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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?


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Old 03-18-2007, 12:09 PM   #1
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Location: Surprise, AZ
Distribution: Debian | CentOS | Arch
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Lightbulb Sprint Wireless Pantech PX-500 WORKS GREAT!

I've been missing from LQ for quite some time now. Just been very busy with work and family and more recently - divorce... but that's a whole 'nother story. :\

So I moved into a new place to discover that there is no way to get high-speed Internet at my location.

- They don't allow cable on the property. There's some kind of community satellite system that I can get if I want channels... but no cable.

- DSL is not available as it's too far away from the NOC.

- Satellite internet is not available as it's an apartment and they won't allow mounting of antennas.

- Wireless internet is not available because of the same reasons as satellite.

So, after discovering all of this - I was rather upset. I didn't want to have to pay for a home phone and then dial-up access. For one, I don't need a home phone - I have a work supplied cell phone that I don't pay a cent for. For two, I have no desire to use dial-up access. So after thinking and thinking I finally decided to look into the Verizon Broadband cards for my laptop. I went to the store, checked them out... they couldn't tell me whether any of them were Linux supported or not and that I should go do my own research. Yeah, I figured that... however, before going home, I went to the Sprint store. I was with my father-in-law because he was looking into getting one for his brand new laptop which runs Vista Ultimate. The tech there informed me that the Sprint card is absolutely supported under Linux and gave me a basic explanation as to how to set it up. They also told me that they get about 5 people every day coming to them from the Verizon store because the Verizon network is slower than theirs and it also has a lot less coverage. Could've been a marketing ploy, but it was entertaining nonetheless. Also, we came to find out that none of the cards are supported under Vista Ultimate as of yet. HAHAHA... he was so upset. I'm usually the one stuck trying to find things that work with my OS and now he's the one up a creek!

I went ahead and got the PCMCIA style card - Pantech PX-500. The card was $49.99 with a $50 mail-in rebate. The service is $60/month. I got the insurance on the card which is $7/month only because it has excellent coverage. It's basically unlimited. If the card is lost or stolen - replaced. If the card is broken into 3 or less pieces - replaced. If I dump a bottle of soda on the card and destroy it - replaced. So that's a lot better than 'if it just stops working'.

So I run Arch on my notebook. I plugged in the card and checked dmesg - the card was seen as just as a modem. Sweet! The guy at the store told me that as long as it sees it as a modem, just set it to dial #777 - no username or password necessary. I couldn't figure it out just reading the pppd man page and such, and I had no way to get online to ask for help. I ended up throwing in a Ubuntu 6.10 disc and installing that because I know it had the pppconfig script stuff. Got that installed, within 5 minutes I got it to connect - and was on! What a relief...

I'm getting pretty decent speeds too. Varying, of course, but averaging about 1000kbps download and 125kbps upload. That equals about 120KB/s download which is pretty decent - especially when you take into account the huge advantage of being able to go ANYWHERE.

All in all, I'm very pleased with this. I'm extremely pleased that it works so easily with Linux. The card is just seen as an external modem. The initial device is /dev/ttyACM0 which I symlinked to /dev/ppp0 so that all the ppp config stuff would work okay. Now that I got the ppp peer file set up, I think I'm going to back it up and see if I can't get it working back under Arch. I will go ahead and paste my config file here, so if anyone else needs it, it's available. I never liked Sprint - I have a nextel phone from work, and though it's free, the coverage SUCKS... so I was afraid I would have the same result with the Sprint card, since the companies are one in the same now. Not the case at all. Sprint just scored a lot of points for me. Not only because of the fact that it is supported under Linux and the coverage is awesome, but also because the tech there actually knew that it would be supported under Linux. The only thing is that the card has to be activated under Windows first, which they actually did right at the store for me since it would've been a pain in the butt for me to do it.

Well done guys!

Here is my file for /etc/ppp/peers/Sprint file.
# This optionfile was generated by pppconfig 2.3.11. 
connect "/usr/sbin/chat -v -f /etc/chatscripts/Sprint"
user " "
ipparam Sprint

Here is the /etc/chatscripts/Sprint file as well:

# This chatfile was generated by pppconfig 2.3.11.
# Please do not delete any of the comments.  Pppconfig needs them.
# ispauth CHAP
# abortstring
# modeminit
'' ATZ
# ispnumber
# ispconnect
# prelogin

# ispname
# isppassword
# postlogin

# end of pppconfig stuff
And all I use to get connected now is:

pppd call Sprint
After about 4 seconds it's connected just fine.

I hope this helps some people. Oh, there is also a linksys router that has a cardslot in the back of it that works with this card, so that you can use this to give Internet to your whole network. I think I will pick one of those up next week.

Last edited by halo14; 03-18-2007 at 12:16 PM.
Old 07-17-2008, 01:40 PM   #2
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Registered: Jul 2008
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Here is a little script I put together for connecting and disconnecting, after you have configured all the other stuff; name this file "sprint":

# Script to connect to the sprint network
# Usage:
# ./sprint connect
# ./sprint disconnect

case "$1" in

	pppd call sprint updetach
	echo "**You are now connected to the sprint network!"

	killall pppd
	echo "**You have disconnected from the sprint network!"

Hope this helps.
Old 03-12-2009, 10:44 PM   #3
LQ Newbie
Registered: Mar 2009
Posts: 4

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Post Sprint PX-500 card setup guide

The configuration of the PX-500 is easier if you follow the manual provided by Sprint.
Write in Google:
Sprint Software Downloads - Mobile Broadband Cards - PX-500 by Pantech

Here is the direct link:



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