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Snow Leopard: WWAN using Merlin XU870 ExpressCard

September 2, 2009 at 22:20 · Filed under apple, hardware, internet

This is the same issue I’ve posted on a couple of forums. It’s seemed detailed enough to be a blog post, so here it is. Under 10.5.8 (Leopard) I was successfully using my Merlin XU870 ExpressCard (supplied by ISP) with Three Broadband (3) in Australia. I did not use the 3 drivers, but used the Leopard WWAN built-in to connect. There was never an issue as Leopard detected the card as a “Novatel Wireless HSDPA Modem”, and I configured the Network Advanced settings for 3 postpaid services as:

  • Vendor: Novatel Wireless Inc.
  • Model: GSM
  • APN: 3netaccess
  • CID: 1

I installed Snow Leopard as an Upgrade (not a fresh install) after having a CCC backup and a Time machine backup in place.

When I plugged in my 3 expresscard, 10.6 detects the card, initialises and populates the WWAN icon with “Telstra 3G: Not Configured”.
Screenshot 1
It detects the card as a “Novatel Wireless HSDPA Modem”, and automatically configures the Network Advanced settings of the card, as shown:
Screenshot 2
The question is: Why is the APN telstra.datapack setup as default?

I am able to change the APN to 3netaccess, which results in a successful connection to 3:
Wed Sep 2 15:38:25 2009 : Initializing phone: ATE0V1&F&D2&C1S0=0
Wed Sep 2 15:38:25 2009 : Initializing PDP context: AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","3netaccess"
Wed Sep 2 15:38:25 2009 : Initializing with secondary command: AT$NWPDN=0
Wed Sep 2 15:38:25 2009 : Dialing: ATD*99***1#
Wed Sep 2 15:38:25 2009 : Waiting for connection
Wed Sep 2 15:38:25 2009 : Connection established
Wed Sep 2 15:38:28 2009 : Serial connection established.
Wed Sep 2 15:38:28 2009 : Using interface ppp0
Wed Sep 2 15:38:28 2009 : Connect: ppp0 <--> /dev/cu.wwan
Wed Sep 2 15:38:32 2009 : Could not determine remote IP address: defaulting to 10.64.***.***
Wed Sep 2 15:38:32 2009 : local IP address 115.130.***.***
Wed Sep 2 15:38:32 2009 : remote IP address 10.64.***.***
Wed Sep 2 15:38:32 2009 : primary DNS address
Wed Sep 2 15:38:32 2009 : secondary DNS address

The annoying thing is the WWAN menu still shows Telstra when connected.
Screenshot 3

Looking at the WWAN system file:
cd /System/Library/Extensions/IOSerialFamily.kext/\
less countryCodes.plist

it has only Telstra, Optus and Vodafone carriers listed. I think this could be the cause of the default APN being populated in the Advanced settings. I can’t find where the “Telstra 3G” in the WWAN menu item is coming from though.

I’d appreciate if anyone can give their thoughts on how to fix this.

Hardy Jonck said,

September 5, 2009 @ 09:14


I had the same problem. I eventually deleted all the Novatel files in: /System/Library/Extension/ as follows:
rm NovatelMerlin.kext NovatelWirelessFilter.kext NovatelWireless3G.kext

I rebooted – and everything worked fine.

Hope that helps.

lantrix said,

September 7, 2009 @ 10:25

Thanks for the response. I had none of the Novatel* drivers installed, as I had never used the ISP or mnaufacturer drivers. They are listed as 10.4+ compatabile and I had nothing but trouble with them under 10.5.

I thought I had it at least working.

After logging in with a second acocunt on the Macbook Pro, it would not even initialise. Then back on my normal account, it would no longer connect either.
I started getting console errors:

7/09/09 9:35:42 AM[10] Can't open CFBundle for /System/Library/Extensions/IOSerialFamily.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleWWANSupport1.kext.
7/09/09 9:35:42 AM[10] Kext id not found; removing personalities.

The strange thing is that the original account I got it working on was using AppleWWANSupport.kext NOT AppleWWANSupport1.kext.

I’m really not in the mood for reinstalling the whole O/S, so the way I got this working again was to:

  1. ensure I had the AppleWWANSupport1.kext and AppleWWANSupport.kext folders back in place in /System/Library/Extensions/IOSerialFamily.kext/Contents/PlugIns/ (thanks Timemachine backup!)
  2. remove the “Novatel Wireless HSDPA Modem” from the Network services list
  3. and as others have said in the thread – Reboot with the card plugged in.
  4. I then logged in with my second account (that never worked with the XU870) and added the new network service, choosing the “Novatel Wireless HSDPA Modem
  5. Under advanced settings I then removed the default telstra.datapack that was added putting the 3netaccess APN in for the ISP I use

lantrix said,

September 7, 2009 @ 10:41

I’m also discussing this issue over at the Apple Discussion Forums

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