Sunday, December 19, 2010

Yes, Riding on Linux

I received a free WiMAX USB dongle (called the Yes Go) last Tuesday, given how busy week days usually are, I only managed to really get it working on my Ubuntu now. In this blog, I am not going write about the Yes site usability, how interesting the speed can go (by the way, if you think 10Mb/s is impressive enough, that's the speed HSDPA can give. WiMAX can run up to 40Mb/s.); Instead, I speak about what I went through getting it to work on my Linux machine.

Yes Go doesn't have (publicly) a Linux driver (and its source), just like the Clearwire USB dongle and many others. Yes Go is manufactured by Infomark, IMW-U300, which uses GCT chip (GDM7205 most likely, with uClinux. It can push >30Mbps of download and 6Mbps of upload):

(Note: I'm not a Linux hacker, so all I could do is usb_modeswitch and some simple digging. I'm happy to learn how to grab the image and boot into it when I have the time.)
$ screen /dev/ttyUSB0
Model name: IMW-U300   
 Manufacturere: INFOMARK
%WIMAX MAC: ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
/dev/usb0
3Parameter block: version 2 in NVRAM EEPROM

$ lsusb | grep 1076
Bus 001 Device 039: ID 1076:7f00 GCT Semiconductor, Inc.
Given that (and I-ANAL - I Am Not A Lawyer), GCT could have violated the GPL (see also this Taiwanese post).

After hours of research, I contacted @YesCare for the driver, the case has been escalated and am still pending for solution at the time I'm writing this blog. This left me with one ugly workaround to use Yes Go -- bridging from a virtual machine (I use Sun's/Oracle's VirtualBox) running Windows.

The basic steps (more discussions in this VirtualBox's forum thread):
  • Create an ad-hoc wireless network in NetworkManager.
  • Add a bridge adapter in VirtualBox, select your wireless LAN (e.g. wlan0).
  • Turn off usb_modeswitch before plugging in the USB dongle. See /etc/usb_modeswitch.conf.
  • Start VirtualBox with root (or configure fstab to allow current user to read/write the USB device nodes).
  • Setup Yes Go, once connected, bridge it with your adapter added earlier.

That ends a chapter.

Meanwhile, for preregistered users, today is the last day to activate your account in order to retain your reserved phone number.

To make myself to really know what I'm going to pay for, I wrote a JS-based calculator last night using mvc.js (before Yes updated their site with the new calculator this afternoon). Feel free to fork it with jsfiddle or github.

4 comments:

sher said...

any luck on your case with Yes?

I'm a Ubuntu user too. This is quite tricky huh..

helmi said...

bug report:
404 for https://github.com/rlayte/mvc.js/raw/master/src/mvc.min.js
in your JS-based calculator, http://jsfiddle.net/yclian/TPwbB/embedded/result/

howe said...

do you know how to obtain the apn name of Yes broadband (dongle)? Have you tried connecting using APN? thanks!

pummkin said...

Is there a workaround for this dongle to work on the Asus Transformer that's rooted? Apparently it will accept 3G USB dongle with a hack. It would be great if I can use this on my tablet as it's blazing fast. Then I wouldn't have to spend more money on a Huddle.