In Gnome PPP, it detects no modem, even after doing sudo ./flipflop.sh.

    Any help? Am I doing something, or missing something, obvious?

    -- Peter

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  4. Wow. Not a single reply in over a month....

    Moving along, I went on holiday to New England for a few weeks. Most of New England does not have Cricket service so I did not use the modem at all. When I returned to Colorado, I plugged it in for kicks, and voila la! it works!!!

    Not only that, but it works really well. I get the same speeds as in Windows and it works automatically. I don't need to key in " flipflop" or anything! Also, it works simultaneously as a USB drive, which is cool. (Some forums said that in Linux it wouldn't be able to do both -- modem and storage drive -- but it does!)

    So I don't know what I did or didn't do, if it was an update on the system (Ubuntu 9.10), or whatever. It would be nice if somebody could explain it and post it here for the benefit of anybody else who comes to have this issue.

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  5. Sorry for the tardy response, I check my email often I just had a smart quirk that caused a large patch of it to get deleted before I could check it around the end of October (thus the missing your first comment).

    As for regarding your issue before - had you actived the modem on a Windows/OSX system before trying to use it under Ubuntu? This is all I can really think of.

    As for no longer needing to flip it every time - this is from an update to the Gnome Network manager that was upgraded in the Ubuntu 9.10 release :). Meaning if your distro uses Gnome 2.28 or newer you only have to "flip" the modem the first time you want to use it.

    And yes - it works fine under Linux as a USB drive as well (fliped or unflipped actually - I just leave my flipflop.deb on my flash drive itself so I always have it with the modem)

    Cheers,
    ~Jeff

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  6. Jeff,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to come up with this technique and thanks for sharing with the online community. Now I don't have to boot into Windows just to use Cricket mobile broadband.

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  7. Jeff,

    Do you have an Amazon Wish List? I'd like to send something your way as a thank you for this tip.

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  8. Thanks for the offer Kurt, but don't worry about it :). Maybe go make a donation to your favorite Linux distro or piece of FOSS software with myself in mind instead.

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  9. Jeff,

    I'm going to donate $15 to CrunchBang Linux to honor your tip. Thanks again.

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  10. I just installed Ubuntu 10.04 x64. I tried to do your walk through and it all seemed to work. The flash drive disappeared and the modem lit up with blue bars. So I thought HURRAY! But I spoke too soon. I went to the network manager next to the clock and clicked on the Cricket connection. The modem started to blink rapidly! That was a good sign. Then it said that I was connected, another good sign. Then I tried to browse and nothing happened. I also tried to download Ubuntu pkgs and it was as if I was offline, even though it said that I was connected. Another thing to note is that at first it wouldn't stay connected, I had to increase the Sleep time. Another thing is that when it said that it was connected, the light on the modem went from a rapid blink to a on.....off....on.....off, a much slower blink. This is not how it acted in windows. Any thoughts??? THanks!

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  11. Hey There,

    Wush I could help but I no longer have my A600 modem and I was never able to try it under 10.04

    Check over on the Ubuntu forums, maybe someone there can be of help.

    ~Jeff

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  12. Hi Jeff,

    The link to the installers appears to be blocked. I registered on the site, but keep getting permission denied. Is there an alternative location?

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  13. @Anonymous I just tried all of the download links and they all still work just fine :-/ If you are unable to get it to work - shoot me an email (found on the right hand side of the page) and I can forward you the files you need as attachments.

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  14. I played around with udev some trying to automate this process when you play the device in, but I could not get it to work properly, if someone smarter/experienced than myself would like to figure that out I'd be more than happy to add it to this guide.

    Trouble Shooting -Cricket

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