Sierra Wireless AC850 wireless card installation in Ubuntu

Hardware used:

  • Sierra Wireless AC850 PC-Card
  • Thinkpad r60e

Initial setup

Before you start, make sure that the AirCard is not inserted into the PCMCIA slot.

Getting the firmware files

  1. Download the Aircard_Linux.tar file, extract it:

    user@laptop:~$ tar -xzvf AirCard_8xx_Linux.tar.gz
    [messages indicating extraction of files...]
  2. Copy the firmware file and overwrite the older version 7xx into /lib/firmware:

    sudo mv  SW_8xx_SER.dat /lib/firmware/SW_7xx_SER.cis 

Configuring Ubuntu to recognize the AC850

The following will configure the AirCard as a serial-only device:

  1. Add the following to the /etc/pcmcia/config file under the Modems and other serial devices section:

    card "Sierra Wireless AC850 3G Network Adapter R1"
    manfid 0x0192, 0x0710
    cis "cis/SW_8xx_SER.dat"
    bind "serial_cs"
  2. Copy the file SW_8xx_SER.dat in the archive in /etc/pcmcia/cis/
  3. Restart the computer
  4. Insert the AirCard

When the card is inserted two high beeps should be heard, indicating that the AirCard has been recognized and the serial driver has been successfully loaded. The AirCard can be accessed as /dev/modem when inserted. Running minicom should allow access to the AT command interface.

Serial port mapping

We now must create a udev rules file so the card is mapped to a UMTS device.

First, find out the card ID:

  1. From a terminal window:

    user@laptop:~$ pccardctl ident

    should give something like

    Socket 0:
      product info: "Sierra Wireless", "AC850", "3G Network Adapter", "R1"
      manfid: 0x0192, '''0x0710'''
      function: 6 (network)
  2. Take note of the second string at the manfid: line, in this case it's 0x710

Now create de udev rules file:

  1. From a terminal window:

    gksudo gedit /etc/udev/rules.d/99-aircard.rules
  2. Insert this line, replace as appropriate the card ID: {{{BUS=="pcmcia", SYSFS{card_id}=="0x0710", NAME="umts", SYMLINK="tts/umts", RUN+="/usr/local/bin/umtsinit"


For udev to recognize this new card's rules, it must be restarted. From a terminal window, type this command:

sudo /etc/init.d/udev restart

You will see something like:

* Loading additional hardware drivers...   [ ok ] 

If the device is mapped correctly, a /dev/umts device will be setup by udev. This can be verified with

ls /dev/um*

If it's not the case, check /var/log/syslog to see whether an error happened. This can be done with the command:

tail /var/log/syslog

Connecting to the Internet

Two scripts will be needed for this.

Create the first one with this command:

gksudo gedit /etc/chatscripts/ac850chat

Copy this in the open editor window and save the result:

'' AT
OK ATD*99#

and also

gksudo gedit /etc/ppp/peers/ac850

Copy the following in the open editor:

connect '/etc/chatscripts/ac850chat'

The connection is established with the following instruction:

pon ac850

The connection is terminated with:


If the connection is established but no data is received, it can be because another connection is active. Open the network manager and deactivete all other active connections.

pon without argument will use the “more provider” configuration file. One can rename thus “more provider” in “provider.orig” and “ac850” in “more provider” with the instructions:

sudo mv /etc/ppp/peers/provider /etc/ppp/peers/provider.orig
sudo mv /etc/ppp/peers/ac850 /etc/ppp/peers/provider

Connecting with GPRSSEC

  • Install GPRSEC from

  • Run gprsec, select preferences and select the serial port you determined from dmesg.
  • Save the settings and click connect



AC 850, networking


AirCard8X0 (last edited 2011-04-08 14:50:26 by k.dejong)