After much frustration, I finally got my Virgin Mobile Huawai E160e modem to work on my MacBook Pro!!! And although it shouldn't be that difficult, there is one quirk that I needed to do to make it work.
UPDATE: I have now used this solution on 2 different Macbook Pros; a 15" 3.06 Core 2 Duo and now my new 15" 2.6GHz i7.
Firstly, you don't need the Virgin Connect application that comes with the modem, in fact I recommend you DON'T use it as its slower. Its a Java application, and Desktop Java applications are not known for their startup speed.
You will need the drivers, and the latest drivers can be found here. This link is actually from the Virgin Mobile Help Ticket on this topic. And although it is worthwhile following these instructions to install what you need, it is really the drivers that you are after…..
Once you have done that, plug in your modem and your MBP will discover the Modem and add it to your list of Network interfaces. Open System Preferences > Network, and select the HUAWAI Mobile Interface and give it the following settings;
Telephone Number: *99#
Account Name : VirginBroadband
Password : VirginBroadband
Click on Advanced and Make the following changes;
Model: GPRS (GSM/3G)
CID : 1
The important setting is that the APN is set to "VirginBroadband" (notice the Capitals V & B)
On other forums and blogs I am hearing that the Account name and Password is important. Although I am not 100% certain, I think the Account Name should be the same as the APN but the password can be absolutely anything…..
Here is the Trick!
So after doing all the above and spending a couple of hours to try and get it to work, it kept failing Authentication and no matter what I tried, it kept failing at that point. So my modem is recognised, it is actually connecting but not authenticating. After a little more searching, I came across the issue….
Basically, the default method of Authentication on the MacBook Pro is to use CHAP whereas Virgin Broadband expects PAP, and there is no where to change this setting. So this is what you need to do;
Open up a terminal and type in the following;
sudo nano /etc/ppp/options
If you have no idea what this means, you are just opening a file up to edit text; sudo tells the terminal that you want to edit it under the administrator account, nano is the text edit tool and /etc/ppp/options is the location and filename. if you prefer you can use vi or some other text editor instead of nano. Because you are asking to do this as an administrator (sudo), you will be asked to enter you system password.
Once in there, paste the following text in;
And save the file. You are done!!
This is the trick where you are telling the PPP connection script to not use chap so it will instead use PAP. Now connect and you should be sweet!!!
NOTE: The Virgin Desktop Application has an option to use PAP instead of CHAP but for me this made no difference