Cell Phone-related Question


God Ginrai

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Does anyone know if there is any sort of USB dongle that can connect a PC or other device to a cellular network? (without the need of a cellphone?) I think it would be interesting to try using my Pandora instead of a cellphone, if only for a short time. I can't seem to find the right keywords for a google search that does not try to tell me how to connect my cell phone to my PC.

-God Ginrai
 

Quazar

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You mean to actually use the Pandora itself as a Cell Phone - with it's inbuilt microphone and speakers?
 

Prometheus

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Try looking up the Huawei E220 USB celluar modem. I gather that some Linux devices (such as the EeePC) support it "out of the box", so it would probably be a good fit for the Pandora.
 

God Ginrai

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Quazar said:
You mean to actually use the Pandora itself as a Cell Phone - with it's inbuilt microphone and speakers?
No, I would probably use a Bluetooth headset or something with it.

Prometheus said:
Try looking up the Huawei E220 USB celluar modem. I gather that some Linux devices (such as the EeePC) support it "out of the box", so it would probably be a good fit for the Pandora.
Will do.

EDIT: There doesn't seem to be any indication of it working in the US. :\

-God Ginrai
 
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emil10001

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I think all of the carriers in the US offer USB Modems.

Who is your carrier?
 

Chip

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God Ginrai said:
EDIT: There doesn't seem to be any indication of it working in the US. :
Verizon sells 2 or 3 different USB cell modems. One even has a microSD slot so you can use it as additional storage as well.

You're on your own for drivers, though it is my understanding that most cell modems actually interface to the computer with a built-in generic serial adapter, support for which should be built into linux. You will have to sort out the init strings, but if you google the modem's model number + linux you'll probably find a guide. Failing that you could always ask on Howard Forums. Those guys are pretty damn good at this stuff.
 
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Prometheus

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Apparently Sprint offers a device which works with Linux, also, and they have instructions on their website somewhere, I'm told. (I can't link to it directly because it demands a Zip Code from me in order to look around the site. :p)
 

aliking

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Does anyone know how this actually works? It's difficult to find anything on Google that does not relate to using a cellphone as a modem to connect to the internet. Whereas this is sort of the opposite, using a modem to connect into the cellular network to make voice calls.

Has anyone seen this working with a laptop for example? Using some telephony client to make a call using a usb modem?

Maybe there is something out of the OpenMoko project that would help...
 

emil10001

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It's actually about the same between using a cellphone and using a cell modem. Basically, the big thing is having the chatscripts (carrier specific) for pppd to use. I have one for verizon, but not on this machine right now. Once I get Linux on the MacBook Air (this week?) I'll post some scripts and instructions on a couple of different cell dail-up methods (namely USB and Bluetooth).
 

God Ginrai

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Chip said:
God Ginrai said:
EDIT: There doesn't seem to be any indication of it working in the US. :
Verizon sells 2 or 3 different USB cell modems. One even has a microSD slot so you can use it as additional storage as well.

You're on your own for drivers, though it is my understanding that most cell modems actually interface to the computer with a built-in generic serial adapter, support for which should be built into linux. You will have to sort out the init strings, but if you google the modem's model number + linux you'll probably find a guide. Failing that you could always ask on Howard Forums. Those guys are pretty damn good at this stuff.


The only guides I can find all talk about getting it working for internet. Nothing about being able to use cell phone capabilities.

Prometheus said:
Apparently Sprint offers a device which works with Linux, also, and they have instructions on their website somewhere, I'm told. (I can't link to it directly because it demands a Zip Code from me in order to look around the site. :p)
Sprint doesn't have good coverage, and seeing as I'm already on Verizon, I don't see much good in going to their plans.

-God Ginrai
 
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emil10001

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If you have internet access, you can use VoIP.

I'm on Verizon right now, so once I get a chance, I'll post what I have. I think that this is going to be pretty straight-forward.
 

God Ginrai

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emil10001 said:
If you have internet access, you can use VoIP.

I'm on Verizon right now, so once I get a chance, I'll post what I have. I think that this is going to be pretty straight-forward.
But what about SMS? (text messages) Also, does the VOIP connect to verizon's service somehow?

-God Ginrai
 
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TaG

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God Ginrai said:
The only guides I can find all talk about getting it working for internet. Nothing about being able to use cell phone capabilities.
Same here - before you started this thread I had assumed from what I had read that you could only get data not voice.

Also, there's quite a choice of USB data dongles in the UK for £15+/month from the likes of vodafone and t-mobile but there is never any mention of linux compatibility.
 
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emil10001

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It's not the same as a cell phone, it's like a regular internet connection. So, you won't have phone directed traffic coming to your pandora (e.g. calls, texts, etc.), but if you have a Skype, or Gizmo account (provided there are clients) you will be able to connect to those.

There are things like Grand Central that you could use to get phone calls to both your VoIP and cell phone though.
 

aliking

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I guess this is just not something that has been that attractive before. Few people in their right mind would consider replacing their cellphone with a laptop, but a pocket sized computer is makes this almost viable.

The openmoko has this page: a desciption of how to communicate with the GSM modem. It's mostly greek to me but I think this is the sort of thing that I was expecting.

Whole other story for CDMA Sprint and Verizon in the US, particlarly with the added complication of not having a SIM.
 

emil10001

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I think it's really mostly for data, at least that's what I use it for. VoIP over a cellphone dail-up connection is mostly a novelty, it works, but it doesn't always sound too good.

In terms of the syntax of the chatscript, a good chunk of that is carrier specific.
 

Fishbong

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Don't these usb cellular modems have a high power drain? I think it would be better to just use a cellphone over bluetooth to have mobile internet.
 

Chip

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Fishbong said:
Don't these usb cellular modems have a high power drain? I think it would be better to just use a cellphone over bluetooth to have mobile internet.
They have an absurdly high power drain - at least the ones I've used have. My laptop gets a solid 4.5 hours of battery life by itself, but if I'm using my EVDO modem it drops to under two. The card gets damn near hot enough to burn you too.

God Ginrai said:
The only guides I can find all talk about getting it working for internet. Nothing about being able to use cell phone capabilities.

Ah, I didn't realize that was what you were going for. On the one hand, I wouldn't think that it was possible. But on the other hand, I realize that I've done it. Sort of.

I have a Sprint EVDO PC-card modem for my work laptop. In addition to the internet dialer, I am able to use it as a standard modem and dial out to connect to other modems / fax machines. So yes, there must be some way to make normal phone calls to regular phone numbers. I'm not going to begin to guess at how you would make this work for voice calls on a PC, let alone on the Pandora. But if somebody was clever they could probably make it happen.

As the card is owned by my employer, I do not see the monthly bills. I do not know if the modem-to-modem calls I occasionally make are charged on a by-minute basis, or are included in the "unlimited" internet access plan. If they are included in the plan, then this would be a cheap way to get unlimited cell minutes. At least until your provider caught on...
 
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