FreeBSD 9 and 3G Modems

Ivan Frosty ivanfrosty at
Wed Jan 25 06:49:11 UTC 2012

The FreeBSD u3g driver ¶¶

Introduction ¶¶
This driver supports 3G (UMTS, HSDPA, HSUPA, HSPA) cards that provide
access to one or more serial ports through a USB interface, providing
PPP and AT command channels simultaneously. Some devices provide
access to multiple pairs of channels for integrated GPS', or other
access methods (Option HSO driver).

Transfer speeds should be above 30k on a good UMTS connection and a
fast server:

% curl -o /dev/null
% Total    % Received % Xferd  Average Speed   Time    Time     Time    Current
Dload      Upload     Total                    Spent   Left             Speed
12 19.9M   12 2486k    0     0  40203      0  0:08:39  0:01:03  0:07:36 43921
Some (older) devices (from Sierra for example) provide 1 serial port
through a normal serial port or the normal serial USB drivers. They
usually support the ETSI / 3GPP 27.010 3GPPMultiplexProtocol, making
it possible to open a AT command channel and a PPP connection channel
simultaneously. A basic implementation which works on an Option
Globetrotter GPRS card is available. Contact me for details.

Verified to work ¶¶
See the man page.

Installation instructions ¶¶
The driver is available in both FreeBSD 7 and FreeBSD 8. The one in
FreeBSD 8 and up was written by Hans Petter Selasky. Consult
freebsd-usb@… for more information and bug reports.

The driver from FreeBSD 7 should be usable on FreeBSD 6, without too
many changes. You will need to patch ucom.c though with the attached
patch (see below).

Tricks ¶¶
To start your connection automatically use something like the
following snippet in your devd.conf:

  attach 100 {
    device-name "ucom[0-9]+";
    match "vendor" "0x12d1";
    match "product" "0x1003";
    action "/usr/sbin/ppp -ddial kpn";
Some people have been able to get their device to successfully switch
from driver mode to modem mode using  usb_modeswitch. You can compile
it on !FreeBSD with

    cc -L /usr/local/lib -I/usr/local/include -lusb -o usb_modeswitch
if you have libusb installed. The mass storage devices the devices
present should be available through ugen. Note that umass must not be
present in your kernel nor as a module (or it should be made to ignore
these devices).

To see signal strength for example while online:

Start ppp (See also PPPFor3GModems).

prolly that could help.........

On 1/24/12, Alejandro Imass <ait at> wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 10:56 AM, Odhiambo Washington
> <odhiambo at> wrote:
>> I am Google-ing for a recent definitive HOWTO use my 3G modem with
>> FreeBSD/PC-BSD and what I get seem rather old.
> Which one? You need to specifiy modem brand/model and network provider
> to see if other have got that particular one working. Also check the
> Linux crowd (Ubuntu in particular) and then extrapolate to FBSD.
>> Someone can point me to a recent document detailing the steps. I have
>> PC-BSD 9 on my laptop.
> Usually it's just a question of making the kernel mount the tty and
> the dial using something like wvdial. If it's popular and supported
> it's pretty easy, if not is still possible.
> Supporting the modem is usually a two layer problem first solving the
> multi-device problem on the USB bus, that is, selecting the correct
> device available (i.e. selecting the modem instead of the flash that
> contains the windows software), and then the actual kernel or
> userspace driver for that specific device (ZTE, Enfora, etc.).
> Ultimately, you get a serial modem and you just have to use AT command
> to dial, etc. and wvdial does a great job and it's quite easy to
> set-up and run.
> Good luck,
> --
> Alejandro
>> --
>> Best regards,
>> Odhiambo WASHINGTON,
>> Nairobi,KE
>> +254733744121/+254722743223
>> _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
>> I can't hear you -- I'm using the scrambler.
>> Please consider the environment before printing this email.
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