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Program your Sprint 3G/4G USB Modem 250U by Sierra Wireless for Mac

Highlighted
Journeyman

Program your Sprint 3G/4G USB Modem 250U by Sierra Wireless for Mac

So, I just purchased a new MacBook Pro (15-inch, Early 2011, Sandybridge Core i7 2.3 GHz with Snow Leopard) and I get everything nice and installed and expect everything to work nearly as expected as on my old MacBook (13-inch, Aluminum, Late 2008, Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz with Snow Leopard).  When I launch SmartView for the first time I get the following dialog.

Just for reference

Old: Darwin Zim.local 10.6.0 Darwin Kernel Version 10.6.0: Wed Nov 10 18:13:17 PST 2010; root:xnu-1504.9.26~3/RELEASE_I386 i386

New: Darwin TheMassive.local 10.7.1 Darwin Kernel Version 10.7.1: Mon Jan 31 14:55:53 PST 2011; root:xnu-1504.10.48~4/RELEASE_X86_64 x86_64

no 64-bit support.png

Ok, only a slight difference, this shouldn't be too bumpy a ride.  MacOS has been 64-bit for years now and Snow Leopard is the second release of it.  The fact there's this kernel difference (10.6 to 10.7) shouldn't be too gating a factor after all it's still Snow Leopard and it's been out for 6 minor releases, mainstream.  Sprint has been doing 4G for quite some time, albeit in limited scope.  The installer never warned me of any problems and so everything should be good, right?

Before I continue, I should mention that I am a technical professional, I'm not exactly new to being an "Early Adopter" and at the time of this posting I've already tried several permutations of trying to "just make it work".  These include starting off by just installing the latest and greatest from sprint.com/downloads, Sierra's own driver set, starting at the CD and upgrading through the patch levels.  I also looked at the Linux instructions which only provide 3G connectivity for this 4G (although the support document made available states that it was updated to include support for this 4G device) which only supports customers on the 3G network for the 4G device.

I am able to get a 3G connection on my 4G modem just fine (this is because it's MacOS X Core handling a pretty standard device, a USB modem using a PPP interface) but no WiMax (4G).  Several hours into this discovery, I'm starting to get pretty upset because this not working greatly affects my workflow.

I suppose I should get to the point.  Is anyone else having this problem?  Has anyone solved it yet?  Maybe I should ditch Sprint and go with a provider dedicated to supporting viable technologies and futures.  I did the same with AT&T and their failure of a 3G rollout.  Is it time to call Sprint's 4G rollout a failure?  Here I thought these guys were turning around.

33 REPLIES 33
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Journeyman

Verizon has decent support people. Device-wise, there are issues, software and hardware. I went to Verizon, got a Pantech 3G/4G modem, which had major issues (would shut itself down, go cataconic), and had a number of other things. Some were hardware, but a replacement unit still showed many issues. Looking in the Mac's error logs, it appeared the drivers were poorly written. Verizon ultimately replaced my modem with a Mifi 3G/4G that's been working pretty well. Since the laptop talks to the Mifi over Wifi, there's no software and driver issues.

I gave up on Sprint because they just couldn't be bothered with proper Mac support. Only came back over to this forum area to go find out how to shut down my account and stop getting notices about new postings. Sorry, Sprint, it's goodbye.

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Journeyman

Yes. this problem still exists with the 250U.

1) Sierra Wireless does not offer software that runs on OSX 10.7 (Lion). They say on their site that anything model 300+ works for OSX Lion, but the 250U is conspicuously missing from their list of compatible products.

2) The workaround (restart in 32-bit mode) doesn't work. When you try to launch in 32-bit-mode (the Sprint work-around), you get the message "Automatic installation of skin GUI failed to unzip and cache item : Smart1.skx"; then "Resource file missing from main bundle : / Applications/Sprint SmartView/Sprint/SmartView.app/Contents/Resources/Defaults_Encrypted/Skins/Default/MultiMode/config.xml", then an "Image file missing... blah blah/GPRS/background.png". It suggests that I am missing resources and that I re-install the software. Repeated re-installations do not fix the issue.

3) Sprint offers not other product that I can upgrade to; yes, I'd be willing to pay for a device upgrade. But they do not offer anything as a replacement to the 250U.

4) Sprint tech support recognizes that this problem is endemic, and has no estimated time to provide a solution. They agreed that I should be transferred to customer service to get a credit on the account but...

5) Calling customer service, I was informed that I an not eligible for a credit or charge reversal on the $49.99 that I am paying per month for this service not to work. They believe they are providing me flawless service, and it is my fault that I upgraded to Lion, even though that's what SHIPPED WITH MY MAC. It used to work on another older Mac I used to have, but all new Macs since July come with OSX, and Sprint has no answer to that issue.

6) The customer service supervisor was willing to offer me a deal to put my account on haitus. I would get no credit for months that it hasn't worked, but they would be willing to only charge me $9.99 for the privilege of it to not work for an unspecified number of months to come. In other words, this guy's best offer was to charge me $120.00 a year for something that he knows patently will not work, just so I have the privilege to consider myself a Sprint customer.

My current plan is as follows:

a) I want to speak to someone at Sierra Wireless directly, and find out what their support plan is for the Sprint 250U. It is unacceptable that they have provided no working software since 20 July 2011, when OSX Lion was released.

b) I wish to continue to press Sprint for a FULL credit to my account for this device since August 2011, when they acknowledged that their suggested workaround for launching in 32-bit mode didn't work.

c) I wish to continue to gather stories from other Sprint users of this device to see if they can collectively redress this issue for us.

Please continue to post to this thread with any stories of success or failure regarding this product and Sprint's related services and support.

Thank you!

Sincerely,

Peter Corless

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Journeyman

FIXED!!!!

I am currently writing to you all via the Sprint 4G network on my Macintosh, running OSX 10.7.

First,  I had a win, vindicated partially by having $100.00 credited to my bill  for the non-operation of services over the past two months since  getting my new Macintosh. They saw zero usage on the account, agreed  they had no story as for a fix, and gave me the credit.

But that  still left me without a plan going forward. They still wanted to charge  me ~$9 a month to keep the account in haitus, which they could do for up  to 6 months, pending some sort of resolution.

That just still smacked me as wrong. To charge any money for a  non-operating service is bad business, and only builds up a grudge in  the customer.

So I called Sierra Wireless. They pointed out to me  that Sprint's web site for the 250U only shows SmartView 2.5 available;  but similar 3G/4G cards from Novatel show that there is an OSX Lion  compatible version of SmartView available -- SmartView 2.6!

I downloaded it. It works!

All you need to do is pretend  you are a Novatel product-user instead of a Sierra Wireless 250U  customer, and you can get the working software also.

Best ofall? It works in 64-bit mode!!!!!!

Needed Resolution


Sprint needs to update its web site and point customers to  SmartView 2.6 for use with the 250U. If there is some sort of major bug  in 2.6 regarding the 250U, which has heretofore prevented them from  saying it was available for the 250U, they can caveat it and eventually  patch 2.6. But for now, it seems to be working fine for me.

They also need to get in a better communications relations with  Sierra. The OEM clearly knew about the availability of the fix. But  person-after-person at Sprint didn't understand what I was talking  about, or still suggested the "restart in 32-bit mode" work-around  (which didn't work), or simply capitulated that there was no software  compatible with OSX 10.7 Lion, and flopped around like dead fish rather  than say "We'll look into a software fix for you."

This was corporate bureaucratic stupidity at its finest. It took well over 10  hours to finally achieve the resolution I needed, and it was all "on me"  to get it researched and resolved.

I do truly have to thank the  people at Sprint and Sierra Wireless who didn't treat me like a child or  an idiot. There was one customer service person who was particularly  polite, understanding and courteous who managed to get me the credit.  She was a superstar! There was also the final technical support rep who  recorded the story. I pray that he can make headway in Sprint's  bureaucracy to a) get the web site fixed, and b) hopefully contact  someone on the Sprint-Sierra OEM team to get a better communication path  set up.

Again, this did not need to be a problem. For the past  however-many-months since 2.6 has been available (a few days after  10.7's release, from what I understand), Sprint and Sierra had a  fall-down, when they could have been making people incredibly happy.

They need to do better.

Sincerely,

-Peter Corless

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Patron

Yeah that's for sure. It's amazing how some of the sprint team is so good and helpful wail others are just plain incompetent.

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Journeyman

For people struggling to find the right link:

http://shop2.sprint.com/en/software_downloads/mobile_broadband/novatel_merlin_cc208.shtml

Merlin™ CC208 3G-4G 2-in-1 Card by Novatel Wireless

Sprint SmartView for Mac OS® X – Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard and Lion

Download this software to create a high-speed  Internet connection for your Mac anywhere on the Sprint 3G or 4G network  with your Mobile Broadband Device.

Then click on "more details" and "download" at the bottom of the information.

-Pete.

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Journeyman

Yes!!!  Thank you so much for the link.  I got a MacBook Air (OS X 10.7.2) for Christmas and after hit the same wall that many on this thread have.  Downloaded the 2.6 version and works perfectly.  Can only attest for 3G though as I do not have 4G service yet in my home area.  Will be on the road to the east coast in the near future and am anxious to test it there.

Thanks again...

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Journeyman

Peter:


Thanks for the info.  This kind of stuff is exactly why I don't have my phone service with them anymore and will definitely be canceling my mobile data account as well.  Unbelievable how sharing something so simple takes people outside of their company to figure it out.

Steve

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Journeyman

Thank You PETERPCORLESS! The information and download for SmartView 2.6 you provided works perfectly!!! I am now finally using my Sierra Wireless U250 on 4g as I post this using OS-X LION!! I previously tried to use the CLEAR beta driver mentioned earlier in this thread, and that worked for 2 minutes before causing numerous kernal panics until I deleted it! If you download the U250 link for SmartView, it still downloads 2.5, not 2.6, which will not run 4g on a 64bit LION Mac! I am now finally cruising along using it in 4g with no problems so far! It works perfect! Finally someone got through all of the clueless Sprint customer service people and got the right answer from Sierra and posted it! I cannot believe that Sprint still has not updated the U250 driver to 2.6 on that page! I think I am going to try and get a credit like you did! I have been stuck in 3g slowness forever! Come on Sprint, wake up and make the changes needed! It has been almost a year with no known update! Thanks again! Anyone that reads this, IT WORKS!!!!!!

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Journeyman

Thank you PeterCorless!!! This does indeed work. I am writing to you using the 250U in 4G WIMax mode right now. Why this is still not fised on the Sprint support website is anyone's imagination. But I can confirm it is not fixed. I downloaded the latest version from the website on Sunday and it was the 2.5 version. It still has the same problems as documented in this thread and the link that Peter provided did fix the issue.

Sprint: Please fix your website fo rthe 250U to show the correct version for Mac OSX!!!

Highlighted
Journeyman

I thought that the post I had made previously would be my last on this issue, but it is not. I thought that I had everything fixed and working great running my 250U in WiMax 4G on my MacBook Pro running OSX LION using the workaround provided by PETERCORLESS, but I ran into a MAJOR brick wall! It was working good for about 2 or 3 days, but I than started having major kernel panics non stop everytime I plugged the 250U in or out of the USB port. I do not know what was causing it. I tried many different things to resolve the issue, but in the end it did not help. It even wiped out my entire Windows OS on my VMWare Fusion. I think that may be the problem, the VMWare program? It seemed to happen everytime I was running Fusion. I had their support department looking at it (still looking as well), and they said the kernel panic logs were showing the Sprint Smartview software not being compatible with the 250U using the version I was using, and possibly the Fusion program also contributing to this problem when it was running. I hope this problem does not happen to anyone in the future! I am so bummed with Sprint and the lack of help and Mac support for 4G! I am done with them!!  Here is the exchange I had with the VMWare techs, in case it helps anyone else out: 

http://communities.vmware.com/message/1983557#1983557

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