Make Your Own 3G Router

There’s an Easter Egg inside the chumby One (which is now on sale at Costco online for $99, cheaper than chumby.com’s $119 price!) that enables it to work with certain 3G USB modems and function as a 3G router (similar to a MiFi).

Above is a picture of a Verizon USB760 modem plugged into the USB port of a chumby One.

Use of the Easter Egg is documented on the chumby wiki, but it can be quite simple:

1. Plug in your 3G card.
2. Go to the Network Config screen by pressing the top button, going to Settings, then tapping on Network.
3. Select “create a new connection”, press OK, and wait for the scan to time out.
4. Select “Other”
5. Enter 3G as the name of the access point. It must have a capital G for it to work.
6. Wait for the subsequent scan to time out.
7. Select “Manual”.
8. Tap “OK” to select None as the encryption type.
9. Tap “OK” to select Automatic IP allocation.
10. Tap “OK” to confirm settings and connect to the network

To activate local wifi sharing, ssh into the device (or plug in a USB keyboard to activate the drop-down console) and use the command “touch /psp/start_ap” to flag the network setup scripts to configure your chumby One as an access point. Note that AP mode also works with other network sources, such as Ethernet-over-USB.

This works because the chumby One ships with a copy of pppd, hostapd and a set of glue scripts (courtesy of xobs) that allow it first to talk to the 3G network, and second to work as an access point that shares the 3G connection with other wifi devices using its internal wifi card.

Since this is an Easter Egg, it has a few rough edges on it, such as no native UI to do things like configure your AP SSID and encryption mode, and for many GSM networks you’ll need to enter a custom username, password and phone number; but you certainly can ssh in and tweak the scripts to set those things up. Regardless, this is a very handy trick that I’ve used in hotels from Shenzhen to Tokyo to New York to set up a wifi hotspot (complete with Internet radio and chumby apps) on the road — the hack works with quite a few 3G dongles and networks (given a little tweaking).

35 Responses to “Make Your Own 3G Router”

  1. [...] $20 cheaper than chumby themselves are selling it – company founder “bunnie” has revealed that you can turn your touchscreen device into a 3G MiFi of sorts.  Plug in a 3G USB modem into [...]

  2. [...] mais barata do que chumby ela mesma o está vendendo – companhia que o fundador “bunnie” revelou que você pode transformar seu dispositivo do écran sensível em um 3G MiFi das sortes.  Obstrua [...]

  3. [...] chumby One is on sale at Costco for $99, this is a *deal*. And here’s a cool hack – make your own 3G router. Bunnie writes – There’s an Easter Egg inside the chumby One (which is now on sale at Costco [...]

  4. [...] has taken a few moments to show us how to turn our Chumby One into a 3g router. As it turns out, there is an easter egg that allows it to communicate with certain models of 3g [...]

  5. Nice – but another little tidbit interests me: what is that (what looks like a) cinch connection on the back of your Chumby One for? Is that a feature on an upcoming hardware revision?

  6. [...] no graphical interface, so you’ll need to do the configuration via SSH. The good news is that instructions have been posted, so if you’re feeling adventurous, you could give it a [...]

  7. [...] no graphical interface, so you’ll need to do the configuration via SSH. The good news is that instructions have been posted, so if you’re feeling adventurous, you could give it a [...]

  8. [...] no graphical interface, so you’ll need to do the configuration via SSH. The good news is that instructions have been posted, so if you’re feeling adventurous, you could give it a [...]

  9. [...] no graphical interface, so you’ll need to do the configuration via SSH. The good news is that instructions have been posted, so if you’re feeling adventurous, you could give it a [...]

  10. Don says:

    Bunnie,

    Can you please ban these useless linkbacks? The comments section has 1 real comment, your response- and 8 linkbacks. What’s the point?

  11. [...] certamente vai trazer muitos novos clientes – alguns que, certamente, vão testar o hack pra transformar o adorável em um roteador [...]

  12. GC says:

    I’ll cast a vote for ditching the retarded linkbacks as well, please. There’s even more since the first comment about them.

  13. bunnie says:

    I don’t *usually* get this much redundant backlinking — typically the backlinks are more interesting, with insight added by another blogger who happens to reference this post, as opposed to a simple copy/paste on yet another blog. However, it seems there are some sites that bot content off of major tech blogs, and for some popular articles this causes a massive amount of redundant back-linking.

    Looks like WP has a feature where I can disable trackbacks on a per-post basis. I’ve turned off the feature for this post, so hopefully that resolves the concern.

  14. eva says:

    wa!!That is so cool,thank you very much for your share.And on the other hand I know a website that sell 3g router,that is:http://www.3gmodem.com.hk/

  15. Jeff says:

    Could this work with a USB wifi antenna?

  16. Luis Felipe says:

    Will this work on the older chumby model? Anyone knows if updated firmwares are being released for it??

  17. I love my Verizon MiFi, but I also love the geek factor in doing this … and doing it so that you could use a lot of different dongles depending on where you are. ;)

  18. esmith says:

    would this work with a Clear 4g usb modem?

  19. b says:

    will this work with the older chumby?

    • bunnie says:

      The chumby classic does not currently have these drivers installed. There’s a project in the works to back-port a bunch of features to the chumby classic, but with the launch of the dash and other products soon to be announced, it’s been slow going…

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  22. Donnie says:

    Bonnie,

    Do you have to use a registered and activated Verizon USB760? I bought one from eBay and tried this procedure today and it didn’t work for me. I was thinking this would just allow me to connect locally and use my broadband for access and not having to involve Verizon at all. Is that correct?

    Thank you!
    Donnie

  23. rgm says:

    Can you give us some hints on how to change the wifi SSID from “ChumbyFW” to something else? Or on how to enable WPA2 encryption for the network the chumby One creates?

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  29. rgm says:

    This topic is now full of spam with no useful updates :-(
    To share knowledge about using the Chumby as a 3G router, please contribute to:
    http://wiki.chumby.com/mediawiki/index.php/Chumby_tricks#Connect_through_a_3G_USB_modem_.28and_share_it_via_wifi.29

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  31. I found this very complicated. How can a novice make a router like this? I find it very easy to use internet on my mobile phone and I do not need a PC as my mobile phone has everything that i need!

  32. I’m going to give this a go with my Chumby… expect a reply from me very soon if I don’t get it to work!