Click here to Skip to main content
15,353,818 members
Articles / Internet of Things
Posted 15 Jul 2015



Connect a GPRS modem to Intel® Edison

15 Jul 2015CPOL3 min read
This article tries to explain how to establish a data network (using ppp) by connecting a GPRS shield to the Intel® Edison board. An active T-Mobile SIM is being used in the shield.

This article is in the Product Showcase section for our sponsors at CodeProject. These articles are intended to provide you with information on products and services that we consider useful and of value to developers.

Get access to the new Intel® IoT Developer Kit, a complete hardware and software solution that allows developers to create exciting new solutions with the Intel® Galileo and Intel® Edison boards. Visit the Intel® Developer Zone for IoT.

This article tries to explain how to establish a data network (using ppp) by connecting a GPRS shield to the Intel® Edison board. An active T-Mobile SIM is being used in the shield.

Enable PPP in Kernel

Enable PPP in the Kernel and install ppp related packages.

Download the source files from

Before compiling the source files, it is recommended to increase root file system size.


Depending on the system configuration build takes 2-6 hours to finish.

** Ubuntu 12.04 has been used

Error while compilation:

Install libtool using sudo apt-get install libtool.
  1. ERROR: Task 535 (/home/inteldell/edison-src/device-software/meta-edison-distro/recipes-connectivity/libwebsockets/, do_compile) failed with exit code '1'

  2. NOTE: Tasks Summary: Attempted 1855 tasks of which 18 didn't need to be rerun and 1 failed.

Fix: Replace the line 22 in the recipe file at


Original: export OPENSSL_CONF=${TMPDIR}/sysroots/x86_64-linux/usr/lib/ssl/openssl.cnf

Replace: export OPENSSL_CONF=${TMPDIR}/sysroots/i686-linux/usr/lib/ssl/openssl.cnf

Configuring PPP in the Kernel.

# bitbake virtual/kernel –c menuconfig

Image 1

(First I enabled only PPP support for async serial ports, resulted in another error – enable PPP filtering. So ended up enabling all.)

Now install PPP packages from

Using pppd, create data connection using GPRS shield.

After the successful installation you should see the following file structure.

Image 2

In order to communicate with modem, the hardware serial port on GPIOs 0 and 1 has to be enabled.

Enable Serial Port

Enable the serial port on pins 0 and 1 by executing the following commands on terminal.

echo 214 > /sys/class/gpio/export 2>&1
echo high > /sys/class/gpio/gpio214/direction
echo low > /sys/class/gpio/gpio214/direction
echo 131 > /sys/class/gpio/export 2>&1
echo mode1 > /sys/kernel/debug/gpio_debug/gpio131/current_pinmux
echo 249 > /sys/class/gpio/export 2>&1
echo high > /sys/class/gpio/gpio249/direction
echo 1 > /sys/class/gpio/gpio249/value
echo 217 > /sys/class/gpio/export 2>&1
echo high > /sys/class/gpio/gpio217/direction
echo 1 > /sys/class/gpio/gpio217/value
echo out > /sys/class/gpio/gpio131/direction
echo 0 > /sys/class/gpio/gpio131/value
echo 130 > /sys/class/gpio/export 2>&1
echo mode1 > /sys/kernel/debug/gpio_debug/gpio130/current_pinmux
echo 248 > /sys/class/gpio/export 2>&1
echo low > /sys/class/gpio/gpio248/direction
echo 0 > /sys/class/gpio/gpio248/value
echo 216 > /sys/class/gpio/export 2>&1
echo in > /sys/class/gpio/gpio216/direction
echo in > /sys/class/gpio/gpio130/direction
echo high > /sys/class/gpio/gpio214/direction

Test the GPRS Shield

Test the status of the GPRS modem by send AT commands using the microcom.

# microcom /dev/ttyMFD1 –s 115200
AT+CMGF=1                      Set SMS text format
AT+CMGS="+1503*****79"       Send SMS message
> Hello World
+CMGS: 14

The same can be implemented using standard serial port programming or by using mraa library.

Enable GPRS

AT+CGATT=1                                     attach to GPRS network (normally includes in atd*99#)
AT+CGATT?                                        should return +CGATT: 1
AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP",""             context definition (for T-Mobile)
AT+CGACT=1                                     PDP context activation
AT+CGDATA="PPP",1                    enter data mode

Connect to internet using GPRS

Create a script that defines PDP (Packet Data Protocol) context and says connected. Please find the attached zip file for scripts.

Now establish the connection using command

# pppd call gprs &

Image 3

You can check the log file using

#cat /var/log/ppp/log

Press CTRL-C to close the connection at any stage!
defining PDP context...
waiting for connect...


Serial connection established.
Using interface ppp0
Connect: ppp0 <--> /dev/ttyMFD1
not replacing default route to wlan0 []
local  IP address
remote IP address
primary   DNS address
secondary DNS address


Intel® Developer Zone for IoT

Start inventing today with the Intel® IoT Developer Program which offers knowledge, tools, kits and a community of experts to quickly and easily turn your innovative ideas into IoT Solutions.

Dream it, Build it with the Intel® IoT Developer Kit for Intel® Edison and Intel® Galileo platforms. These kits are versatile, performance-optimized and fully integrated end-to-end IoT solutions supporting a variety of programming environments, tools, security, cloud connectivity and hardware.

For more resources and to learn how the new Intel® IoT Developer Kit v1.0 can help streamline your IoT projects:


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

United States United States
You may know us for our processors. But we do so much more. Intel invents at the boundaries of technology to make amazing experiences possible for business and society, and for every person on Earth.

Harnessing the capability of the cloud, the ubiquity of the Internet of Things, the latest advances in memory and programmable solutions, and the promise of always-on 5G connectivity, Intel is disrupting industries and solving global challenges. Leading on policy, diversity, inclusion, education and sustainability, we create value for our stockholders, customers and society.
Group type: Organisation

42 members

Comments and Discussions

Questionis ppp enabled in my edison ? Pin
Member 1248159924-Apr-16 5:50
MemberMember 1248159924-Apr-16 5:50 

General General    News News    Suggestion Suggestion    Question Question    Bug Bug    Answer Answer    Joke Joke    Praise Praise    Rant Rant    Admin Admin   

Use Ctrl+Left/Right to switch messages, Ctrl+Up/Down to switch threads, Ctrl+Shift+Left/Right to switch pages.