Using Nokia E51 on Ubuntu Karmic Koala as gsm modem with USB or bluetooth


I’ve noticed that some of the visit to website is due to google queries regarding how to use a Nokia E51 as a modem on an ubuntu box. While my previous how-to works with Ubuntu version prior Karmic, it wasn’t the case with Karmic. Fortunately, people at Canonical has made a vast improvement at the network manager, making using the E51 as (almost as) simple as a walk in the park

Creating connection

The first thing to do is to create a connection.

  1. Right click on the network manager icon on the top left, and choose “Edit Connections..”
  2. Navigate to the Mobile Broadband tab, and click “Add”
  3. Press “Forward” on the first page to skip picking up modem connection
  4. Pick your country at the “Choose your provider’s Country”, press forward
  5. Pick your ISP on the “Choose your provider” page. If it’s not listed, choose the “I can’t find my provider and wish to enter it manually”, press forward
  6. The next screen is “Choose your billing plan”. If you have a specific APN (given by your ISP), choose  “My plan is not listed…” from the drop down menu, and type in the APN on the “Selected plan APN (Access Pint Name):”, press forward
  7. Press Apply on the next screen
  8. Review the next screen. Consult your ISP regarding user, password, and APN name
Connection Properties

Connecting The Phone

There are two way you can use the nokia E51 as modem. The first one is using the provided mini-USB cable, and the second one is using bluetooth connection

1. Using mini-USB cable

Simply connect your PC with the phone, and set the E51 to PC Suite mode when prompted. This is usually the only necessary step required. To see whether your phone is detected as modem, left click on the network manager icon. The connection that we configured on the previous step should be listed under the Mobile Broadband section

Mobile Broadband

However, if your E51 is not detected, do the following step.

  1. Open a console, and type :
    surfer@m5-mobile:/$ lsusb

    The output should list the connected usb devices :

    Bus 006 Device 005: ID 0421:0042 Nokia Mobile Phones E51 (PC Suite mode)
    Bus 006 Device 003: ID 08ff:1600 AuthenTec, Inc. AES1600
    Bus 006 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
    Bus 008 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
    Bus 003 Device 003: ID 045e:028e Microsoft Corp. Xbox360 Controller Bus 003 Device 002: ID 045e:074f Microsoft Corp.
    Bus 003 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
    Bus 007 Device 002: ID 0930:0200 Toshiba Corp. Bus 007 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub Bus 002 Device 005: ID 04f2:b008 Chicony Electronics Co., Ltd USB 2.0 Camera
    Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
    Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
    Bus 005 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
    Bus 004 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub

    Notice that the USB id for the Nokia E51 is 0421:00042

  2. Again on the console, type:
    surfer@m5-mobile:/$ gksudo gedit /usr/share/hal/fdi/information/10freedesktop/10-modem.fdi

    Search for the string “nokia”. The first half of “0421:00042” which is “0421” refers to manufacturer code, in this case, is nokia, as written on the <match key=”@info.parent:usb.vendor_id” int=”0x421“> section. Now look for <match key=”@info.parent:usb.product_id” int_outof=”0x42;0x4f9;0x3d;0x64;0x2f….”>. This section list the device id for all supported nokia phones. Put “0x42” for the E51 device id.

  3. Clear the fdi cache by issuing command :
    sudo rm /var/cache/hald/fdi-cache

    And, reboot your system. The E51 should be recognized as a modem the next time you plug it into your PC

2. Using Bluetooth

Well, to tell you the truth, the built in bluetooth manager from Ubuntu sucks. Luckily, you can install blueman. First add Blueman’s PPA to your repository list. Open a terminal window and type :

surfer@m5-mobile:~$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:blueman/ppa

To install blueman, simply type :

surfer@m5-mobile:~$ sudo apt-get update

That will update the apt cache, then do

surfer@m5-mobile:~$ sudo apt-get install blueman

Once installed, blueman will replace the default bluetooth manager.

Go to System > Preferences > Bluetooth Manager. Set the E51 to be discoverable, and your phone should be detected, and listed :

In the screenie, My E51’s name is DemonBane. Highlight the phone, then press the Setup button to pair with the phone. On the next screen choose “Use Custom Passkey”, type in the passkey that you will use to pair with the phone, press forward. Complete the pairing step on your phone. On the next screen, choose “Dialup Networking (DUN)”. Press forward.

Ok, that should do it. Your phone should now be available for internet connection. Just like using the mini-USB, simply left-click on the network manager icon on the upper right of your screen, and choose the connection that we previously configure.

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