2Degrees 3G datastick with Arch Linux

Here’s how I got my New Zealand 2Degrees USB 3G cellular datastick modem working under ArchLinux.

The unit is actually a “Huawei Mobile Broadband Model E1552” that has multiple USB modes. The main USB mode being the data functionality but it also contains a small flashdrive for holding the drivers and software for Windows (and possibly Mac?), and it defaults to this unless software is installed to switch it into broadband datastick mode – makes a lot of sense really. So when you plug it in for the first time, it switches to the flashdrive mode.

The steps for making it work are:

1. Check that this walk through is right for you:

Using “lsusb” see what device is attached.

lsusb | grep Huawei

and the output should be something like

Bus 001 Device 004: ID 12d1:1446 Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.

The first 4 characters of the ID (in this case 12d1) are the manufacturer, the last 4 the product. The product will change depending on which mode the device is on.

2. Switch the device to Modem mode

Using “usb_modeswitch” which you install with

pacman -S usb_modeswitch

Usb_modeswitch already has a whole bunch of prewritten rules, and by default will switch your datastick to the right mode. You can verify this by running

lsusb | grep Huawei

again, which should now have changed the product ID to ‘140c’

3. Install the software for connecting

There are a few tools out there, but I’ve found the easiest one to use is Sakis3G. The Sakis3G script is not available packaged in the Arch repos, but it is available from the AUR. Using your favourite AUR package manager (Yaourt) install it.

yaourt -S sakis3g

This should install the scripts dependencies of ‘ppp’ and ‘net-tools’ as well.

4. Connect to 2Degrees

In a terminal, start Sakis3G with


and Sakis3G will open into a new window. Most of the menu is pretty straight forward – Select the following:

1. Connect with 3G
1. USB Device
??? HUAWEI Mobile

Which number this is will vary depending on what else you have built-in or plugged in on your laptop

**Your root password**

To allow Sakis3G to do device setupy stuff.

1. Interface #0

And that should get some lights flashing and some initial cellular activity…

1. Reported by your modem (internet)

Your APN username for New Zealand 2Degrees data is: internet


The password doesn’t matter on the pre-paid SIM that came with mine.

5. That’s it!!

I have found the device to be quite compatible with E173 is further research is needed. The SMS functionality works, and Happy 2Degrees internets so you too can play Grumpy Birds.

Codemonkey of Node.js, Django, PHP and all things HTML5 Solving tech challenges, one bit at a time.

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