— Alan Brown 2008/06/20 06:18
(Some sections to be completed, photos and screengrabs to be added also)
I'm using Xandros advanced desktop on my EeePC, but I think it would work in Easy Mode too. As always however, no guarantees that this will work on your Eee - proceed at your own risk! This page is mostly relevant to the UK 'Three' network only. I can verify that the method also works for the “just-out-of-the-box” Easy desktop for the 4 gig Linux version with the Three Australian network but use caution - in Australia the Three network can sometimes fall back to the Telstra network where the charges for data are $2.00 per meg!
We can also use the Virgin Prepaid Mobile Broadband in Australia with the Out-of-the-Box Easy-Mode Xandros linux desktop, but need to add the line “refuse-chap” in the ppp/peers/dialup(n) file because unlike Three network, Virgin uses PAP login control.
One of the main advantages of the EeePC in my opinion is it's tiny size, you can take it just about anywhere, and although it has built-in wireless, you're not always in range of a wireless access point, and sometimes, in hotels etc. these can be pretty expensive. Using a mobile broadband dongle lets you get connected to the net pretty much anywhere, depending on network strength, and at a reasonable cost.
This depends on your predicted usage. In my mind, while the EeePC is conveniently portable, I'm not going to be using it to download movies, just general web browsing and email, so 1GB a month was sufficient for my use. Also sometimes I won't be on the road, and don't need mobile internet access at all, so a Pay as You Go deal, despite having a larger initial outlay (for the modem) meant I only have to pay for months I actually use the access.
Various mobile networks have mobile broadband deals, and your requirements may vary, however I use the following:
Huawei E220 modem (white oblong USB dongle) - £49.99, or from £39.99 from other suppliers such as Play.com or Amazon
It comes with a Pay as you Go SIM card (£10 for 1GB, unused allowance expires after 30 days)
Huawei E220 modem - the white oblong one, semi-circular at both ends. Most networks offer this dongle, amongst others.
In a quite nice piece of design-work, the dongle has the software for use included on itself - you plug it into a USB port, and it's recognised as a flash drive and allows you to install the software.
The problem is that the software that it installs is Windows software - so it won't work in Xandros. This isn't a major issue as you can set up the connection on Xandros manually. To do this you need to know your username (the phone number of the SIM) and your password. Sadly, when you first register the modem, Three send an SMS with the password to the dongle - you have no way of reading this SMS message to see what the password is on the Eee.
To get it you can plug the dongle into a Windows machine, let it install it's software, read the dongle SMS messages to get the password via the Windows software, then put all that into the EeePC network connections, and plug the dongle into the Eeepc instead.
Alternatively you can put your SIM into an unlocked mobile phone (my O2 one was fine) and let it find the 3 service then log into http://three.co.uk/my3 and follow the instructions to register using the SIM's phone number and the last 6 characters of the ICCID. The password will then be sent as a text to your mobile and can be used to log in.
You only have to do that once of course, once it's done the modem works perfectly on the Eee.
While the steps to setup the modem in a Windows environment are fairly easy there's a few little stumbling blocks. In the UK the steps are:
Things to look out for
If you do logon at my3 you won't be able to activate the voucher until you logout; an issue which is fairly well disguised in the help files. You can now connect to the internet with your modem, it's at this point I setup the modem on my EEE and I could logon straight away.
After that Mobile Data Connection appeared in my Network Connections window. If you choose the option on the last screen the modem will also dial into your Service.
Right click on the Network Connections icon on your task bar and select your connection name and it will dial up and get you on line.
To be completed, but in Australia watch out as per the disclaimer above. Low HSDPA or 3G signal strength can cause the E220 modem to fall back from the Three network to the 2G Telstra network at very high data costs. On the plus side, this DOES allow us to use our EEE PC-s with the E220 modem even in small Australian country towns when traveling away from the big cities.
“Silly question what is the second cable for with the 2 USB connections? It can't be to connect two computers to the internet as the lead is not long enough.”
The second USB cable is for extra power. Although this isn't needed on my Asus EEE on battery power, so I reckon there will be few cases where you actually need to use it. (Note to author: My 3 shop said use 2xUSB cable when setting up modem first time in XP, then use short single USB cable thereafter.)