I recently acquired a USB 3G modem from AT&T, in the hopes that it would allow me to work pretty much anywhere with minimal fuss. Now that I’m officially freelancing I’m dying to get out of the house, but don’t want to have to worry about where I’m going to be able to find WiFi.

In any case, I naively assumed that it would all be wine and roses, everything would work perfectly, and I would be able to easily do seemingly simple things like sharing my sweet new 3G connection over Airport with anyone else who happened to be working in my general vicinity. Upon eagerly tearing open the modem packaging and plugging it in though, I discovered pretty quickly that this sh*t is UGLY.

First of all, I couldn’t just plug in and get going. The Mac drivers for this thing aren’t part of OSX, and AT&T didn’t even bother to include them in the modem package. I had to go to some third party website and download them (support.option.com/att.) At least they took the time to write that in tiny type on page 30 of the manual.

Secondly, the third party application added a whole bunch of ugly, seemingly unnecessary network interfaces, and REMOVED all my EXISTING network interfaces. Clearly this wasn’t going to work. Not only could I not share my 3G connection with any other interface (since they’d all been disappeared,) but I couldn’t use any of my other interfaces at all until I disconnected the 3G.

[On a side note: googling the problem has indicated that this is also a major problem for Parallels and VMWare installs, which rely on adding network interfaces to get access to the host connection. Disappearing them all means that the guest OS can't access the 3G connection.]

But enough about the problem. Here’s my solution. Basically an updated version of the solution found here: Imperfect Workaround.

This works with the AT&T USBConnect Quicksilver Modem with DataConnect package, and Leopard (OS 10.5) on a Macbook Air.

  1. Install GlobeTrotter software as indicated by Quicksilver manual (Download from support.option.com/att — download link is tiny somewhere in the middle of that big blank page.)
  2. Plug in card and run GlobeTrotter Connect
  3. Connect and ensure your card is working this way
  4. Disconnect and quit GlobeTrotter Connect
  5. Open System Preferences, and click on “Network” (Choose “Edit Locations” in the Location dropdown menu, then choose “GlobeTrotter Connect” and click the “-” button.)
  6. Delete the “GlobeTrotter Connect” location
  7. Delete all of the weird network interfaces that GlobeTrotter has added (mine were called something like ‘Icon 322 Modem,’ ‘Icon 322 Diag’ etc.)
  8. Hit the ‘+’ button at the bottom of the interface list
  9. Choose Interface: Icon322 Control. Call it whatever you want (mine is called ‘Evil 3G Control’)
  10. In the right-hand pane, enter this information:
    • Configuration: Default
    • Telephone Number: ISP.CINGULAR
    • Account Name: ISPDA@CINGULARGPRS.COM
    • Password: CINGULAR1
  11. Click the “Advanced” button.
  12. In the “Modem” tab, choose:
    • Vendor: Other
    • Model: Option GlobeTrotter 3G
  13. Leave everything else as-is, and click OK
  14. Click Apply, the click Connect.

This should get you connected. I have found it to be very slightly tempermental, but not too bad. I’m not sure what will happen if you uninstall the GlobeTrotter application — if you try this, let me know what happens!

Leave me a comment if you got this to work, or had problems with it!