Telstra NextG working with MF626 USB modem

Essentially, these devices are detected as a SCSI CD device so that Windows and Mac users can install the drivers and software to make the device work and connect to the net. They then switch product ID to activate the device as a modem. Unfortunately this didn’t work properly in Ubuntu, and would only detect as a mass storage device. With this fix, it can be hot plugged and still work :-O

Thanks to a post in the Ubuntu forums, I finally got the Telstra NextG wireless working for a friend of Mike, on his Jaunty netbook.

Here’s what I did, for for future reference:

1) Install udev-extras which provides some extra hal scripts.
sudo apt-get install udev-extras

2) Install the Debian Sid i386 usb-modeswitch package, rather than build from scratch.
sudo dpkg -i usb-modeswitch_0.9.7-1_i386.deb

3) Uncommented the “ZTE MF626” entry of the usb-modeswitch config (including the # comments!).
sudo vim /etc/usb_modeswitch.conf

ZTE MF628+ (tested version from Telia / Sweden)

Contributor: Joakim Wennergren

DefaultVendor= 0x19d2
DefaultProduct= 0x2000

TargetVendor= 0x19d2
TargetProduct= 0x0031

MessageContent=”55534243123456782000000080000c8501 0101180101010101000000000000″

4) Create new HAL rule to activate the device as a modem.
sudo vim /usr/share/hal/fdi/information/20thirdparty/20-zte-mf626.fdi

<!– -*- SGML -*- –>
<deviceinfo version=”0.2″>
<!– ZTE MF626 HSDPA USB Modem –>
<match key=”@info.parent:usb.vendor_

id” int=”0x19d2″>
<match key=”@info.parent:usb.product_id” int=”0x0031″>
<match key=”@info.parent:usb.interface.number” int=”3″>
<append key=”modem.command_sets” type=”strlist”>GSM-07.07</append>
<append key=”modem.command_sets” type=”strlist”>GSM-07.05</append>
<append key=”info.capabilities” type=”strlist”>modem</append>

5) Create a new udev rule to auto run usb_modeswitch when the device is plugged in.
sudo vim /etc/udev/rules.d/90-zte.rules

ACTION!=”add”, GOTO=”ZTE_End”

SUBSYSTEM==”usb”, SYSFS{idProduct}==”2000″, SYSFS{idVendor}==”19d2″, GOTO=”ZTE_ZeroCD”

RUN+=”/usr/sbin/usb_modeswitch -W -c /etc/usb_modeswitch.conf”


6) Remove the HAL FDI cache and reboot.
sudo rm /var/cache/hald/fdi-cache
sudo reboot

7) Then after a reboot, I plug in the device, wait for it to go blue, then connect to Telstra (Next G Card) in Network Manager.


8 thoughts on “Telstra NextG working with MF626 USB modem

  1. Thanks for this post! I’ve been trying to get my dongle (a ZTE model from 3 UK) working for a couple of days and have read threads on the Ubuntu forums, but this looks like a mix of two different techniques I’ve come across. I’ll try it when I get home tonight and let you know how it goes!

  2. Hi Chris:

    Been using Windows for so long I’m sick of it. Tried Linux so many times and get frustrated because I can’t get my Telstra Pre-paid Wireless modem to work. So I go back to Windows.

    Currently trying to get Debian 5 Lenny live or Ubuntu 9.10 live configured but they only the recognize modem as a USB storage device.

    Your article looks the easiest I’ve seen so far to follow; however, I can’t install the components for Debian Sid i386 usb-modeswitch package from Linux because I haven’t got a modem connection yet.

    I’ve downloaded onto Windows desktop and copied to a USB stick. How do I install the usb-modeswitch from the stick to Lenny or Ubuntu. As you can tell by this request, I’m not really a Linux power user.

    Thanks for any advice you can offer.


    Nick Kenney.

  3. Hi Nick,

    Most USB modems are two devices, a “CDROM” and the modem itself. The USB modeswitch program can tell Linux to switch it from the CDROM over to the modem, when it’s not already supported by default (most devices will work automatically).
    What device do you have?

    Anyway, to answer your question, you can manually download all of the required packages for usb-modeswitch and install them with the “dpkg” command.

    Here is the Ubuntu 9.10 link:

    sudo dpkg -i usb-modeswitch*.deb

    This will install and then tell you what dependencies are missing. Go and download and install them too. Alternatively, take it to your local Linux user group and I’m sure someone will be able to help you in person.


  4. Hi There

    Tried your guide and unfortunately it didn’t work.

    It very briefly worked, I connected and the dongle was flashing blue. I however could not access the Internet.

    Took the dongle out and put it back in again but it didnt seem to automatically connect at all anymore.

    Refollowed your instructions and it didn’t work at all this time!


  5. Hi Jamie, I’m not sure of the current state because things have changed a lot. However, it has been fixed up stream, see here:

    Not sure how long that would take to filter down to you, but you could built it yourself 🙂

    Other than that, sometimes I’ve noticed it not working properly if you unplug it without rebooting.. Try rebooting, or restarting HAL or something.. see if that helps.


  6. I following this tut today but it didn’t work for my unfortunately, might not have followed it right but that’s the beside the point.

    What I found that DID work for Ubuntu 9.04 was when the device is mounted as a file system, right clicking and hitting Eject instead of Unmount or Remove Safely. For whatever reason that enabled it to detach the storage and power as a network adapter instead. If that works for more of you, good for a quick and easy way around it.

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