I am looking for an internal PCIe WWAN (UMTS or LTE) card that will work flawlessly with Linux (specifically Ubuntu, currently on 16.04) on a HP EliteBook 6930p. My requirements are:
- A internal device that I don't have to plug in before I can use it.
- All software (drivers etc.) available as packages from the standard repos
- Reliability, no major stability issues.
I have used a Huawei USB stick as well as an Option ExpressPort adapter, both of which were plug-and-play and worked reliably – were it not for the fact that they are additional external devices to carry around, violating #1.
I have also tried two PCIe cards: one is the stock HP un2300 (GOBI 2000), which will not be recognized without providing a firmware blob (which needs to be extracted from the Windows driver package and placed somewhere in the filesystem) – which is a major hack operation and thus violates #2 (and still doesn't work after the operation, thus also violating #3). The other is an Ericsson F5521gw (tried in a different laptop), which is recognized instantly and requires no more than entering basic network parameters to connect – but will at some point go into sleep mode and never wake up again, thus violating #3.
Ubuntu has a list at https://wiki.ubuntu.com/NetworkManager/Hardware/3G, but it appears somewhat unclear as to what works out of the box and what requires hacking.
PC Engines has a short list of PCIe 3G modems supported by their hardware, which (among others) runs various flavors of Linux, but no information on support level.
pfSense has a list of 3G/4G modems known to work. As pfSense is BSD-based, the list may be of limited relevance to Linux – though devices on the list are likely to have a free driver for a non-Windows OS, which in turn makes it likely that a Linux driver is also available for these devices (or will be at some point). On the other hand, the HP un2300 is also on the list, despite the requirement to download a firmware blob, just like its successor, the un2400 (GOBI 2000).
Does anyone know of PCIe UMTS adapters known to work with Ubuntu or Debian, or have any other way of figuring out whether I can expect a given device to work with Ubuntu (other than by trying it out)?