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March 2, 2006 / gus3

Mini-HOWTO: Fedora Core 4 and the Motorola V262 with Alltel

I have used my Motorola V262 with Alltel service to get online with my Fedora Core 4 laptop. The setup is very simple, with administrative (root) privileges.

The V262 data cable connects to the USB port, so the device file will be visible as /dev/ttyACM0, handled by the "cdc_acm" kernel module. A Fedora Core 4 system configured with "udev" will take care of this automatically when you plug in the data cable. FC4 provides the necessary tools in GNOME 2.10 to complete the configuration.

Under the Desktop main menu, select "System Settings," then "Network." If you are not logged in as root, you will need the root password to run this tool.

In the Network dialog, click the "Hardware" tab, then click the "New" tool button. Select "Modem" as the hardware type, then click "OK." Use the following settings for the modem:

  • Modem device: /dev/ttyACM0
  • Baud rate: 460800
  • Flow control: None
  • Modem volume: Off
  • Use touch tone dialing (checked)

These are the device settings. To configure the ISP settings, click on the "Devices" tab, then click the "New" tool button. Select the "Modem connection" device type, then click "Forward. I used the following settings to connect to the internet using my Alltel service:

  • Phone number: #777 (yes, that’s the pound sign, followed by three 7’s)
  • Provider name: "alltel"
  • Login name: XXXXXXXXXX@alltel.net (my phone number in place of the X’s)
  • Password: alltel

After clicking "Forward," choose "Automatically obtain IP address settings" and check "Automatically obtain DNS information from provider." After clicking "Forward," you should see a confirmation page. If you are satisfied that the displayed settings are correct, click "Apply" to create the connection.

Once the connection is available, you can activate it using the Network Configuration window,  by selecting the new connection and clicking the "Activate" tool button. If all goes well, the device’s status should change to "Active." If not, check the system log for the reason behind the failure.

When you have a working connection, you can adjust other properties by selecting the device, then clicking the "Edit" tool button. I have set the following:

  • Allow all users to enable and disable the device
  • All options under "Compression"

However, I did not see that any of the Compression options changed the options passed to "pppd" as indicated in the "ps -ax" output. I hand-edited the /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifup-ppp to add the "deflate 10" and "bsdcomp 10" options to the pppd command.

If you set the "Allow all users to enable…" option, then a non-root user can run the /sbin/ifup and /sbin/ifdown scripts, to connect and disconnect. I have a simple script in my home directory, which I can run via a single click in my Gkrellm2 monitor:

#!/bin/sh
ps ax | grep pppd.*alltel | grep -q -v grep
if [ $? -eq 0 ] ; then
  /sbin/ifdown alltel
else
  /sbin/ifup alltel
fi
exit $?

The only complaint I have about the Alltel internet access is that the TCP SYN/SYNACK phase tends to be slow. Individual TCP connections may take a second or two to initiate. Once established, the 17-20 Kbyte bandwidth is excellent. Web pages with a lot of auxiliary content (images and applets/Flash) can have their overall download speed hurt by the SYN/SYNACK problem; the Tweak Network extension for Firefox can help with this, by reducing the number of TCP connections required per web page.

(Update 2006-03-03: Further analysis shows that the delay is between the HTTP request and response. I suspect some mandatory proxying of port 80 transfers.)

(Update 2008-01-22: The same drivers and configuration will work with the Alltel Hue, aka the Samsung R500.)

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