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 Forum index » Advanced Topics » Hardware » Networking » Wireless
Trying to get ZTE MF710 dongle operational....[SOLVED-ish]
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Mike Walsh


Joined: 28 Jun 2014
Posts: 2921
Location: King's Lynn, UK.

PostPosted: Tue 05 Jul 2016, 16:18    Post subject:  Trying to get ZTE MF710 dongle operational....[SOLVED-ish]
Subject description: ...and it's an ODD one..!
 

Afternoon, all.

My mate's old Huawei K3565 3G broadband dongle is finally obsolete. Vodafone UK have decided that the broadband data packs they will sell to the public, will henceforth be 4G only, and need a 4G enabled device to function.

Which leaves him up the creek..!

So, he's gone out and bought himself a ZTE MF710M 3G dongle from O2 UK, who are a sub-division of Telefonica. Since he's a Puppy user nowadays (one of my first converts, in fact..!), this now means that I've been landed with the task of getting it up and running..... (since he also describes himself as a tech 'dinosaur')..! Rolling Eyes

He has to do everything by the mobile networks. He lives out in the middle of nowhere, right out in the Lincolnshire Fens.....one of the very few places in the UK where folk are still that spread out. His nearest neighbour is around 2 1/2 miles away. He made enquiries about having a landline put in several years ago; a decade back, he was quoted nearly £4,000 to have one laid on.....because the phone company can't subsidise costs in any way, since he would be the sole user.

Thank god for the mobile networks..!

---------------------------------------------------------------

Anyway; to summarise my research so far.

The read-out from 'lspci' in the terminal for this device is as follows:-

Code:
Bus 001 Device 027: ID 19d2:1405 ZTE WCDMA Technologies MSM


The device in question will switch on and show a desktop icon 'sro' for about 30 seconds.....then switches itself off again. After about 10 seconds, it switches on again.....and this loop repeats itself, ad nauseam.

Edit:- Actual fact, I'm starting to think this is partially to do with signal strength. Although we have both O2 and Vodafone masts within 3/4 of a mile from us here in Lynn, our precise location is a very poor one for signal strength; we're in a bit of a hollow, with a hillside behind us.....and three parts surrounded by what amounts to a small oak forest.

We live in a one storey bungalow, which means I can't get much in the way of height for the dongle itself. I normally attach it to the windowframe, about half-way up, with BluTak, and connect via a long USB extension lead. I've just moved it up around another two feet (right to the top), and.....it does now stay on all the time.

Now then, let's see what happens.....

------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is WEIRD. I've never seen a USB broadband dongle that describes itself as a WIRED USB CDC_ethernet device before. Is this common? Because it's connecting via the standard Network Setup; PGPRS Connect doesn't even come into the equation.....doesn't even see it. It's expecting /dev/ttyUSB0.....and what it's getting is /dev/ttySO (?)

Here's a screenie of that dongle profile in SNS, immediately prior to connection....)





Anyone else come across this before?

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Alright, then; in for a penny.....

1) Connect via SNS; Successful.....but disconnected after around 10 seconds, followed by the device's icon reappearing on the desktop, around 10-12 seconds later. Let's try again...

2) Repeat performance of the above.

3) Hmmm... Successful connection by SNS, this time connection lasts around 5 minutes, before losing itself; icon re-appears 15 seconds later. Try again...

4) Repeat of the first attempt....

(I think I'm gonna have to see if I can get a second extension, and locate this up in the top of the A-frame, up in the attic; at least that way, it'll simulate the height of my mate's office, up on the second floor of his house...)

At least there appears to be a driver for it in the kernel. There's hope yet.

Thoughts, anybody?


Mike. Wink

Last edited by Mike Walsh on Mon 11 Jul 2016, 16:43; edited 3 times in total
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rcrsn51


Joined: 05 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jul 2016, 16:22    Post subject:  

Instead of buying a USB dongle, can you get a portable WiFi hotspot device instead? This would make things much simpler.
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Mike Walsh


Joined: 28 Jun 2014
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Location: King's Lynn, UK.

PostPosted: Tue 05 Jul 2016, 16:41    Post subject:  

Evening, Bill.

rcrsn51 wrote:
Instead of buying a USB dongle, can you get a portable WiFi hotspot device instead? This would make things much simpler.


Well, I certainly won't argue that with you, since I've never quite understood the point of mobile wifi 'hotspots'. I can't see where it would help him, anyway; he doesn't want to connect multiple devices to the same network.....and it would be pointless in any case, since his phone and dongle are on different networks.

(I can see it might be a good idea if you were on the same network for all your devices.)

On top of all that, he does everything by pay-as-you-go; he absolutely refuses to go on contract billing. Won't hear of it. (???) Don't ask me why; you'd have to ask him that..!

He's just spent a tad over C$100 on a dongle with a year's pre-paid credit on it (considering the outrageous prices UK ISPs charge for pre-paid data credit, this is actually quite a good way to buy it. I believe the biggest chunk of that was the cost of the SIM card.)

It appears to work (in short bursts!) It's not a complete wash-out, by any means. I need to try it on site at his location before I know for definite whether it'll serve the purpose. His office is quite a bit higher above ground level than our bungalow.....and he's surrounded by miles of totally clear space. Which should be good for reception, of course.

We'll see.


Mike. Wink

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starhawk

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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jul 2016, 18:01    Post subject:  

Just a thought... this is what I'd try, but I'm a bit wacky when it comes to things.

Navigate to /etc/udev/rules.d directory and open in Geany (etc) the file 52-usb_modem_puppy.rules.

At the bottom of the file, append the following text. PUT IN THE ACTUAL MAC ADDRESS OF THE BLASTED THING don't just copy and paste.

Code:
KERNEL=="ttySO", ATTR{address}=="{insert MAC addy here}", NAME="ttyUSB0" SYMLINK="ttyUSB1"


Save, and reboot WITH THE DONGLE ATTACHED. See if PGPRS Connect sees it.

Also, I found this thread way over here which may or may not be of some use.

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greengeek


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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jul 2016, 18:47    Post subject: Re: Trying to get ZTE MF710 3G broadband dongle operational....
Subject description: ...and it's an ODD one..!
 

Mike Walsh wrote:
My mate's old Huawei K3565 3G broadband dongle is finally obsolete. Vodafone UK have decided that the broadband data packs they will sell to the public, will henceforth be 4G only, and need a 4G enabled device to function... So, he's gone out and bought himself a ZTE MF710M 3G dongle from O2 UK
I don't have one of these so my comments might not be worth a sack of kidney beans but here we go:

1) That device does not seem to be listed as a 4G capable device so is that definitely what he got (in order to use 4G) or could he actually need a different device to get 4G?

2) This website: https://www.o2.co.uk/shop/mobile-broadband/zte/mf710m-3g-mobile-broadband-dongle/ also says the following:
Quote:
You don't have to worry about dealing with any difficult software to get your Dongle started, everything can be managed straight from your browser.
That - along with what you have highlighted as this being called a wired CDC ethernet device makes me think this device has a combo interface - ie: it is like a usb to ethernet converter attached to an ethernet to 3G converter and uses the ethernet interface - via browser - to allow the user to do configuration.
(If it needed software to allow configuration then I think the pgprs methods would be appropriate but i suspect they aren't).

3) The fact that you connected vis sns suggests that you don't need pgprs anyway doesn't it? I would be looking for information about how exactly one uses the browser to control the device. Maybe it has a default IP address similar to a router/internet modem.

4) Given that you had it connected and it then dropped out I think you have one of the two following problems:
- i) Potentially bad signal as you mentioned.
- ii) One of the usual weird Puppy network dropouts that rear their ugly random heads and usually require something like peasy wifi (combined with removal of frisbee) to solidify the connection.

The question is - if it reports itself as usb0 how do you get peasy wifi to connect? Is it as easy as changing wlan0 to usb0 in the peasy wifi config?? (EDIT - now that I think about it you won't be using the wifi side of Peasy - you would be using Peasy to control a wired device so you'd presumably be changing eth0 or eth1 to usb0 in the config file. It's been a while since i used Peasy for wired so I don't know about it's current capabilities or methods)

Worth a go. Treat the device like any wired connection and see what happens (maybe compare the old peasy using dhcpcd with the new peasy using uhcpd...)

If you do go down the route of having to decode what the heck the usb side of this device is doing I would add the following link to the one Starhawk already provided:

http://www.draisberghof.de/usb_modeswitch/bb/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=2186

Last edited by greengeek on Tue 05 Jul 2016, 19:25; edited 3 times in total
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greengeek


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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jul 2016, 18:51    Post subject: Re: Trying to get ZTE MF710 3G broadband dongle operational....
Subject description: ...and it's an ODD one..!
 

Mike Walsh wrote:
The device in question will switch on and show a desktop icon 'sro' for about 30 seconds.....then switches itself off again. After about 10 seconds, it switches on again.....and this loop repeats itself, ad nauseam.:
I think that behaviour indicates that the stick contains a "CD emulator" which would store the .ini self installer for a windows installation. Every so often it makes the system think there is an optical disc (sr0) available to be read. (Wild guess territory)
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starhawk

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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jul 2016, 18:56    Post subject:  

...and if you can grab the *.ini file, you can use ndiswrapper if nothing else.

...or so I seem to remember from my Ubuntu days. Mind you that was 2007-8! Wink

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tallboy


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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jul 2016, 21:06    Post subject:  

I don't know if this will confuse more than it will help, but here goes anyway: Very Happy
I have a Huawei USB-stick modem now, but I used to have a ZTE MF636. It is a USB memory-stick modem doubling as a memory stick. Pure hell! I use LupuPlus 5.2.8-001.

The procedure for both:
1) Right-click the Connect symbol, and choose Execute the Internet Connection Wizard
2) In the Wizard, choose Pupdial as the preferred choise for next time you click the Connect symbol, and close.

The procedure for ZTE:
1) Insert modem, it eventually comes up as a disc symbol, for example sr1.
2) Click the disc symbol to mount it, and immediately unmount it.
The disc symbol disappears, and after a short while comes back as a USB memory-stick symbol, for example sdb1.

The procedure for Huawei:
1) Insert modem, in comes up as a disc symbol for a very short time, and disappear again, but after some time comes back as a disc symbol, for example sr1, and remains on the desktop.

From now on, the procedures are similar.
1) Clicking Connect will now open Pupdial
2) Line status on the left side - I disable them all, and then enter my PIN
3) In account 1; set Phone/Access number to *99#
4) If you have a username and password, you may enter them, if not, leave them settings alone
5) Add your Wireless APN.
6) I activate Stupid mode, and disable Auto reconnect
I leave all other setting as they appear.
6) Click the Exit button. (I think it is important not just to close the window, but to use the Exit button, it then writes your info to /etc/wvdial.conf)

1) Open /etc/wvdial.conf. You will see the entries you made in Pupdial, but the top line should be modiffied to Modem = /dev/ttyUSB0
2) Save and close

1) Click Connect to reopen pupdial. At the top it should read Selected Modem Device Interface: /dev/ttyUSB0
2) Click Test/Select You should now get a positive answer, the modem is recognized
3) Click the Connect button in Pupdial
Now my modems act strange, they connect but immediately hangs up, and you get a message to try again.
3) Click the Connect button in Pupdial again
You should now have a connection to the wide open world web! Hurrah! Shocked
(on several occasions, at this point X now crashes, I have to physically power off my Linuxbox, and start the sh... all over again. Yabbadabbadoo!)

You should also remember to open the Internet menu, and choose and enable Stay Connected to Internet.

If your modem is not recognized as ttyUSB0, try 1,2,3 and 4. So much for automatic recognition of a modem...Hah!
I really hope you'll connect!

tallboy

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Last edited by tallboy on Tue 05 Jul 2016, 21:17; edited 2 times in total
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Mike Walsh


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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jul 2016, 21:12    Post subject:  

Hi, guys.

Sorry to be a while getting back to y'all. I've been making a nuisance of myself on BleepingComputer.com, and taking the p*** out of their snotty rules & regulations. I'm bloody certain Lawrence Abrams never envisaged it turning into quite the juggernaut it's become, full of 'little Hitlers', when he originally founded it back in 2003/4..!

I fully expect my account to be suspended any day now. I'm too used to our laid-back, easy-going style here on the Puppy Forums; rigid rules & regulations don't appeal to my inner 'geek', I'm afraid!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

@starhawk:-

Meant to supply this earlier on. Attached to the bottom of this post you will find a tar.gz file. When you click on the 'sr0' icon on the desktop (while it's showing itself, that is!), there's three folders; Windows, Mac, and Linux; this is from the Linux one. Have a look at it; I'm pretty certain that most of what is contained therein is actually config stuff & executables for the 'Broadband Manager', which is a web interface where you can control the thing while it's operational. Inside that you will find further tar.gz files, and various install.sh stuff'n'things.

I had a look at this thing in XP initially; I figured it ought to work in Windows, if nowhere else. Mind you, this was before I repositioned the dongle, and obtained a 'steady state'. Even in Windows, it was dropping out & re-connecting every few seconds.

Most of it is /bin, /usr & /data directories. You may well be right about the Windows .ini file, though I haven't as yet, looked in the 'Windows' directory.

@greengeek:-

Interesting you should have discovered the 'draiserberg; USB' forum; I also came across it earlier on, although not the particular page you've linked to. I see there's one post at the bottom there where the MF710M is described as a hybrid ethernet device. And when you connect it in XP, and at the same time, watch what happens in 'Network Connections' while it's connecting, dropping out & re-connecting, it comes up, every time, as a 'local' ethernet connection (not a 'Mobile broadband device', which is how the Huawei K3565 appears.) Which kinda confirms what you yourself pre-supposed; PGPRS doesn't seem to be necessary at all for this beastie.

On one occasion, it stayed connected for all of 7 minutes. Which lends credence to what I've theorized about signal strength; the old Vodafone K3565 has only ever had a 'poor' signal quality when I've tried it here at home.....and the mast for that is literally just across t'other side of the field behind the house, yet once again masked by all the trees around us. So; I don't know. I still think we need to wait and see exactly what its performance is like when we try it out over at my mate's; reception ought to be a lot better there. The only reason I've got it is because he's in his late 60's, and quite candidly describes himself as a tech ' dinosaur'. I run the same Puppies I installed on his desktop, so we thought I might just just as well figure out the settings, etc, before I next see him; he only ever uses the thing on my visits over there.

(Weird, eh? Laughing )


Mike. Wink
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Mike Walsh


Joined: 28 Jun 2014
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Location: King's Lynn, UK.

PostPosted: Tue 05 Jul 2016, 21:24    Post subject:  

Hi, tallboy.

Nah, mate, all contributions gratefully received..! Funny you should mention about 'Exiting' from PupDial, etc; I tried out a USB install of Lighthouse64 'Mariner' when I was last over there (this was using the Huawei K3565). Pupdial got me on-line just fine, having filled in all the relevant boxes.....but every time I clicked to 'Close window but stay connected', the connection would immediately drop out.

I use four virtual desktops. I figured out it would be better to start PupDial & connect in desktop #4, then leave the window open and running. Whadd'ya know? No more disconnection! Crazy, huh..?

I'll certainly give your method a try, but it'll be tomorrow some time; it's 2.30 am here in the UK.....time for me to head up the 'wooden hill', I'm afraid. I run LuperSuper2 myself, after initially installing it just to help somebody else with a problem. I'm glad I did; it runs Photoshop CS2 under WINE faster than the thing runs natively in XP! Quite astonishing.

I'll post back and let you know what happens. Cheers for the info.


Mike. Wink

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greengeek


Joined: 20 Jul 2010
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jul 2016, 21:43    Post subject:  

It might be worth having a crack at installing the install.sh that is in that tar. There is a post from 01micko here which suggests running the installer that is present on the stick (different manufacturer device though).

The package contains a .desktop entry to start the O2.3G dongle application and the exec line is as follows:
Code:
Exec=nohup firefox http://o2.3gdongle

...which looks as if it is designed to connect to a web interface inside the stick maybe?. It would be interesting while you have the stick plugged in if you could use firefox (or whatever browser you have) and enter http://o2.3gdongle into the url field and see if anything happens. Not sure how the dns would discover it though.

EDIT : The cmconfig.ini file contains the following:
Code:
[DEVICE]
VID=v19D2
PID=p1405
OPEN_URL=http://o2.3gdongle
[PCCLIENT]
MAX_TRY_BEFORE_MANUL=10
IPADDR_BYMANUL=192.168.0.1
DELAY_TIME=5

So it might be worth entering 192.168.0.1 into your browser URL field and see what happens (or doesn't happen)

It may be that the installer shell might need to be puppified but as far as I can tell it wants to run as root and installs in /opt so it might be fine. It also appears to install a udev rule to handle the CD part so maybe that will solve the sr0 popup.

The launch gui.sh script looks like it might get its knickers in a twist if the distro or user profile setup are not as expected. Who knows what effect that might have.

When you said it connected for 7 minutes did you mean that you were able to surf websites for that time? If so then maybe none of this other palaver is needed. Might just be the signal issue. (EDIT : Nah, the more I re-read your symptoms the more i think starhawk is right - without the appropriate udev rule it's just going to keep popping up as an optical drive . Sounds like that's what is causing the disconnection)
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Mike Walsh


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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul 2016, 07:47    Post subject:  

Morning, everybody.

Well, we appear to have a slightly mixed bag of results; but on the whole, I think I can report success.

I've tested in the following 3 Pups, which I've currently installed on my mate's old Dell PC, and which work without issue on there:-

1) ETP's 'Chromebook' Pup, based on 'Precise' 571 with the Openbox window manager.

2) rg66's X-Slacko 2.3.2 (classic 570 w/XFCE).

3) tazoc's Lighthouse 64 'Mariner' Edition.

------------------------------------------------------------------

In the case of 1) and 2) (32-bitzers), I've used a combination of suggestions. Having plugged the MF710M in, and waited for the icon to show itself on the desktop, I then followed Tallboy's advice to mount it, and immediately unmount it. All well and good. The icon (I believe it shows as a disk, because it has a micro SD card slot) then disappears.

Having tried with PupDial and got absolutely nowhere (which I suspected would happen, since this is being seen by Puppy as a USB-connected Ethernet device, rather than a modem) I then decided to try Dougal's.

'Eth0' and 'usb0' are both showing. Click on 'usb0'.

Click on 'test for live interface'; immediately successful.

'Proceed to acquire DHCP address'. Clicked on 'Auto DHCP', and within 10 seconds, it was connected. Tried Chrome, and got about 2 minutes into the session, when it dropped out. Clicked on 'Reconnect', and this was 45 mins ago. Been browsing ever since, apparently quite happily! I'm posting this from X-Slacko 2.3.2 right now, via the MF710M.

Perhaps this single drop-out was to allow config files to get updated? I don't know. I'm still inclined to think it's more to do with signal strength; even my mobile has had the same problem here over the years. We get short, periodic spells when the signal becomes non-existent for anything up to 36 hours or so.....then it's right back up again, like nothing's happened. My mobile is, however, on a different network again to either of the dongles; 'EE', which was formed around 3 years ago by the merger of Hutchison Orange & T-Mobile.

Could be to do with the gradual updating of the UK's phone mast infrastructure; the East of England has been undergoing major updating over the last couple of years. It's been the last part of the UK to receive high-speed broadband, too.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

As for LH64 'Mariner', well.....I don't quite know what to make of it. It exhibits precisely the same behaviour as it does in Windows. You dis-connect from eth0, and it straight away attempts to auto-connect (which it does) but spends more of its time dropping out, and re-connecting, than it does actually connected. And you can't modify this behaviour with any of the wizards.

The old Vodafone K3565 happily connected via PupDial, since the system sees it as a wireless modem.....but the ZTE doesn't seem to fit into any of the 'niches'. Well, it does with 32-bit Pups.....as an ethernet device.

The 64-bitzers, ah...d'you know, I've had this same problem in both Tahr64 and Slacko64 with the old K3565. You can acquire a connection through PGPRS without any problem; but when you open a browser (any browser, it makes no difference) it says there's no internet connection. I don't think I'm the only one with this problem, neither; I've seen various reports around the Forum on the issue of PGPRS and the 64-bit Pups in recent months. Even Micko's 'PGPRS2' doesn't work with it.

Wired and wireless LAN connections work great with both; rock-solid. Very Happy

Something in the 64-bit Pups doesn't seem to like wireless modems. I don't know if this is at a fundamental level somewhere, or whether it's related to the slew of changes that have been implemented across the board with Tahr64 and Slacko64. Food for thought, perhaps?

Obviously, I'd like my mate to be on 64-bit, for the additional security it offers.....but the 32-bit Pups seem to be working at the moment, so they'll do as a stopgap, until this gets figured out.

Thanks, everybody, for your suggestions. Appreciated.


Mike. Wink

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rcrsn51


Joined: 05 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul 2016, 08:00    Post subject:  

Mike Walsh wrote:
The 64-bitzers, ah...d'you know, I've had this same problem in both Tahr64 and Slacko64 with the old K3565. You can acquire a connection through PGPRS without any problem; but when you open a browser (any browser, it makes no difference) it says there's no internet connection.

Run "ifconfig". Do you have a valid IP address, as opposed to a bogus 169.254.x.y?

Check the file /etc/resolv.conf. Does it have a "nameserver" line?
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Mike Walsh


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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul 2016, 09:11    Post subject:  

Afternoon, Bill.

More success! I'm posting this from Tahr64, via the ZTE MF710M. I followed the same procedure as above, with one exception; I didn't mount/unmount the device prior to running Dougal's. I just went straight into 'Dougal's' after the icon showed itself on the desktop, and configured and set up 'usbo' under 'AutoDHCP'. And it works.

Why the mount/unmount appears to be necessary for the 32-bit Pups, I couldn't say.

I've had a look in /etc/resolv.conf. There is a nameserver showing there.....but it appears to be the one from my 'Eth0' connection; 192.168.1.1. the one from the ZTE is configured as 192.168.3.1.....but how come it's not showing, considering that currently it's obviously working?

I'm now thinking there's probably no need to run 'ifconfig'. What do you think? I'm still bemused by the idea of a wireless device that is seen by Puppy as a wired Ethernet connection..! Most unusual.


Mike. Wink

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rcrsn51


Joined: 05 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul 2016, 09:25    Post subject:  

When the DHCP client program ran, it probably found a DNS server on your Ethernet connection before it checked the modem and used it in resolv.conf.

Disconnect your Ethernet cable. Reboot. Connect the modem. Check resolv.conf again.
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