10.3.3. Establishing a Mobile Broadband Connection

You can use NetworkManager's mobile broadband connection abilities to connect to the following 2G and 3G services:
  • 2G — GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) or EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution)
  • 3G — UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) or HSPA (High Speed Packet Access)
Your computer must have a mobile broadband device (modem), which the system has discovered and recognized, in order to create the connection. Such a device may be built into your computer (as is the case on many notebooks and netbooks), or may be provided separately as internal or external hardware. Examples include PC card, USB Modem or Dongle, mobile or cellular telephone capable of acting as a modem.

Procedure 10.3. Adding a New Mobile Broadband Connection

You can configure a mobile broadband connection by opening the Network Connections window, clicking Add, and selecting Mobile Broadband from the list.
  1. Right-click on the NetworkManager applet icon in the Notification Area and click Edit Connections. The Network Connections window appears.
  2. Click the Add button to open the selection list. Select Mobile Broadband and then click Create. The Set up a Mobile Broadband Connection assistant appears.
  3. Under Create a connection for this mobile broadband device, choose the 2G- or 3G-capable device you want to use with the connection. If the dropdown menu is inactive, this indicates that the system was unable to detect a device capable of mobile broadband. In this case, click Cancel, ensure that you do have a mobile broadband-capable device attached and recognized by the computer and then retry this procedure. Click the Forward button.
  4. Select the country where your service provider is located from the list and click the Forward button.
  5. Select your provider from the list or enter it manually. Click the Forward button.
  6. Select your payment plan from the dropdown menu and confirm the Access Point Name (APN) is correct. Click the Forward button.
  7. Review and confirm the settings and then click the Apply button.
  8. Edit the mobile broadband-specific settings by referring to the Configuring the Mobile Broadband Tab description below .

Procedure 10.4. Editing an Existing Mobile Broadband Connection

Follow these steps to edit an existing mobile broadband connection.
  1. Right-click on the NetworkManager applet icon in the Notification Area and click Edit Connections. The Network Connections window appears.
  2. Select the connection you want to edit and click the Edit button.
  3. Select the Mobile Broadband tab.
  4. Configure the connection name, auto-connect behavior, and availability settings.
    Three settings in the Editing dialog are common to all connection types:
    • Connection name — Enter a descriptive name for your network connection. This name will be used to list this connection in the Mobile Broadband section of the Network Connections window.
    • Connect automatically — Check this box if you want NetworkManager to auto-connect to this connection when it is available. See Section 10.2.3, “Connecting to a Network Automatically” for more information.
    • Available to all users — Check this box to create a connection available to all users on the system. Changing this setting may require root privileges. See Section 10.2.4, “User and System Connections” for details.
  5. Edit the mobile broadband-specific settings by referring to the Configuring the Mobile Broadband Tab description below .

Saving Your New (or Modified) Connection and Making Further Configurations

Once you have finished editing your mobile broadband connection, click the Apply button and NetworkManager will immediately save your customized configuration. Given a correct configuration, you can connect to your new or customized connection by selecting it from the NetworkManager Notification Area applet. See Section 10.2.1, “Connecting to a Network” for information on using your new or altered connection.
You can further configure an existing connection by selecting it in the Network Connections window and clicking Edit to return to the Editing dialog.
Then, to configure:

Configuring the Mobile Broadband Tab

If you have already added a new mobile broadband connection using the assistant (see Procedure 10.3, “Adding a New Mobile Broadband Connection” for instructions), you can edit the Mobile Broadband tab to disable roaming if home network is not available, assign a network ID, or instruct NetworkManager to prefer a certain technology (such as 3G or 2G) when using the connection.
Number
The number that is dialed to establish a PPP connection with the GSM-based mobile broadband network. This field may be automatically populated during the initial installation of the broadband device. You can usually leave this field blank and enter the APN instead.
Username
Enter the user name used to authenticate with the network. Some providers do not provide a user name, or accept any user name when connecting to the network.
Password
Enter the password used to authenticate with the network. Some providers do not provide a password, or accept any password.
APN
Enter the Access Point Name (APN) used to establish a connection with the GSM-based network. Entering the correct APN for a connection is important because it often determines:
  • how the user is billed for their network usage; and/or
  • whether the user has access to the Internet, an intranet, or a subnetwork.
Network ID
Entering a Network ID causes NetworkManager to force the device to register only to a specific network. This can be used to ensure the connection does not roam when it is not possible to control roaming directly.
Type
Any — The default value of Any leaves the modem to select the fastest network.
3G (UMTS/HSPA) — Force the connection to use only 3G network technologies.
2G (GPRS/EDGE) — Force the connection to use only 2G network technologies.
Prefer 3G (UMTS/HSPA) — First attempt to connect using a 3G technology such as HSPA or UMTS, and fall back to GPRS or EDGE only upon failure.
Prefer 2G (GPRS/EDGE) — First attempt to connect using a 2G technology such as GPRS or EDGE, and fall back to HSPA or UMTS only upon failure.
Allow roaming if home network is not available
Uncheck this box if you want NetworkManager to terminate the connection rather than transition from the home network to a roaming one, thereby avoiding possible roaming charges. If the box is checked, NetworkManager will attempt to maintain a good connection by transitioning from the home network to a roaming one, and vice versa.
PIN
If your device's SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) is locked with a PIN (Personal Identification Number), enter the PIN so that NetworkManager can unlock the device. NetworkManager must unlock the SIM if a PIN is required in order to use the device for any purpose.