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. We’ll call this [USBNETWORK].
  • Lastly, you need your computers IP address on this network. If you are connecting with telnet then this is If you are connecting with ssh then this is

With this information you run 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

Now, run the following command as root on your device:

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 add an DNS server on your device, 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.