Novatel Merlin XU870 vs Apple WWAN Support Update 1.0

Well that was interesting. I’ve run into a driver problem. On a Mac! They’re not supposed to have driver problems, especially problems created by Apple!

Here’s the thing. I’ve got a Merlin XU870 HSDPA card for my ExpressCard/32 slot in my MacBook Pro. Three (the mobile phone company, not the number) gave me some fairly basic software from Novatel to make the card work. It was a kernel extension and a modem script – that’s about it. It worked just fine for a few months.

The other day, Software Update came up and told me about WWAN Support Update 1.0. Noticing the Merlin card amongst the hardware it supports, I allowed it to be installed. That’s when the problems started.

When I put the card in after the update, the status icons in the upper right corner of the street started flashing. It was like there was some kind of error loading them up. I took the card out again, and all was well. Installing the old drivers overtop of the new ones did nothing.

After speaking with a very nice senior person at Three (the mobile phone company, not the number), and a very nice guy at Apple (the computer company, not the fruit), I found some discussions at Apple’s website that led me to an article at MacFixit.

Here’s the deal. Delete these files (you’ll need to be root: sudo su -):

  • /Library/Modem Scripts/WWAN Support
  • /System/Library/CoreServices/Menu Extras/
  • /System/Library/Extensions/IOSerialFamily.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleWWANSupport.kext
  • /System/Library/Extensions/IOSerialFamily.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleWWANVerizon.kext
  • /Library/Application Support/AppleVerizonSupport.kext
  • /Library/Application Support/AppleVerizonSupportKicker.kext
  • /Library/Application Support/

Then reinstall the Merlin software from Novatel. I did this, and everything seems to be back to normal now. No more flashing icons or similar weirdness, and I can connect to the mobile Internet the same way I used to.

Now all I have to do is wait for Three (the mobile phone company, not the number) to finish their network upgrade in Melbourne and turn on HSDPA – and Apple to fix their problem and release version 1.1 that’s compatible with the non-Cingular users of the world.

7 responses to Novatel Merlin XU870 vs Apple WWAN Support Update 1.0:

  1. maevacinni said on 8th March, 2007 at 09:53

    Do you have any information about a WWAN Update release 1.1? It’s thrue? Because the wwan menu is very cool (signal bar and network avaible 3G, 2G).

    Best regards,

  2. jurgen said on 8th March, 2007 at 09:56

    Unfortunately, I don’t have any more information than your average guy. Hopefully Apple will realise their global screwup, and do something about it.

  3. Dan Warne said on 26th June, 2007 at 17:45

    Apple has once again pushed out the buggy Apple WWAN 1.0 update as part of Mac OS X 10.4.10, rendering my Novatel Merlin XU870 inoperable on the Three network in Australia. I can’t believe neither Apple nor Novatel have acknowledged the problem and created a permanent solution that doesn’t require their customers to be screwing around on the command line in super-user mode.

  4. Jeroen said on 2nd July, 2007 at 12:02

    Thanks for this, very useful. I also have this card with Three in Sydney. They give a nice utility for Windows to see your bandwidth usage but not on for the Mac. HAv you heard of anything that shows your usage on a Mac?

  5. Simon said on 10th July, 2007 at 12:34

    Please – Anybody have/know of a driver for HUAWEI Model E220 HSPDA USB Modem for Mac OSX?? In Australia only PC supported.

  6. aloha said on 12th July, 2007 at 23:48

    For Jeroen:
    I’ve searched also this kind of utility. The only one is launch2net (check
    Unfortunately you must pay for this. I’ve tried demo version and it works fine, shows bandwith usage and incoming an outcoming amount of data.