samsung modem

I tend to stick with a phone for a few years as I can't be bothered with the hassle of chopping and changing even though I could have a new one on my contract every year. Last time I upgraded my requirements were simple: Phone, text, maybe mobile Internet, but I also wanted to be able to use my phone as a modem for my laptop. Yes, you can get great deals on 3G "dongles" these days - but the number of times I'm out with my laptop and not near an accessible wireless hot spot is probably less than once a month, so it just made sense to do it all on the phone.

"No problem!" said the guy in the Vodafone shop in Tonbridge. "But I use Linux", say I. "We support Linux" says he. Well given that he's the shop manager... So anyway I pick the Samsung Steel phone and away I go. I get it home and I carefully go through all the instructions but it is all about installing Windows software. Their website is equally unhelpful. I go back into the shop and they call the Samsung helpdesk and hand the phone to me! "We only support Windows" says the woman on the other end. Right. To be fair the Vodafone guys do offer to exchange the phone for me - even for one that ought to cost more. But I figure it's worth having a go to see if I can work it out.

Back home an Internet search gives nothing specific, but I do find some clues. Running the laptop under Ubuntu and using minicom I'm able to see that with the phone in "pc-studio" mode it appears as a standard modem responding to the Hayes command set. However I have no idea what commands to issue to get it to connect. I fire up my Laptop under Windows XP, which is still installed on a small partition and install a USB sniffer program and the Samsung phone software and ask it to connect out. All is revealed. I put the appropriate commands into the wvdial configuration file and the phone connects.

So the big question is: why on earth could Samsung not put this information on their website? The cost to them is tiny, the benefits potentially great. Perhaps someone should point out to them all of those lovely little netbook devices whizzing off the shelves - often running Linux rather than Windows.


You can just grab a copy of my wvdial.conf file here but this is the relevant stuff. (You might have to adjust the device name for the modem in the first line depending on your distribution.)

        Modem = /dev/ttyACM0
        Init1 = ATZ
	Init2 = AT+CGMI
	Init3 = AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","internet",,0,0
	Init4 = AT+CGQMIN=1,0,0,3,0,0
	Init5 = AT+CGQREQ=1,0,0,3,0,0
	Init6 = ATE0V1&D2&C1S0=0
	Init7 = ATS7=60
	Init8 = ATS0=0
	Phone = *99#
	Modem Type = USB Modem
	Baud = 115200
	Dial Attempts = 2
	Username = web
	Password = web
	Stupid Mode = on

Yup - you read that right. Stupid Mode. To quote the man page on wvdial.conf: "When wvdial is in Stupid Mode, it does not attempt to interpret any prompts from the terminal server. It starts pppd immediately after the modem connects. Apparently there are ISP's that actually give you a login prompt, but work only if you start PPP, rather than logging in. Go figure. Stupid Mode is (naturally) disabled by default."