Linux Dial Setup

Linux Dial Setup


Modern Linux Distributions usually include a graphical Modem Manager such as Gnome-PPP or KPPP. On these, you simply fill out your username, password, and access number and the Modem Manager does the rest.

This document is primarily intended for those of you running older distributions that require a manual setup.


You must have PPP support in your kernel. Most modern Linux systems use a modular kernel and PPP is implemented in a module. Most modern Linux systems will load this module automatically upon boot but older systems may require that it be loaded manually by typing, “modprobe ppp.o“.

You will also need pppd, this is the daemon that interfaces with the kernel to provide a PPP connection to an Internet provider or another computer. Modern Linux systems include this in the distribution,


If your distribution lacks a graphical modem manager, you will need to edit the the following files manually:

  • /etc/resolv.conf
  • /etc/wvdial.conf

Edit /etc/resolv.conf to look like this:


To create /etc/wvdial.conf with the proper initial settings, run the following command (as root):


Now edit /etc/wvdial.conf to change the following lines, removing the leading semicolons and replacing the access number, username, and password:

;Username = <Your Dialup Username>
;Phone = <Your Dialup Access Number>
;Password = <Your Dialup Password>

An example of a complete /etc/wvdialconf file is below. Your information will be different. Please also add the line, “Auto Reconnect = off” in the Defaults section. We will show you how to automatically redial later.

[Dialer Defaults]
Baud = 115200
Modem = /dev/ttyS1
init1 = ATZ
init2 = ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 S11=55 +FCLASS=0
Username =
Password = YourPassword
Auto Reconnect = off

You can place multiple access numbers or accounts in the same file. In order to set up alternate access numbers, simply add the following set of lines to the file, choosing a name for the alternate connection:

[Dialer Alternate]
Phone = 555-1234
Username =
Password = MyPassword

Since this file has passwords in it, set the permissions so that only root can read it:

chmod 600 /etc/wvdial.conf


The wvdial utility works differently than pppd itself. When run from a shell, it will continue to log information from the connection to the shell window and terminate the call when the user sends a break signal (usually “^C”).

To run the connection manually, open a shell as root, and type:


If all is working, you will see the modem communicate and connection information on the terminal. Leave this terminal running (perhaps minimized if running under X), and to disconnect the connection, come back to this terminal and type “^C” (Control-C).

To connect to an alternate setting, add the name of the alternate after the command (case sensitive)

/usr/bin/wvdial alternate


Since auto-redial can play havok with the lines when you’re not actively using the connection (idle disconnect, redial, idle disconnect, redial, etc.), please place the mentioned line in the “[Defaults]” section above to disable it and use a separate section to specifically enable it when you’re closely monitoring the connection:

[Dialer Redial] Auto Reconnect = on

In this way, the following will dial the same “Default” or “Alternate” numbers and username / password combinations, but will redial if disconnected:

/usr/bin/wvdial redial

Remember to kill the session (“^C”) if leaving the computer idle or unmonitored for long periods, otherwise it will tie up your phone line as well as ours.

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