For enterprises wanting to roll out SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 on notebooks, the lack of 3G, or UMTS, wireless broadband card support was an annoying hole compared to the available Windows support.
With the May 21 release of SLED 10 SP2 Novell included a graphical applet and plug-and-play support for wireless broadband in addition to improvements to Network Manager, and support for new hardware devices.
So, how does it work?
The 3G support is enabled with a new package, UMTSmon. UMTSmon is not installed by default when you upgrade to SP2 from SP1, but it is a simple task to install using YAST. You also need to make sure smpppd is enabled - again use YAST to see if it has been activated.
Now you can plug in your wireless card.
I am using a Novatel Wireless Merlin XU870 modem and connecting to the "3" network.
Start UMTSmon and configure a default connection. The only setting I needed to add was APN - in this case "3netaccess".
If you use a number of broadband providers you can set up alternative profiles in UMTSmon.
Once you have set up your default connection profile click on the connect icon and you should connect. You can view the status in the UMTSmon main window.
I was easily able to run Lotus Notes over the connection and connect to various Web sites without problem. When you are done simply click the disconnect icon.
With 3G wireless broadband support via a graphical applet there is one less reason not to try SLED as your notebook's operating system of choice.
Andrew Glassock is information systems manager at IDG Australia, publisher of TechWorld. His interests include sailing and figuring out what to do when Windows XP is no longer supported. Andrew can be contacted at email@example.com.