Getting the Sony Ericsson GC82 EDGE modem to work with a PowerBook and Mac OS X

TIGER UPDATE, 8 June 2005.

I have not personally upgraded to Tiger 'cause I, um, broke my PowerBook back in December. I have one provided to me by my employer but since it's theirs and I have to use the Cisco VPN Client, I can't upgrade until the security people say I can.

And yes, I know that Cisco released an update that's supposed to work with Tiger. Until it comes with a stamp of approval from the right people, there's nothing I can do.

Anyway, I've gotten emails from at least a half dozen people trying to get their GC8x cards to work under Tiger. It appears that Apple has changed something in Internet Connect, and the wrapper script is no longer triggered the way it was under Panther. I've heard that there's a firmware update that fixes the bogus pppd on the various GC8x card models out there, but I haven't seen it with my own eyes and I've only received one such email (and that email also said that the card seems to drop its connection more frequently than before). Make of that what you will.

Pardon my skepticism, but I also received an email from somebody at NovaMedia after the 10.3.6 update, saying that the update eliminated the requirement for a wrapper. The email was nice, but it also didn't work for me. I believe things when I see them.

To get back on the subject, if you want to get a GC8x card to work on Mac OS X your options are either to stay on 10.3.x until I can upgrade (not a very good answer, I know), or debug Internet Connect and/or the wrapper so that the proper options get sent to the card. If you have access to a Windows computer you can try the firmware upgrade, too.

In other non-news, I've gotten a number of positive reports with the GC83 card under Panther, so it appears that the pppd fix is portable.

Version 2.0, 21 April 2004.

Changes since 1.5: Rewrote most of the Modem Script code. Added handler for SIM PIN, PUK, and Phone-SIM password; added check for signal quality; added option for setting QOS. Updated documentation to reflect those changes.

Changes since 1.1: Updated pppd instructions and code. Recompiling the daemon is most likely unnecessary, but those instructions remain available for those who prefer to do things the hard way. Made documentation XHTML compliant.

Changes since 1.0: Documentation only. Clarified steps and added forgotten image in pppd instructions; clarified roaming information.

TODO:

For updates see http://fedward.org/GC82/ .

NOTE: I have personally tested this only on my PowerBook G4 running Mac OS X 10.3.3 (Panther). I can neither confirm nor deny that it will work on any other version of Mac OS X (or that the modem script itself will work on Classic Mac OS) but I have no reason to believe that it won't work. The steps to modify pppd (apparently necessary with all publicly available revisions of the GC82) may change somewhat for other releases of Mac OS X, but the basic ideas should be the same.

I have had several reports of success from other users. If I hear of any failure I can't manage to fix, I'll update the docs to say what definitely doesn't work.

Acknowledgements go to the members of the AT&T Wireless " Mobile Professional " forum and this post by "liverdonor" on the AT&T Wireless Developer forums. Special thanks go to Ross Barkman and Alexander Traud , both of whose existing modem scripts provided examples and structure that ended up in mine for the GC82.

Steps to success:

  1. Download and expand the archive if you have not done so already. You will find a folder called "Sony Ericsson GC82" in your browser's downloads directory.
  2. Close the Network preferences pane if it's open.
  3. Open the "Sony Ericsson GC82" folder and copy the "Sony Ericsson GC82 CID*" files contained therein into /Library/Modem Scripts/ .
  4. Unless you have an as yet unseen version of the firmware in your GC82, refer now to the instructions on pppd , then return here when you're done.
  5. Insert your SIM card in the GC82, and connect the antenna. Insert the GC82 in your PowerBook's PCMCIA slot. If you've never done this before, the Network preferences pane will open, and a dialog will appear saying that a new network interface has been attached. You can rename it from "pc-cardSerial." I called mine "Sony Ericsson GC82."

    Network interfaces
  6. Select that network port and click the configure button. Select the PPP tab.

    PPP preferences
    1. Service Provider - whatever works for you, presumably something descriptive of who the actual service provider is.
    2. Account Name
    3. Password - For both of these, see the documentation given to you by your service provider, or check the list on Ross Barkman's site. If they are both blank, put a space in one of them and the option to save the "password" will become active.
    4. Telephone Number - put your provider's Access Point Name (APN), as found in your documentation or Ross Barkman's list in 6c above.
    5. Click the "PPP Options..." button.

      PPP options

      For most networks, deselect both "Send PPP echo packets" and "Use TCP header compression." If your provider supports it, you can go back and enable TCP header compression later after everything is working (again, see that same list for configuration info). Click "OK" for that sheet.

  7. Select the "Modem" tab.

    Modem preferences
    1. In the "Modem" pulldown, select the appropriate "Sony Ericsson GC82 CID*" script from the eight you should have copied in step 3. If they're not there, go to step 2 .
    2. Select "Enable error correction and compression in modem."

  8. Click the "Apply now" button.

Asked Questions (Some more frequent than others):