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. 🙂

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

36 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

  9. Thilina Ashen Gamage says:

    In my case, the dongle is listed under Disks as shown in your article. But all the options including “Edit Mount Options” are grayed out and cannot be selected. Any idea on what’s going there and how to fix it?

    1. rnavagamuwa says:

      Check whether the dongle is mounted properly?

  10. joshtrigger says:

    do i always have to create connection every time i use a modem?

    1. rnavagamuwa says:

      Actually it depends on the modem. For me I have to create a connection each time!

  11. Anno Domini says:


    ############# USB MODEM




    ############# END

    i try the option above and it didnt work, need to replug and replug

  12. dr.mody says:

    Thanks a lot

  13. Shubham Jain says:

    When I connect my dongle, in lsusb it shows as modem but still I dont get an option for connecting to the mobile broadband network. Sometimes after a while It automatically connects to the network and sometimes even after being plugged in for more than 15 mins it doesnt connect. I don’t uderstand the problem

  14. I don’t have the option “broadband” in the drop down menu!!??

    1. rnavagamuwa says:

      What options do you have?

      1. Erik August Møller says:

        I have 2 options, one have the HUAWEI name of the modem, the other have not. But no “Broadband”. lsusb seys “network card”.

        1. rnavagamuwa says:

          Try selecting the HUAWEI name of the modem!

  15. Nomena says:

    Hey, I don’t have the option Broadband on identify as. Can you help

    1. rnavagamuwa says:

      What are the options do you have there?

  16. jayson says:


    I bought a new modem and plugged it onto my laptop but i never saw any installation procedures and when I check on my networks it wll be written unidentified network so right now I don’t know what to do next. so right now I am kindly requesting for assistance.

    I am looking forward to your reply

    thank you

  17. Vijay says:

    everything is done but my network manager showed mobile broadband option once but when i restart my computer after restart there is no mobile broadband option showing …. i have done everything but its not showing now…. what should i do??

    please help!!!!

  18. hello…..i plugged in my ZTE modem on my ubuntu 18.04 , now i cant get it as mass storage . can you help me ? my major problem is i cant connect my modem in ubuntu 18.04

    1. rnavagamuwa says:

      I’m extremely sorry that I’ve only tried this on ubuntu 16.04.

  19. Stefano says:

    It works! With Usb modem Alcatel IK40…thank you so much !

  20. Justeen says:

    I have a generic USB modem powered by Qualcomm chipset. When I plug it in, the lsusb shows: Bus 002 Device 003: ID 05c6:9008 Qualcomm, Inc. Gobi Wireless Modem (QDL mode). No disk listed. How to get this modem works in ubuntu?

    1. rnavagamuwa says:

      Unfortunately, I haven’t tried this with a Qualcomm modem. Try following this. :

  21. Vansh Rawal says:

    the dongle is listed under Disks as shown in your article. But all the options including “Edit Mount Options” are grayed out and cannot be selected. Any idea on what’s going there and how to fix it?

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