MacOS X & Ricochet

I recently installed what is purported to be the Gold Master for Mac OS X and within a fairly short time got it working on my iBook with my Ricochet USB. I was impressed! Here are the steps:

  1. Boot up.
  2. Plug in your Ricochet USB
  3. Reboot. This will give the network control panel a chance to notice the new node in /dev
  4. In the network control panel, add a new Location. Call it Ricochet.
  5. In the Configure list, you'll find a new entry: USBmodemnnn. Select that.
  6. In the last pane (Modem), select "Metricom Ricochet Wireless" from the list of modems. Decheck "Wait for dialtone".
  7. In the PPP pane, put in your Wireless Service Provider's "phone number" and your username and password.
  8. In the PPP Options dialog, you may wish to uncheck "Disconnect if idle". Do not check "Automatically connect".
  9. Save. In Applications, you will find Internet Connect. You may wish to add that to your Dock.
It's that simple! In the Finder window you can select the Ricochet location whenever you want to use Ricochet, as well as making other locations ("Home" for me sets up the Airport, for example).


My first wireless Internet device was a Ricochet. Back in the early days it was not a bad way to go. It was only available in very, very limited areas, though. One of the big drawbacks was (and still is, so far as I know) that it didn't work when it was moving more than a few MPH. I started commuting via CalTrain, and Ricochet just didn't cut it. So I switched to CDPD. Lately, however, the CDPD service in my area has been really lousy, so I have now switched back to Ricochet.

Getting Ricochet to work on FreeBSD is downright trivial. Just treat it like a regular dialup modem. Your Ricochet service provider gave you a "phone number", a username and password. They plug into ppp.conf exactly how you would expect.

The Ricochet GS also comes with a USB dongle. This works both with -stable and -current. Make sure your kernel has the 'umodem' device compiled in (or kldload it). It's that simple.

It's also pretty trivial to get it to work with a PalmOS machine. You need to build a cable adapter to plug the Ricochet serial cable and the Palm hotsync cable together:

Palm DB9MRicochet DB9M

To set it up, go to prefs, connections, new. Call it Ricochet. The method is serial to modem. Visit the details. Speed is 57600 (I can't get it to work at 115.2, unfortunately). Flow control is on, the init string is "ATX4&C1&K1S321=15".

Next, visit the Network panel (still in prefs). Service is Ricochet, username and password are as assigned by your WSP. The connection is Ricochet and the phone number is as assigned by your WSP. Under details, visit the "script" and make sure that the top entry is "End".

That should be it.