USB Network tethering

It is possible to connect the device to the internet via usb network tethering. This can be helpful when you haven’t gotten Wi-Fi working (yet).

The instructions below assume you’re running Ubuntu >=16.04. Earlier versions of Ubuntu or other distributions will probably work similarly if iptables is installed.

You need three things:
  • The name of your computers network device which connects to the internet. You can check ip link to determine this. Likely it is something like wlan0 or eth0. We’ll call this [INTERNET].
  • The name of your computers usb network device which connects to the “rndis” network. This is the same as described for the telnet debugging access. As with the instructions there, we call this [USBNETWORK].
  • Lastly, you need your computers IP address on this network. Following the telnet instructions this is

You’ll need them for the following commands:

sudo sysctl net.ipv4.ip_forward=1
sudo iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o [INTERNET] -j MASQUERADE
sudo iptables -A FORWARD -m conntrack --ctstate RELATED,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT
sudo iptables -A FORWARD -i [USBNETWORK] -o [INTERNET] -j ACCEPT

Then, run the following command as root on your phone:

If you’re in initrd debug (telnet):

route add default gw

If you’re in the real rootfs (ssh):

ip route add default via

Then try ping from the phone. The pings should go through.

To temporarily add a DNS server on your phone, edit /etc/resolv.conf and add the line nameserver This is NOT the recommended way to add a nameserver on Debian, but it works reliably when you can’t depend on other options. Your changes will be overwritten on reboot, so you will need to perform them again.

You should now be able to ping and generally have internet access on the device.