USB cellular modem difficulties


pokeefe0001

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Win11 21H2 build 22000.593
I'm trying to use a USB cellular modem (Inseego USB800, AT&T cellular support). Although it eventually works, I have trouble getting to it's admin function. I don't know enough about any aspect of this configuration to diagnose or even ask reasonable questions.

At the driver level, the device uses Windows' Remote NDIS support - Ethernet over USB.
When I plug the device in, here's what I see"
  1. The device first goes through some provisioning process with AT&T. (And I don't have any idea what that means.)
  2. Eventually the device (somehow) causes Windows to invoke my default browser (FireFox) and is supposed to present the modem's admin page at http://att.manager/ or http://192.168.1.1. Sometimes that page is displayed, but many times it goes to www.msn.com (?!?).
  3. If, and before (or maybe at the same time) the admin page is displayed, a walled garden page is displayed telling me to log on to something. There's nothing for me to log onto so I just clear it.
Now, some questions:
How in heaven's name can a device get Windows to invoke a browser?

Where is the walled garden stuff coming from? That's something I would expect if I were using WiFi of an Ethernet connection in a hotel, etc.

Most importantly, where is the www.msn.com connection coming from? Do I have something in Windows that makes that a default connection? It seems unlikely the AT&T would be doing that. (Obviously the modem has connected me to the web by that time or I would not be getting msn.com.)
Whatever is causing it, I have to close the browser, restart it, and enter http://192.168.1.1 - not arduous, but I'd rather have it happen automatically.

Anyone have any idea what's going on here?

I
 

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CountMike

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USB modems like that usually come with driver in it's internal memory. see if you can find an updated driver if you had that one long.
Or try to set IPs here
1649922883258.png
 

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pokeefe0001

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I finally got back to testing this. If I understand what I'm reading, Microsoft wrote the Remote NDIS standard (MS proprietary) and has included a driver for it since XP. The driver is dated 6/21/2006 and has (what I think is) the generic Win11 version number - 10.0.22000.1. Since MS provides this driver I can only assume they've provided a good one. As long as the device complies with the protocol standard this driver should work. The modem claims I'm running the latest firmware so hopefully it complies with the standard.

As far as the adapter's IP address stuff, Windows has no trouble communicating with either the web or with the "router" in the modem so I don't think I'll mess with that.

One more bit of information. The Windows Network Connection Status Indicator makes several transitions while the device is activating - showing Ethernet connectivity, then no connectivity, then Ethernet connectivity again. During that I get several invocations of my browser showing a failure to connect to www.msftconnecttest.com. This seems to be because of Windows' "active probing" that is part of the NCSI support (although I thought it just did an NSLookup rather than trying to start an HTTP connection.) Maybe that support also tries an HTTP connection to www.msn.com. (That seems very unlikely, but I wouldn't put anything past MS.)
 

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pokeefe0001

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Hah! From How to fix the Msftconnecttest redirect error: A Step-by-step Guide 2022
Msftconnecttest.com, operated by Microsoft, is an official website that helps check if the Internet connection is accessible.

In every computer system, as the user signs in the network, it automatically establishes a connection, and the user can access the Internet. This is the usual behavior as per its design, says Microsoft. But, these few cases have created havoc. As a result, the operators and users are redirected to msftconnecttest and then to random websites, such as the MSN website, when trying to connect Internet. Also, the networks visible in the taskbar will pop up ‘No Internet' or ‘Limited Internet access'.
That article mentions some meaningless remediation steps such as resetting the network adapter (Why?) and changing Internet Explorer options (not applicable). But it and several other articles mention turning off the EnableActiveProbing registry entry. I've got a hunch that may break more than it fixes, but I may give it a try.
 

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clam1952

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Thinking about it, USB modem? its not connected to a port that has the disable to save power option ticked? I'm thinking there may be a delay due to the port being in save power mode initially as in off?

What happens if you plug it in after the PC has booted up?
 

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pokeefe0001

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What happens if you plug it in after the PC has booted up?
Actually, all of my tests (and actual use) have been done plugging the modem in after the computer has been booted up. So I tried the opposite - I tried having the moden plugged in before booting - both from a powered off state and before doing a Restart. In both of those cases - only one test each - the browser is not invoked at all. There are some timing considerations there, though. The modem provisioning (whatever that means) happens whenever the modem is plugged into a powered up USB port, even if this is an "always on" port with the computer shut down. This provisioning is a very slow process taking 4-5 minutes. I have no idea how far the provisioning has gotten by the time the computer activates the USB port.

This computer is a laptop which usually communicates via WiFi. I have experienced the problem more often when I have disabled WiFi prior to attaching the modem than when I just attach the modem and let Windows switch from WiFi to Ethernet. The problem has always happened (at least under Win11) when I disable the WiFi adapter before proceeding. It sometimes works without problem if I let Windows switch from WiFi to Ethernet.

BTW, I rarely use this cellular modem. Until this recent spate of testing, I had not used it for around 2 years. Back then it worked without a hitch, but that was a different world: Win10, different drivers, probably a different BIOS version.

Hmm. I think I'll try it on an old decommissioned laptop that still has Win10. I don't know if I've ever used the modem on that laptop so I don't know what this will prove, but it may be interesting.
 

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  • OS
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    16GB
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    DAS S Pro (Cherry Brown)
    Mouse
    Logitech USB of some sort

pokeefe0001

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Interesting. No trouble on Win10 in a handful of tests. One time I saw the browser briefly showing www.msftconnecttest.com/redirect in the address bar, but even that eventually got me to the modem's admin web page.

Maybe it's a timing problem or something wrong with the Win11 driver.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Microsoft
    CPU
    Intel Core i5-8400
    Motherboard
    ASUS PRIME H370-PLUS
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel UHD Graphics 630
    Sound Card
    On board
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung SyncMaster 2043BWX
    Screen Resolution
    1680 x 1050
    Hard Drives
    Samsung SSD 850 256GB
    WDC 1TB NVMe
    WD 3TB external USB drive
    PSU
    I don't remember
    Case
    Fractal Design R4
    Cooling
    Air CPU + 2 case fans
    Keyboard
    DAS S Pro (Cherry Brown)
    Mouse
    Logitech USB of some sort
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