Modem woes and reliability

Recently i switched back from my librem 5 to my old windows 10 phone. I’ve tried it for about 6 months now. Just like i tried the pinephone with mobian.

I really want to use the librem 5. I want to have a great linux phone. I don’t want google or apple watching my life.
I love that the librem5 is private, secure and fully in my control. And it excels at those things.

The one thing it does not seem to excel at is calling/texting. I just cannot rely on the modem to work when i actually need it. And that is the primary use case of a phone… and it’s most essential feature. I asked my self: what if i suddenly collapsed or had an accident, what then? the librem probably wouldn’t call. my windows phone would but i probably would be in a world of hurt because i could not rely on my phone to call the emergency services.

The modem keeps disappearing randomly and at severely inopportune times. During calls in example, or when i really need to call or reach someone or someone me.

Sometimes even killswitch toggling or rebooting doesn’t bring it back. and i have to do that a couple of times.

I noticed during my holiday with my fam that this is a big issue when you need to reach someone without fail.

And i see a lot of improvements in ui and apps and such. but for the modem? it doesn’t feel like it has a priority? Maybe i’m wrong? This feeling that the modem is not a prio disappoints. I really hope i’m wrong.
Without a stable reliable modem/gsm connection the librem is just a portable linux laptop/funny gadget.

If the modem can be brought up to be 100% reliable THEN we have a linux phone. until then we have the cool little portable laptop/tech gadget.

Does anybody know if this will happen in the future? or how much priority is given to the most essential feature of a phone?


This just happened to me before I read this post. Its never done this before. I had to flip the modem kill switch off and back on to get it to come back up. What I noticed mostly is that it does not seem to update when changing cell towers and I have to use the kill switch to force the modem to restart then I end up getting messages that were sent minutes to hours before. I can not say for sure if its the service provider or the modem because I am not familiar with testing and logging for the modem.


When driving around and streaming content, the L5 modem disconnects multiple times (depending on the distance driven). At home, where I have somewhat poor cellular reception, the modem disconnects much less frequently. I attribute the dropped connections when driving to a deficiency in the modem’s ability to update to a new cellular tower (but then again, I’m no expert).


Did you try update the modem firmware?

1 Like

not that i’m aware. I’ve kept the phone up to date with the ‘software app’ and apt. Do you need to update the modem firmware separately? my phone did arrive this year/end of this year. so it is recent so i’m not sure i need to?:

is there a way to check the firmware version?

I have done a modem update, but I still experience modem troubles of the kind mentioned above. Of course waking up from suspend is a tall order, as is the switching of cell towers (specially when crossing a border) - often it even looks like it is online untill I try to watch a website or read my news feeds.
It is not enough to switch back to my windows phone (just yet), but it does give you that nagging feeling you might be missing important calls or messages. And it is just very annoying to keep seeing those ‘you are offline’ (Newsflow) or ‘error loading the page’ (Angelfish) messages.

1 Like

Try the bm818tool…

Indeed that nagging feeling is the core of my post. I don’t trust this phone to work when it’s most important and i’ve come to the conclusion that that is a no go. Because calling/sms/receiving is still the most important thing about a phone for me.

Yesterday i actually though: why not get one of these cheap nokia flipphones which doesn’t do a lot but call ^^

I think i disabled auto suspend again because it made the librem5 a bit more stable. also i usually run around with both mic and wifi killswitches on off.

1 Like

See this memento of a sadly gone webpage: Librem 5: A to Z – linux phone guides - search for BroadMobi. I definitely recommend doing it, with my (got it in early 2021) Librem 5 it was a night and day change.
The other way is to install the bm818-tools package, that then will add a launcher called ‘BM818 tool’, but you definitely will have to contact support to get newer firmware.

I have also experienced these same issues and put my SIM back into my iPhone to get reliable phone service. Additionally, when I turn on Mobile Data, it drains my monthly allocation in one to two days. I tried everything listed in this forum with no improvement. I updated the modem but the bm818-tool shows that sometimes it can find the FW version and other times it cannot (with the SIM put back into the phone, with the kill switch on or off, the FW output is inconsistent.) I emailed support and they are helping diagnose the problem and provide a solution.

1 Like

I’m wondering if you also loose the mobile data connection when calling/SMS-ing does not work any more. I do not call/SMS often, but I notice that the mobile data connection is quite unstable for me.
I use these commands now to reset the modem. Usually only the first command already brings back the mobile data connection. Using these commands prevents me wearing out the kill-switches. And actually, I think they work better than flipping the kill switches.
Thanks for the post. Very useful for getting the priorities right.

1 Like

i’ll have a go at those commands next time it dies. that might be a workaround for when i need to use the phone asap

i havn’t seen this personally, but i don’t use data a lot. Only had it once but then i was watching twitch on the librem

i have firmware


is that the latest or is there a newer version? because it looks like 2022 software

If it helps, I updated my firmware to:


1 Like

thanks seems i’m running the latest. Support also confirmed that.
Going to take the steps i got from support.

But this sort of supports my post, we are running the latest. but the modem is stil pretty unstable. firmware seems to be from at least a year ago

that sort of supports my feeling that it doesn’t get the priority it should get. Maybe the work needs to be done outside the firmware, i don’t know i haven’t delved into the nuts and bolts.

Also the latest update i pulled saw the mobile settings app getting updates (in example). Which is nice, but not critical to the base functionality of a phone.

Like i stated before: i would not trust the librem5 with my life nor with receiving critical calls. That is something i never had with a phone, and i still trust my 10year old windows phone.

that is the problem with the linux phone space at the moment. I really hope that can be fixed because at least for me, that is the 1 critical issue keeping the linux phone space from becoming my dialy trusted device

I just got mine back from repair. It was wiped of course but now I’m having all kinds of trouble with the modem and wifi. I was able to connect to my provider yesterday, but today in no ways of trying I cannot connect at all in fact it’s trying to connect to other carriers not mine. I confirmed that my SIM works in my Samsung phone so has nothing to do with the provider. Also the WiFi is now anoyingly randomly shutting down and not reconnecting for some reason. I love this phone but like you this part of it needs top priority all hands on deck to try and solve.

Did they replace the modem? (so that the IMEI changed)

Updating to the latest Redpine firmware solved my WiFi problems.

For the modem problems, I created a script at /usr/local/bin/resetmodem with the content:

mmcli -m any --reset
service NetworkManager restart

I made it executable: sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/resetmodem

Then I execute sudo resetmodem from the terminal. I’m thinking about setting it up as a cronjob and executing it every couple hours.

I believe they did but my phone was working fine the first day I got it back, so not sure it matters. Also with my provider (who I actually work for) I’ve changed my SIM into different phones many times without issue.

Also why is it I can’t select a network manually in the settings app? Should it not display all the available networks?