I picked up a new 3G/HSPA Broadband Wireless card last week, and I have been working on getting it going in the HP 2133 Mini-Note. Of course, I've had a Sierra Wireless AirCard 880 PCMCIA for quite some time, which I use with my Lifebook S6510, but the Mini-Note has an ExpressCard slot, rather than a PCMCIA slot, so I couldn't use the same card.
The new card is once again a Swisscom OEM unit, but this time under the covers it is an Option GE201 Globe Trotter Express. I first tried it with Windows XP Professional and the Swisscom OEM software, and of course that worked just fine. No surprise there. Then I started trying it with the various Linux distributions that I have loaded on the Mini-Note...
- openSuSE recognized the card, and created ttyHS[0-2] devices when it was inserted. Good start. Network Manager doesn't do anything automatically, but I was able to add it manually, which looked promising. But it fails to connect. I also tried setting up wvdial to use it, but couldn't get that working either.
- MEPIS 8.0 RC2 didn't seem to recognize or react to the card in any way. Bummer.
- Vector Linux also didn't react to the card at all. This is getting disappointing...
- Mandriva One 2009.0 recognized the card when it was inserted, and added a connection to the Network Center. This looked very promising... but when I try to connect, it fails. The lights on the card blink in a very strange way when it tries to connect, but that's about it.
At this point I was ready to give up, and just use the card with Windows as I used to have to with the Sierra Wireless card. Then I remembered that I still have Ubuntu 9.04 loaded on the Mini-Note, so I thought I would give it one last try... and this time, it just worked. When I inserted the card, Network Manager recognize it and added a connection for it. All I had to do was tell it that I am in Switzerland, using Swisscom. Then click on the 'Connect' button, wait about 15 seconds, and it connected. Just that easy, really. Amazing!
I don't know why it is always the last thing that I try which works... why can't it be the first thing once in a while?