Setup your USB modem on Ubuntu

Hi all, today I’m going to tell you about how to configure your USB modem on Ubuntu.


The problem I had was, I couldn’t connect to internet with my USB modem on my Ubuntu installed lab. USB dongle was detected but I couldn’t connect to that.I have tested the solution that I’m going to tell you about on following hardware.

  • Laptop:- Dell XPS 15 9550 ( Ubuntu 16.04 installed)
  • USB modem:- Huawei E303

Though I have mentioned my hardware this solution should with with any device.


Before talking about the let’s find out what the actual problem is.  

  1. Connect your dongle and open the terminal.( Alt + CTRL + T). 
  2. Type lsusb and run. This command should detect all the connected devices. You can find your device and next to your device it will say Mass Storage. You can see my device is detected as a modem. If your device is detected as a Mass Storage Device then that’s the problem.
    lsusb screen

Now we know the exact problem, so let’s focus on the sokution

  1. Go to Disks application.(Alt or Windows key and search Disks)
  2. There you’ll see your modem and press on Additional Partition Options.
  3. Go to Mount Options
    Mount Options Screen
  4. If Automatic Mount Options is enabled turn it off.
  5. And go to Identify As dropdown menu and select Broadband.
  6. Now remove your device and plug it back.
  7. Still your device may get detected as a Mass Storage  device. If it happens again go back to Disks and turn your drive off.  After few seconds it will automatically get connected. 
  8. Some times you might need to turn off your modem for few times. Each time you can use lsusb command to check whether it’s connected properly.
  9. If your device is connected properly you can simply create a new connection for your USB modem and connect internet. πŸ™‚

This solution works for me so if you get into trouble, feel free to contact me or comment bellow. πŸ˜€ I’ll help you to figure out the problem. πŸ˜‰

14 Comments Add yours

  1. gang says:

    Thanks a lot for the article post.Much thanks again. Keep writing.

  2. Siddhant Agarwal says:

    My tata photon max(huawei dongle) is showing up as mass storage on lsusb but is not showing up in the disks menu. What should I do?

    1. rnavagamuwa says:

      Try disconnecting the dongle and reconnecting.

    2. rnavagamuwa says:

      Try disconnecting the dongle and connecting it.

  3. Kalyan says:

    I am getting the error while connecting ” Active connection failed to connect” , I could able to configure through the network manager menu , but the error message displayed while connection ..–System -16.04.1 LTS.—Modme : ZTE Modem

    1. rnavagamuwa says:

      Did you check connection stability with the network provider?

  4. Henry says:

    This doesn’t work for me. My Huawei USB dongle keeps showing up as mass storage, even though plugged and unplugged several times.
    You said “If it happens again go back to Disks and turn your drive off.”
    How do you do that? I can’t see any option for turning drive off.

    1. rnavagamuwa says:

      Go to”Disks” and select your dongle. Then press the power button on the “Disks” window.

  5. zumal jans says:

    go to Identify As dropdown menu and select Broadband.

    there is no option called “Broadband”

  6. Henry says:

    Never mind my previous query. I solved my previous problem. A friend helped me out. We installed Linux Mint, deleting both Ubuntu and Windows 10 in the process. After that, it recognised my USB internet dongle, and my internet connection now works fine.

  7. kamlinzi says:

    Thank you. It worked. I use Huawei E3131 and before was identified as mass storage disk. And in the Disks program after turning the automatic mounting option off, I chose Identify As : /dev/disk/by-path/pci-0000:……

  8. Anno Domini says:

    Thank you very much sir

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