La jungla de internet móvil: simyo contra Movistar, Vodafone y Orange
October 24th 2008

Ya comenté en un post anterior los pros y contras que encontraba para contratar Orange o simyo como proveedor de internet móvil. Finalmente escogí simyo, con quien no tengo en principio queja, excepto que en general es más lento e irregular de lo que esperaba (pero temo que sea un problema inherente al uso de red de telefonía móvil).

Con el tiempo he ido viendo cada vez más anuncios de internet móvil, por la calle y en televisión. Obviamente los que más machacan con el tema son los ladrones de Movistar, como con todo con lo que creen que pueden sacar tajada engañando proveyendo de un servicio a la gente.

Lo que me indigna es lo absolutamente vergonzosas que son las ofertas de los principales operadores (Movistar, Vodafone y Orange), respecto a otras como la de simyo. Por ello, voy a hacer una mínima comparativa, y que el lector saque conclusiones.

Bases

Se ha comparado un producto de cada empresa, teniendo como características una tarifa plana hasta cierto volúmen de datos mensual. Tras ese gasto la velocidad ofrecida baja en todos los casos, pero no se cobra más por ese volúmen extra. Los precios son con IVA.

Datos

Compañía Ancho de banda Precio Límite datos Velocidad tras límite Permanencia
simyo 3.2 Mbps 28.99 € 5 GB 128 kbps 0
Movistar 3 Mbps 45.24 € 1 GB 128 kbps 18 meses
Vodafone 3 Mbps 45.24 € 1 GB 128 kbps ns/nc
Orange 3.6 Mbps 45.24 € 5 GB 128 kbps 18 meses

Notas adicionales

  • El módem USB de simyo es libre. Los demás son cada uno exclusivo de su compañía.
  • Vodafone excluye expresamente el tráfico p2p (compartición de ficheros). Simyo lo permite expresamente, diciendo que pudiera ralentizarse en caso de congestión de red.

Conclusiones

¿Hace falta añadir algo?

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Installation of simyo Huawei E220 under Linux
October 3rd 2008

Last friday I wrote about how to install a Huawei E220 modem under MacOSX. Today I will write the corresponding HowTo for Linux.

Usually installation of hardware with non-free drivers is a bit more difficult in Linux than in MacOS and Windows, because the drivers are only made for the latter two. However the E220 is well supported by the Linux kernel (starting at 2.6.20, apparently), so we only need to tweak some configuration files.

1 - Make the system see it properly

The Huawei E220 is a dual machine: apart from being a modem, it is also an USB flash device, with some space to save the Mac/Windows drivers, so that it will "autoinstall" when plugging it under those OSs.

This adds a small level of difficulty, because we have to make sure that the OS sees it as a modem, not as a storage device. In principle the command dmesg (or the file /var/log/messages) will tell us about it. However, I have had it work when dmesg would say that it was a storage device!

The short story is that some kernel modules must be loaded, and some others unloaded, when you plug the device. Needed modules: option, usbserial, ppp_async. Must not be present: airprime. In my case usb_storage made no harm, some people say you should unload it. For airprime not to be automatically loaded, put it in some blacklist file in /etc/modprobe.d/. I decided to add the following line to /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-modem:

blacklist airprime

You can ensure the required modules are loaded by taking advantage of udev, but it is not really necessary (in my case it wasn't). udev can also give you a consistent name for the modem. For me the relevant device was always /dev/ttyUSB0, but you can make it /dev/huawei if you will. For that, you can put the following optional rules in a file in /etc/udev/rules.d/ (for example create 55-huawei.rules):

BUS=="usb", SYSFS{idProduct}=="1003", SYSFS{idVendor}=="12d1", NAME="huawei"
BUS=="usb", SYSFS{idProduct}=="1003", SYSFS{idVendor}=="12d1", RUN+="/sbin/modprobe option"
BUS=="usb", SYSFS{idProduct}=="1003", SYSFS{idVendor}=="12d1", RUN+="/sbin/modprobe ppp_async"

Two notes: the strings in idProduct and idVendor are obtained running the command lsusb when the modem is plugged. It will show something like:

Bus 003 Device 005: ID 12d1:1003 Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. E220 HSDPA Modem

This is a very neat trick for any USB device we want to manage with udev. The second note is that kppp (see later) only allows to choose a modem device from a list. If you make the modem be /dev/huawei, you will not be able to use kppp, since that device won't appear in the list.

2 - Configure wvdial / kppp

You can make use of programs such as wvdial or kppp to make the actual connection. I use kppp myself, but that's up to you (wvdial is apparently more flexible).

wvdial

To use it you have to create a /etc/wvdial.conf file. You can achieve this by running wvdialconf as root, or editing the file by hand, if you are brave.

For me, the output of wvdialconf yielded:

Editing `/etc/wvdial.conf'.

Scanning your serial ports for a modem.

Modem Port Scan<*1>: S0 S1 S2 S3
WvModem<*1>: Cannot get information for serial port.
ttyUSB0<*1>: ATQ0 V1 E1 -- OK
ttyUSB0<*1>: ATQ0 V1 E1 Z -- OK
ttyUSB0<*1>: ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 -- OK
ttyUSB0<*1>: ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 -- OK
ttyUSB0<*1>: ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 -- OK
ttyUSB0<*1>: ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0 -- OK
ttyUSB0<*1>: Modem Identifier: ATI -- Manufacturer: huawei
ttyUSB0<*1>: Speed 9600: AT -- OK
ttyUSB0<*1>: Max speed is 9600; that should be safe.
ttyUSB0<*1>: ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0 -- OK
WvModem<*1>: Cannot get information for serial port.
ttyUSB1<*1>: ATQ0 V1 E1 -- OK
ttyUSB1<*1>: ATQ0 V1 E1 Z -- OK
ttyUSB1<*1>: ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 -- OK
ttyUSB1<*1>: ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 -- OK
ttyUSB1<*1>: ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 -- OK
ttyUSB1<*1>: ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0 -- OK
ttyUSB1<*1>: Modem Identifier: ATI -- Manufacturer: huawei
ttyUSB1<*1>: Speed 9600: AT -- OK
ttyUSB1<*1>: Max speed is 9600; that should be safe.
ttyUSB1<*1>: ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0 -- OK

Found a modem on /dev/ttyUSB0.
Modem configuration written to /etc/wvdial.conf.
ttyUSB0: Speed 9600; init "ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0"
ttyUSB1: Speed 9600; init "ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0"

And my current /etc/wvdial.conf looks as follows:

[Dialer Defaults]
;Init1 = ATZ
Init2 = ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0
Modem Type = Analog Modem
ISDN = 0
New PPPD = yes
Modem = /dev/ttyUSB1
Baud = 9600

[Dialer simyo]
Dial Command = ATDT
Phone = *99#
Init2 = ATZ
Init4 = ATE0V1&D2&C1S0=0+IFC=2,2
Init3 = AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","gprs-service.com";
Stupid Mode = 1
Modem Type = Analog Modem
ISDN = 0
Modem = /dev/ttyUSB0
Username = whatever
Password = whatever
Baud = whatever

In bold, the relevant user-provided settings. In italics, some items in which you can put whatever, because it doesn't seem to make a difference.

To connect, run wvdial simyo (or whatever you put in the "[Dialer xxx]" setting above), in the command line. To terminate, Ctrl+C.

kppp

This is the one I use. To open the config/run dialog, run kppp (you can do this as user). There you will have to configure two things: the account and the modem. By pressing "Configure" you will be presented with a window with four tabs. In the first one you will create a new account, in which the relevant data is:

  • Phone number: *99#
  • Authentication: PAP/CHAP
  • Callback type: none

In the second tab you will configure the modem:

  • Modem device: /dev/ttyUSB0
  • Flow control: Hardware
  • Line termination: CR/LF
  • Connection speed: 921600

Please note that those are parameters that work for me. I can not assure that they are the "correct" ones. I have player around with different values, and many times the modem would work all the same with different settings. If you find some error in my setup, please tell me :^)

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Installation of simyo Huawei E220 under MacOSX
September 26th 2008

I recently subscribed to simyo's mobile internet service. I was considering also Orange, as explained in a previous post (es), but simyo's offer is better.

I am writing how to make the modem simyo provides (the commonplace Huawei E220) on MacOSX first, because apparently the PIN has to be deactivated for the modem to work in Linux. I have to admit that in MacOSX installation was a breeze.

Software installation

Start MacOS, then plug the USB modem. A window will open automatically, with two objects inside: "MobileConnect" and "User Manual". The former is the installer binary, and the latter is a folder with the manuals in PDF format (for me, they were in English and Spanish).

Clicking on the "MobileConnect" icon the installer will start, and after being asked to accept an EULA, then introduce the admin password, then choosing a location for placing the files (actually just a hard disk, not a concrete dir), the installer does its thing.

Profile setting

After that, we only need to configure a connection in the "Mobile Connect" window that opens automatically after installation. For that, click on "Setting..." and create a new profile. If you read the manual (see above), it is easy to fill in the blanks. In short:

  • Profile name: whatever you want
  • Access Point Name: this is the APN value that simyo tells you in some paper (gprs-service.com)
  • Telephone number: *99#
  • Account name: irrelevant
  • Password: irrelevant

Save the above, then choose the profile you just created in the drop-down list in "Profile name", then hit the "Connect" button. If after saying "Dialing up, please wait", it tells you "Connection succesfull!", then everything is fine!

PIN deactivation

Apparently using the modem under Linux requires that the PIN is deactivated. Doing that under MacOSX is easy: when the "Mobile Connect" window is active, go to the "Manage PIN" drop-down menu in the top bar. There you can find "Activate", "Deactivate" and "Modify". Self-explanatory, ain't it?

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Orange contra simyo
September 10th 2008

Estoy en proceso de selección de una compañía que me dé acceso a internet móvil. Es decir, poder conectarme a internet a través de la red de telefonía móvil, usando para ello una tarjeta SIM como la de los móviles, y un módem habilitado para usarla.

He seguido (de lejos) la evolución de los precios y servicios ofertados por las compañías de telecomunicaciones españolas, y la verdad es que no podían calificarse más que de estafa, o quizá "robo" es una palabra mejor. Sin embargo creo que ahora mismo es el momento en que los precios empiezan a ser competitivos (aunque no los de todas las compañias). Movistar y Vodafone parecen ofrecer basuras de calibre considerable, pero hay dos productos que me han llamado la atención: Internet Everywhere de Orange, y Tu propio internet móvil de simyo.

Ambas compañías ofrecen un servicio similar, que se puede resumir en:

  • Tarifa plana
  • Velocidad 3.6 Mbps hasta 5 GB mensuales
  • Tras consumir 5 GB se puede seguir navegando a 128 kbps sin coste adicional
  • Módem USB Huawei E220, que he leído que está soportado bien por Linux

La diferencia entre ambas es básicamente el precio (siendo simyo bastante más barata). A continuación resumo puntos a favor y en contra para ambas, y animo al amable lector a que me dé su opinión sobre el tema, si a bien tuviera.

Orange

Pros

  • Tiene tiendas físicas donde acudir
  • Regala el módem

Contras

  • El precio es más caro (39 eur/mes + IVA).
  • Exige compromiso de permanencia de 18 meses
  • Siendo una de las tres compañías que forman el oligopolio de las operadoras móviles en España (con Vomistar y Robafone), contratarla supone apuntalar su dominio (y poder para abusar del cliente), y ahogar a la competencia minoritaria

simyo

Pros

  • Mucho más barato: 24.99 eur/mes + IVA).
  • El módem es libre (el de Orange creo que no).
  • Me gusta más su política de funcionamiento, la idea de "no frills", y lo que conlleva.
  • Aunque respaldada por KPN, simyo es una compañía minoritaria en España. Por ello, contratar sus servicios activa una sana competencia en el mercado.

Contras

  • Sólo puede accederse a la compañía por internet.
  • El módem hay que comprarlo, por 99 eur + IVA.

Todo lo anterior podría resumirse simplistamente en que Orange te regala los 99 euros del módem, mientras que simyo te cobra 14 euros menos al mes. Si esto fuera cierto, en 7 meses uno habría amortizado el módem en simyo (y tengamos en cuenta que Orange pide 18 meses de permanencia, y simyo 0). En los 18 meses de permanencia de Orange uno habrá gastado 18x39 = 702 eur (más IVA), mientras que en simyo habrían sido 99+18x25 = 549 eur (más IVA). Esto supone un ahorro de 150 euros en año y medio.

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