Sierra Wireless AirCard 595 Configuration (SprintPCS)

Got my hands on a SprintPCS Sierra Wireless AirCard 595 for testing out connectivity under linux (Xubuntu 6.10, to be precise (and now Debian Etch)) – works perfectly 🙂

Plug the card in, and dmesg should show similar to:

[17188167.136000] pccard: CardBus card inserted into slot 0
[17188167.212000] ohci_hcd: 2005 April 22 USB 1.1 'Open' Host Controller (OHCI) Driver (PCI)
[17188167.216000] PCI: Enabling device 0000:16:00.0 (0000 -> 0002)
[17188167.216000] ACPI: PCI Interrupt 0000:16:00.0[A] -> GSI 16 (level, low) -> IRQ 169
[17188167.216000] PCI: Setting latency timer of device 0000:16:00.0 to 64
[17188167.216000] ohci_hcd 0000:16:00.0: OHCI Host Controller
[17188167.216000] ohci_hcd 0000:16:00.0: new USB bus registered, assigned bus number 6
[17188167.216000] ohci_hcd 0000:16:00.0: irq 169, io mem 0xe6000000
[17188167.300000] usb usb6: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
[17188167.300000] hub 6-0:1.0: USB hub found
[17188167.300000] hub 6-0:1.0: 1 port detected
[17188167.404000] PCI: Enabling device 0000:16:00.1 (0000 -> 0002)
[17188167.404000] ACPI: PCI Interrupt 0000:16:00.1[B] -> GSI 16 (level, low) -> IRQ 169
[17188167.404000] PCI: Setting latency timer of device 0000:16:00.1 to 64
[17188167.404000] ohci_hcd 0000:16:00.1: OHCI Host Controller
[17188167.404000] ohci_hcd 0000:16:00.1: new USB bus registered, assigned bus number 7
[17188167.404000] ohci_hcd 0000:16:00.1: irq 169, io mem 0xe6001000
[17188167.488000] usb usb7: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
[17188167.488000] hub 7-0:1.0: USB hub found
[17188167.488000] hub 7-0:1.0: 1 port detected
[17188168.532000] ohci_hcd 0000:16:00.0: wakeup
[17188168.916000] usb 6-1: new full speed USB device using ohci_hcd and address 2
[17188169.128000] usb 6-1: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice

In order to use it as a modem, we need to find the vendor and product ID’s and fire up the USB serial device, as follows:

mshuler@kokopelli:~$ lsusb
Bus 006 Device 002: ID 1199:0019 Sierra Wireless, Inc.
mshuler@kokopelli:~$ sudo modprobe usbserial vendor=0x1199 product=0x0019

Another check of dmesg should show:

[17188531.644000] usbcore: registered new driver usbserial
[17188531.648000] drivers/usb/serial/usb-serial.c: USB Serial support registered for generic
[17188531.648000] usbserial_generic 6-1:1.0: generic converter detected
[17188531.648000] usb 6-1: generic converter now attached to ttyUSB0
[17188531.648000] usb 6-1: generic converter now attached to ttyUSB1
[17188531.648000] usb 6-1: generic converter now attached to ttyUSB2
[17188531.648000] usbcore: registered new driver usbserial_generic
[17188531.648000] drivers/usb/serial/usb-serial.c: USB Serial Driver core

In /etc/modprobe.d/options I added the following line so that the module loads up automagically:

options usbserial vendor=0x1199 product=0x0019

Set up peer and chat scripts and start PPP – I have been using the following, flawlessly, this afternoon:

mshuler@kokopelli:~$ cat /etc/ppp/peers/sprint
# You usually need this if there is no PAP authentication
# The chat script
connect "/usr/sbin/chat -v -f /etc/ppp/peers/sprint_chat"
# Set up routing to go through this PPP link
# Use remote DNS
# Default modem
# Connect at high speed
lcp-echo-failure 4
lcp-echo-interval 65535
mshuler@kokopelli:~$ cat /etc/ppp/peers/sprint_chat
'' \rAT
OK ATD#777
mshuler@kokopelli:~$ pon sprint

/var/log/syslog should show similar to:

Dec 5 17:02:56 kokopelli pppd[7175]: pppd 2.4.4 started by mshuler, uid 1000
Dec 5 17:02:56 kokopelli chat[7177]: timeout set to 5 seconds
Dec 5 17:02:56 kokopelli chat[7177]: abort on (\nBUSY\r)
Dec 5 17:02:56 kokopelli chat[7177]: abort on (\nERROR\r)
Dec 5 17:02:56 kokopelli chat[7177]: abort on (\nNO ANSWER\r)
Dec 5 17:02:56 kokopelli chat[7177]: abort on (\nNO CARRIER\r)
Dec 5 17:02:56 kokopelli chat[7177]: abort on (\nNO DIALTONE\r)
Dec 5 17:02:56 kokopelli chat[7177]: abort on (\nRINGING\r\n\r\nRINGING\r)
Dec 5 17:02:56 kokopelli chat[7177]: send (^MAT^M)
Dec 5 17:02:56 kokopelli chat[7177]: timeout set to 12 seconds
Dec 5 17:02:56 kokopelli chat[7177]: expect (OK)
Dec 5 17:02:56 kokopelli chat[7177]: ^M
Dec 5 17:02:56 kokopelli chat[7177]: OK
Dec 5 17:02:56 kokopelli chat[7177]: -- got it
Dec 5 17:02:56 kokopelli chat[7177]: send (ATD#777^M)
Dec 5 17:02:56 kokopelli chat[7177]: timeout set to 60 seconds
Dec 5 17:02:56 kokopelli chat[7177]: expect (CONNECT)
Dec 5 17:02:56 kokopelli chat[7177]: ^M
Dec 5 17:03:00 kokopelli chat[7177]: ^M
Dec 5 17:03:00 kokopelli chat[7177]: CONNECT
Dec 5 17:03:00 kokopelli chat[7177]: -- got it
Dec 5 17:03:00 kokopelli chat[7177]: send (^M)
Dec 5 17:03:00 kokopelli pppd[7175]: Serial connection established.
Dec 5 17:03:00 kokopelli pppd[7175]: Using interface ppp0
Dec 5 17:03:00 kokopelli pppd[7175]: Connect: ppp0 <--> /dev/ttyUSB0
Dec 5 17:03:01 kokopelli pppd[7175]: Cannot determine ethernet address for proxy ARP
Dec 5 17:03:01 kokopelli pppd[7175]: local IP address
Dec 5 17:03:01 kokopelli pppd[7175]: remote IP address
Dec 5 17:03:01 kokopelli pppd[7175]: primary DNS address
Dec 5 17:03:01 kokopelli pppd[7175]: secondary DNS address

Happy roaming!

50 thoughts on “Sierra Wireless AirCard 595 Configuration (SprintPCS)”

  1. Thank you! With your directions and some simple modifications I got my aircard 595 working in ubuntu 7.04.

    Now I look like a hero at work! 🙂


  2. Thank you as well. I have my Sprint USB 595SU AirCard plugged into my nano-itx machine running DSL (Damn Small Linux) and it runs great! I am using it now to write this in fact.

    The one caveat that might help others, is that I could not get this to work until I removed an existing default route that I had created – “route add default gw eth0”. Until I removed the existing default gateway, linux was going to eth0 and not ppp0 when I tried to use the internet.

    I hope this is a helpful note.


  3. Ahh, my setup went bad at the very end.
    I’m getting this in my syslog:

    Connect: ppp0 /dev/ttyUSB0
    Could not determine local IP address
    Connect time 0.1 minutes.
    Sent 69 bytes, received 48 bytes.
    Connection terminated.
    Modem hangup

    Any advice?

  4. I believe the card may require activation… which can only be done on a Windows machine using the installation CD.

    I’m gonna try and see how it goes…

  5. Oh, I didnt see your reply…

    I’m using Verizon.
    The “Could not determine local IP address” was the only error


    There were a few things that I had to do to get going…

    1. Activate the AirCard on a Windows machine
    2. Hardcode the destination server’s IP in the /etc/ppp/peers/sprint file… the server then assigns me a local IP.
    3. add a default ppp route using “route add default ppp0”

  7. See which is the official Sierra Wireless knowledge base page on getting the 595 to work in Linux. Apparently they provide drivers to the kernel. As my machine automagically detected my card and loaded the driver things seem to be coming along pretty quickly, too. (Running ubuntu 7.04 with updated kernel.) I still had to activate the card over the phone and in windows (with Verizon), but I didn’t need to hardcode the server IP (no idea where you get that anyway) or add default, ppp seems to do that for me anyway with the defaultroute statement. The above ppp and chat scripts worked for me verbatim.


  8. Got this working in under 5 mins on my sabayon (gentoo) lappy using a ac595 (verizon service) card. Thanks a ton for the article and saving me hours of head banging and hacking. Happy hacking!

  9. Thanks ! Sprint 595, OpenSuse 10.2 on my X60. I had just about given up getting the card to work.. google to the rescue, or more correctly, google to to the rescue.
    Like Ben, I had to reboot as well.

  10. My card functions in Ubuntu 7.04, but it is very slow. In Windows XP I get download speeds of about 2000Mbit/s and upload of about 800kbps. In Linux I can only get about 70kbps down, and about 200kbps upload. Given the upload speed I don’t think I’m in 1xRTT mode and my signal strength is excellent. I’m on the Bell Mobility network in Ontario

  11. I’m kinda desperate to get EVDO speeds under linux, so I’m willing to pay if someone could help me figure it out. Let’s say $100

  12. I found an interesting post on – seems that OpenSuse 10.3 has the right kernel bits for full EVDO bandwidth:

    I am primarily a Debian user, but it will be interesting to see what patches SuSE has included. I will grab a src.rpm and take a look when I get a chance (work and RL take precidence, at the moment..) 😉

  13. Not sure what happened, but all of a sudden, I can get EVDO speeds now under linux. I tried many times with a couple OS’s in many different places, and always had super slow speeds in Linux compared to WINXP, but now, looks like Bell Mobility might have done something on their end perhaps, because it’s working great now.

  14. Nice, Steve.

    I did some speed testing on my Debian Etch lappy when you posted (last month..) and saw decent throughput compared to others on Sprint EVDO, but never did get around to digging through SuSE’s kernel source. Glad to hear that you are getting nice speeds.

    Kind Regards.

  15. Using the latest Ubuntu release, Dell Dimesnion and Sprint, it detects the USB card as a Sierra, but it seems that the driver fails to load.

    I have /etc/modprobe.d/options changed as your example.

    When I try this at the CL:
    sudo modprobe usbserial vendor=0x1199 product=0x0019…………

    “FATAL ERROR inserting usbserial (lib/modules/2.6.22-14-generic/kernel/drivers/usb/serial/usbserial.ko): Invalid argument

    Thank you

  16. David, since you indicate kernel 2.6.22 is detecting the card, I don’t think you need to load up usbserial. I am currently running Debian Etch with kernel 2.6.18, and the card “Just Works”, without the module hack for older kernels. All you should need to do is work on your PPP configs 😉

    Kind Regards.

  17. Michael,

    I found out the problem and it might be of interest to other people that put Linux on older computers.

    Reinstalled Windows XP on the Dimension and while loading a few drivers with an USB memory stick, it complained about a high speed device in a low speed USB port. Started having a bad feeling about this, but still installed the Windows drivers for the Sierra wireless modem.

    The Sierra modem was recognized and the drivers installed, but it hung when it came time to connect just as it did under Ubuntu. Sent off for a few PCI cards with USB 2.0 ports and installed one in the Dimension. This time the Sierra modem connected.

    I have another computer with Ubuntu and still have an extra card with USB 2.0 ports if needed. So will give the Sierra install under Linux another shot because the problem was with older hardware that has now been corrected.

    Thank you

  18. I’ll be buying a Sierra card over the next few days, to use with Telus in Ontario.

    Does anyone have any comments on which is better: the Sierra 597E (ExpressCard), 595 (PCMCIA) or 595U (USB) for Linux 2.6.22 (Fedora Core 6)? I’m tempted to go with the USB version (so that I can easily move the receiver near a window), but would get either of the other 2 if someone can indicate which are more likely to work under Linux. Thanks!

  19. Yay! It worked under Linux, first time!

    I bought the Sierra Wireless 595U (USB) modem from Telus Mobility, and did the automatic activatation under Windows. After rebooting into Linux 2.6.22, the modem was automatically detected by the “sierra” driver — the modprobe step was not needed. I then used the Gnome “Network Configuration” tool to create a Modem profile. It didn’t list /dev/ttyUSB0 in the drop-down device list, so I entered it manually, selected 230400 as the baud rate, “#777” as the phone number, and had to put in a dummy login name (“-“) and password. I clicked Activate, it dialed and connected.

    Thanks to everyone for their comments on how to set this up!

  20. Thank you for posting this…it has been a ton of help!! I was able to get my Sierra 595 Sprint card working and surfing on the web. However when I got home and turned my computer back on it didn’t connect! ARG!! I didn’t change anything or reconfigure or install anything from the time I shut it down to the time I rebooted. Anything anyone can do to help me out?? My ifconfig shows that drive there, but no packets being sent, and mmodinfo also shows the correct drive….I still have it configured the same way as when it worked before..same dial up number and all.

  21. I recently made the switch from HughesNet *gag* to Sprint broadband on the 595u. My server is running Debian Etch 4.0 and had no problems detecting the modem and connect with GnomePPP! Thank you!

    One question though, can you tell me how or point me to a place that shows how to use the pppd connection as a shared connection for the rest of my network? ie. *cringe* ICSing *cringe* …

  22. Awesome! Works great with my Aircard 596. A couple of minor tweaks for my Red Hat system, but it worked. I’m planning to add a wireless router, using the notes you added on 3/6/08.

    Thank you so much for putting this info together. You saved me some valuable time.

    (I loved the blog entry about Roxane’s note to home. Very cute!)

  23. Scott, you might need to adjust your ppp configs a bit – I’m not sure, but there is another Verizon comment above. Otherwise the card and ppp are the same tools – a dial-up network device and a way to interact with said device. Just to reiterate, a modern kernel version will load the right module for you upon inserting the card, so there should be no need to muck about with modprobe options, unless you are way behind the times 😉 Other than that, it’s just a matter of figuring out the right number to dial and if your provider requires some sort of username/password.

  24. It Worked for the telus sierra aircard 595 too. Had to remove the ^M charachters after copying from windows txt file.


  25. Sorry Missed some info.

    1. Ubuntu Gusty 7.10
    2. The serial driver was already loaded
    3. Just needed the scripts
    4. Provider Telus in Ontario Canada
    5. Sierra aircard 595

    Yes it Works in Gusty Ubuntu 7.10


  26. Hi Robin – the driver is in the current Linux kernel – there is no download. If you are talking about running the card on Windows, then you will need to either grab your provider’s software package or go to Sierra Wireless’ web site.

    Sorry, I don’t do Windows 😉

    Kind Regards

  27. Can you run the Sierra Wireless 595 card directly from a PCMCIA slot ?

    How do you do that ?

    Thank you very much.

  28. Thank you very much. This worked like a charm and allowed me to connect to Verizon on my first attempt using your exact instructions above in Ubuntu 8.04 beta.

  29. I’m a Newbee to Linux and would like to install my Aircard 595, it works good under windows xp, I’ve installed openSuse 10.3 and can’t get it running, any help

  30. Thanks so much for posting this. Never take it down! It’s too valuable for anyone with this card. I”m running my sprint 595 card with Ubuntu 8.04 Hairy Haggis. It works great but every time I open Firefox or Thunderbird, they start in offline mode. I have to manually set them to work online to get anywhere. Any ideas?

  31. Lulz – this has “Just Worked” with no tweaks needed for a long time 🙂

    This was originally written back when most distros were using kernel version 2.6.8.

    Anything using > ~2.6.16 (not certain for sure) needs nothing more than configuring either some ppp gui with a phone number, or the ppp scripts above still work peachy 😉

  32. I’m trying to use the Sierra Wireless Aircard 595 in an IBM Thinkpad R60e with RHEL version 2.6.9-42.EL installed. I’m a Linux newbie, and I’m trying to use this card in my lab using linux instead of Windows. Your steps don’t seem to be working. The card turns on and appears to lock onto an EVDO carrier, but I can’t get it configured properly. Any suggestions?

  33. I get “In file /etc/ppp/peers/sprint: unrecognized option ‘/dev/ttyUSB0” when I do the “sudo pon sprint”. I’m running ubuntu 8.10 alternative-powerpc-ps3 (yah, I’m running it on my PS3). Any suggestions/insults to my intelligence? Please keep them simple and detailed. I’m new to linux.

  34. I suspect there are going to be a whole bunch of folks in the coming months who are not going to be able to get their sierra wireless cards to work when they upgrade (distro or kernel). There appears to be a significant problem for those who are using 64-bit OS with more than 2GB of RAM. A very lengthy and thorough diagnosis of this issue can be seen on Novell’s bugzilla site for Suse:

    It is not a distro based bug but rather a kernel / PCI memory allocation / BIOS based issue that is affecting Debian (kubuntu, ubuntu), Suse, etc. flavors of linux. It is not clear yet if it is limited to Dell laptops only or if others have the same problem. I know I have seen this issue on a Latitude e6500 with Ubuntu 9.04 and others posted about their experience with latitude D630 and D830s with other flavors of linux.

    This has impacts on you and me as well as all those newbies who attempt to try convert to linux. If you have this issue I urge you to set up an account on Novell’s bugtrack and post that your experiences and urge the developers to continue their investigation into this issue.

    To confirm if you are experiencing this bug, open a Terminal window and type dmesg a few moments after you insert your Sierra Wireless card. You should see the message:

    USB HC takeover failed! (BIOS/SMM bug)

    within the last few lines.

    Again, I urge the concerned parties to post over at the Suse bugzilla (link above) to convey to them how many people this is negatively affecting. Without this showing of support this will most probably never get fixed.

  35. The above bug I mentioned has been tracked down as a Kernel issue in releases prior to 2.6.31 (though I can’t say for certain when it was introduced). You can check your kernel version by tying the following in a Terminal:

    uname -r

    The bog only affects those with 4+ GB of RAM and does not appear to be hardware specific beyond that.

    1. Thanks for the info, John. I hope it helps someone stumbling along this post (there are still many requests to the page). I no longer have this AirCard 585, and I now have an AT&T 3G USBConnect Mercury (Sierra Wireless Compass 885)

  36. AT&T USBConnect Mercury works with Ubuntu 9.04 out of the box, plug in and go. (I did install on office windows xp first, so probably activated there, took about 8 minutes to get working in Windows, 30 ish seconds in Linux).

    DSL report speeds are comparable in both OS’s/laptops

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