Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Using Tata Photon+ Huawei E156 on Ubuntu (12.04 LTS)

Just set up my old HP tx-1000 Tablet PC with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.
So I ran into trouble with setting up my Tata Photon + to work with it.
It does come with a linux auto-installable dialler app, but that didn't cut the ice as it supports older versions of Ubuntu.

EDIT : Forgot to mention (though it's not of much importance) I'm setting up 64-bit, but this will work on 32-bit too.

Anyways, I got these instructions from ubuntuforums.org

And frankly speaking i'm doing more or less a copy-paste of that data here, but this is for my own referrence because I hav no idea if I'll be able to find that thread again if i ever reinstall linux :p

So to start with
sudo apt-get install usb-modeswitch usb-modeswitch-data

Both above packages should be installed by default but just in case to make sure :)

Now we need to set up the modeswitch settings.
Go to this folder

cd /etc/usb_modeswitch.d

if its not present create it

 mkdir -p /etc/usb_modeswitch.d
cd /etc/usb_modeswitch.d
now we need to create the configuration file
sudo gedit 12d1:1505

copy and paste this data into that file

DefaultVendor= 0x12d1 


Now to make sure of all this,
connect your USB Data Card (Photon+)

and run this command

cd /etc/usb_modeswitch.d
sudo usb_modeswitch -I -W -c 12d1:1505 

Now on your top bar right-click on the connection icon
You should see "New Mobile Broadband Connection (CDMA)" or something similar

Put a tick mark or "Enable Mobile Broadband"

Then click on edit connections
Go to Mobile Broadband tab

Click NEW
Enter your Country (India in this case)
Select your carrier (Tata PHoton)
Continue and set up the connection

username and password should both be "internet"
save and close the dialog

Now again right click on conections icon and you can see "Tata Photon" listed there. Click that and you are CONNECTED TO THE INTERNET!!!!!

Now there just maybe a few more issues remaining.
After usage, disconnect (from connection icon)
Unplug device and replug it.

Right Click on connections icon. If you see Tata Photon there (you have to wait maybe 1 min) then you are good to go. If not, see below steps

create a binary to connect photon

sudo gedit /bin/tataphoton

in that file type this

cd /etc/usb_modeswitch.d
usb_modeswitch -I -W -c 12d1\:1505
usb_modeswitch -I -W -c 12d1:1505 

and save it (Ctrl+S) and close

Now everytime you connect the device, open the terminal and type

sudo tataphoton

To make things easier, do this

cd ~/Desktop
gedit TataPhoton

paste this there

sudo tataphoton

Save it and exit
now enter this

sudo chmod 755 ~/Desktop/TataPhoton

Now whenever you want to connect, just plug in your device and double click the TataPhoton file on your desktop, enter your password and you are done :)


  1. you made my day.

    I had a huawei ec1261 device which gave me a hard time connecting in ubuntu 10.04.

    Ubuntu 12.04 came and that connection problem disappeared. Photon+ with Huawei EC1261 connects like a breeze in 12.04

    Then I got a Huawei EC156 and it was pissing me off like anything during connecting in 12.04. The device was getting detected as a modem. Tata Photon connection was also setup but when I tried to connect, it did not connect.

    I tried your method and it connected.

    Can you explain why this happens. Earlier Ubuntu was not able to detect such devices as modems but now a days it does. still by the network manager it was not connecting.

  2. actually, devices like Huawei Modem are complicated,
    through a single usb connection, many things are connected

    1. virtual CD ROM (which contains setup files)
    2. USB Mass Storage Controller (in case you put a microSD card in it)
    3. USB Modem (the basic purpose you need it for)

    Like if you connect a phone to PC, it has modes like media, printing, pc suite, usb mass storage blah blah blah...

    on a mobile, you can select the mode while connecting, but for a data card, the mode gets automatically selected (on windows through the driver, on Ubuntu through the 'usb-modeswitch' program)

    if you run
    $ lsusb

    you'll find that when you connect the modem, its product id is some thing, and as soon as it gets recognized as a modem (about 30-45sec later) the product id changes (though the vendor id remains same)

    12d1 = vendor id
    1505 = product id when it is in MODEM mode

    if the device is in any other mode, it cannot work because at a time a usb device can work as one thing, not two or more :P

    so what we do here is we force the modem to be recognized into the modem mode.

    for most people, doing it once is enough, for some unlucky folks, the whole procedure has to be done every time the device is connected :P

    anyways, i used a lot of technical terms above ^^ without even knowing the full technicalities properly myself (i'm just in 12th grade)
    so pardon me if i explained anything wrongly


  3. Hi Arnav,
    It worked in my case too. Prior to installing Ubuntu 12.04 64bit, I was using Ubuntu 12.10 64bit. I have never faced any problem with 12.10 64 bit.
    Thanks for sharing your valuable knowledge. Will you agree with me that the speed is desperately slow compared to using photon in Windows.


  4. I would suggest you keep BSD and TCP data compression enabled, and also use the Google DNS ( and instead of automatic ones.
    I get pretty much the same speed on both Win7 and Ubuntu12.04.1

  5. looks like it was worked for quite a few people, though it still doesnt work for me! I boot my ubuntu from a bootable pen drive, could that be a reason? It always says Modem Network disconnected, though the Tata Photon icon comes under the network maanger


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