Netgear MBR624GU Wireless 3G router on Ubuntu or Windows

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You can use a 3G router suitable for your dongle. This takes the dongle in its own USB socket and the firmware operates the dialling process. Several PCs of any OS (Windows, Mac, Linux...) can share the internet access and connect to the router by Wi-Fi or Ethernet. You must however check that your dongle is supported by the router's firmware, and the manufacturer's website will list supported dongles and will usually frequently add more.

There are a number of 3G routers available at time of writing, but the MBR624GU by Netgear now (2010) supports the UK Orange Huawei E160E and the Vodafone Huawei E220 dongles which I use. When I moved to Vodafone I had to get the E220 from Ebay because the ZTE 3570-z is not yet supported.

Another suitable router is the Aztech from Solwise and the Edimax.
I went for the Netgear because I have used their routers before and they are top notch. Since being ported for Europe they seem to provide good web based support including firmware update downloads.

I ordered the device from one of Amazon's dealers and it arrived within a few days. Having downloaded the user manual as a pdf beforehand from the Netgear site, I knew how to set up the router as follows.

First I wanted to make the router safe from wifi access by others in the neighbourhood.
I went to http://192.168.0.1 and entered the default credentials of "admin" and "password".
I went to Wireless Settings and enabled WPA-PSK encryption and added a suitable passphrase. Something like "I am not a number I am a free man. Who is number one?" makes it easier to remember, and use all spaces, case and punctuation up to 63 characters.
Then I changed the default admin password to something other than "password".
These two simple measures ensured the router was secure from potential hackers.

I went to Broadband Account Settings to enter ISP info.

Note that you should NOT select your ISP (e.g. Vodafone, Orange) from the drop-down box as it will probably have the wrong APN for domestic use, especially in UK.

So I selected country "UK" and "other" under ISP and simply typed in the APN for my UK 3GB domestic pre-pay Vodafone (i.e. "PPBUNDLE.INTERNET") and I also noticed that the correct dial number was already entered as *99#

Vodafone recommends PPP so I changed from IP to PPP and I then hit Apply and it was all done.

Above shows the setup for my "Vodafone" dongle. If you use another ISP then you need to Google for the APN and dial details, or set up the dongle on the PC as per the supplier's software then look in the setup for the APN, or of course just ask them!

Everything was saved with "Apply" and then I powered down the router, plugged the 3G dongle on the extension into the back of the router and powered back up again. Once booted I connected the PC wirelessly using the WPA passphrase in the normal way using my Ubuntu wireless manager.

Note to both Windows and Ubuntu users - if you change the encryption or wifi passphrase, go into network connections and delete the connection and start again.

The default setting is connect to internet on power-up but if the internet connection is not made on power-up then go to Broadband Settings and click on Connect. You can also manually disconnect here if you want to be kind to your ISP.
I did have to click on Refresh once when the connect page seemed to be having a tantrum. This may be a small bug.

You may find it advantageous to disable the Check for New Firmware on Power Up as it wastes a valuable 90 seconds on boot-up

Simples - no CDs, no wizards, though the Wizard option is there if you want it.

Pros:

Reconnection is simple. None of this having to shut down nicely, avoid sleep or hibernate, pull out dongle and plug back in and other dongle tricks in a desperate attempt to get the dongle to connect. The routine now is simply switch on the router with the dongle in, switch on the laptop, then by the time they are both up and running you are online.
Will also run on any version of any operating system that supports ethernet or wifi.

Cons:

Wireless-g only but plenty for 3G!
Firmware possibly has a few bugs, some are identified in the website (see problems below).

Problems

The firmware release notes say sometimes an unrecoverable disconnect status occurs (router interface just says "connecting" but annoyingly does not.
The recommendation is to remove and replace modem, but you can also use the diagnostics page to reboot the router. This is advisable if, like me, the router is tucked away in the loft or attic room.

Since using it for a few weeks I have concluded that the "Connect at startup" is NOT a good setting, and manual connect each time is more reliable.
Also untick the box that does a check for new firmware each time it powers up as it always fails until you have actually connected!

Security back door vulnerability When connected to the internet by 3G it is possible to enter the admin system via 192.168.01 (That's not a typo) and the admin password is BYPASSED. On disconnecting from internet the problem does not exist but that's no consolation.
Netgear are in denial and "cannot replicate it". [source]

2 comments:

Netgear Support said...

Pros and Cons you mentioned in this article are effective. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post.

krizzyla said...

Ya its interesting, but my comment to this product its powersupply since this is so-called mobile then netgear should provide battery or dc power rather than ac power outlet right?

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