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Thread: Vodafone Huawei E220 USB Modem - first impressions

  1. #1
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    Default Vodafone Huawei E220 USB Modem - first impressions

    I received a Vodafone Huawei E220 USB modem yesterday.

    Some first impressions:

    Installation was straight forward on WinXP: Follow the manual and expect a large number of new hardware items to be installed. It does not install the PCMCIA Dashboard, but installs a Vodafone interface called Vodafone Mobile Connect Lite (V 1.0.10.1061 in my case). It seems as if the modem acts as a USB memory stick and the application is run from the modem itself.

    The manual is however slightly vague on when to use the short cable with the single PC USB end and when to use the longer cable with 2 PC USB ends. Does the longer cable provide a better signal/ more powerful transmitter?

    Once connected, the download speeds are excellent compared to 512k ADSL - obviously because of HSDPA availability.

    I immediately wanted to check my available bandwidth by sending the "MM" SMS to 31050. Unfortunately no such function is available from the Vodafone interface. Huawei however states that the unit has SMS capability -http://www.huawei.com/mobileweb/en/products/view.do?id=282.

    V3G - any indication when Vodafone will add SMS functionality to the software?

    Next option to monitor bandwidth: Register with Vodacom4Me. Unfortunately somebody at Vodacom decided that the 64k Simcards will be issued without the cellphone number printed in the Simcard pack. This called for SIMcard shuffling to another cellphone to obtain the cellphone number to be able to register on V4Me.

    The manual does not provide clear instructions on disconnecting the modem from the PC.

    Right clicking on the Vodafone blob in the system tray and closing it, followed by clicking on the USB remove safely icon did the trick.

    When inserting the modem again after removing it, it is real slow to connect to the PC - it takes almost 40 seconds. This is a real baddie!

    The manual refers Mac users to www.vodacom.co.za for more information. I could not find anywhere such info. Not for Mac, Linux or Windows. It seems as if this modem is not yet supported on the web by Vodacom. Which leaves the question if there will ever be software upgrades from Vodafone.

    To summarize:

    The good:

    Easy to install and use.
    Excellent for use as an office pool 3G internet access unit due to the software being on the modem

    The bad:

    No SMS interface
    A long delay between plugging into the USB port and being ready for use.
    South Africa needs World Class Broadband at World Competitive Prices.

  2. #2
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    Great feedback, thanks. I nowadays only use this modem and never use the red cards anymore.....

    I believe the cable with the two USB connectors will be for older systems (USB V1?) where you need to pick up power from 2 connectors. I normally use the short cable or if the signal level is low, the longer cable (or any other longs USB cable)

    I still use the original Huawei dash and this does have SMS capabilities. I'll check up why the Lite dash does not do SMS. Silly, I know. In the mean time see if you can download the Huawei dash. It's called 'Mobile Connect'

    I just close the dash and unplug or plug the modem in, does not seem to bother the system (Sony Vaio) and it's picked up within seconds. Maybe something on your system first scan the USB device before allowing it in?

    The modem is fully supported by the Mac 2.06 version of the Vodafone dash.

    Have a look here: http://www.vodacom.co.za/services/3g/downloads.jsp

    You'll notice there is a placeholder for the E220 but no software yet. That is because we've not yet receive an updated firmware for the modem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kaspaas View Post
    I received a Vodafone Huawei E220 USB modem yesterday. Some first impressions:

    ....Once connected, the download speeds are excellent compared to 512k ADSL - obviously because of HSDPA availability.
    Are you in an area where Vodacom has HDSPA (3.6 mbps) coverage? Or are you just getting 3G speeds?

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    Quote Originally Posted by atomcrusher View Post
    Are you in an area where Vodacom has HDSPA (3.6 mbps) coverage? Or are you just getting 3G speeds?
    I'm getting HSDPA connectivity according to the LED on the modem.

    Downloads are lightning fast!

    I can recommend this modem - provided VC smooth out the rough patches such as no SMS in the standard installation software.
    South Africa needs World Class Broadband at World Competitive Prices.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by atomcrusher View Post
    Are you in an area where Vodacom has HDSPA (3.6 mbps) coverage? Or are you just getting 3G speeds?
    Last I knew, the card was 3.6mb READY ... the network was still 1.8mb

  6. #6
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    Yes, kaspaas is correct.

    The first, unbranded modems shipped with the Huawei dash, but subsequent ones ships with the Vodafone software.

    Kaspaas, one of the things you can try is the full vodacom dashboard, I believe it does support the E220 and will thus support SMS.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by vodacom3g View Post
    I still use the original Huawei dash and this does have SMS capabilities. I'll check up why the Lite dash does not do SMS. Silly, I know. In the mean time see if you can download the Huawei dash. It's called 'Mobile Connect'
    I downloaded this from the Huawei website. (I think it is the right stuff... )

    Before I attempt to upload it to the modem, what is the backup and recovery procedure in case something goes wrong?

    Or should I rather wait for the genuine Vodafone software update? Will it be released soon?

    Thanks
    South Africa needs World Class Broadband at World Competitive Prices.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vodacom3g View Post
    Yes, kaspaas is correct.

    The first, unbranded modems shipped with the Huawei dash, but subsequent ones ships with the Vodafone software.

    Kaspaas, one of the things you can try is the full vodacom dashboard, I believe it does support the E220 and will thus support SMS.
    I love the fact that the E220 software is stored on the modem itself. It makes issuing the modem to various people for ad-hoc use so easy...

    Using the full dashboard will make things just more complicated.

    Thanks for the idea anyway.

    Any timescale when Vodafone will have the connect dash fixed?
    South Africa needs World Class Broadband at World Competitive Prices.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ic View Post
    That is very strange - my E220 installed dashboard s/w called Huawei "Mobile Connect". Are you sure that it's a Vodafone dashboard?

    Does it look anything like this?:
    http://img211.imageshack.us/img211/2...102818pft2.png
    http://img238.imageshack.us/img238/8...102805pvf7.pngBest to use the generic Huawei E220 Mobile Connect dashboard [you should be able to download it from Huawei's site] bcos that does have SMS functionality, but unfortunately no support for USSD commands, so no ability to *111#.
    Must admit - Huawei has a much better sense for visual appeal that Vodafone.
    South Africa needs World Class Broadband at World Competitive Prices.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaspaas View Post
    I downloaded this from the Huawei website. (I think it is the right stuff... )

    Before I attempt to upload it to the modem, what is the backup and recovery procedure in case something goes wrong?

    Or should I rather wait for the genuine Vodafone software update? Will it be released soon?

    Thanks
    The Vodafone Lite software with SMS support is larger than the Huawei memory stick (10Mb, I think).

    A newer version of the modem with more memory is the planned solution.

    You could probably just copy the files of the memory stick onto your hard-drive, as a backup, delete them and replace with the Huawei software.

    When you plug the modem in, it acts as a normal memory drive and your PC will autorun the software.

    Not an official reply!, but I strongly suspect the above will work. If you want, I can test it on my modem. Just need to get an image of the Vlive Lite software.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vodacom3g View Post
    The Vodafone Lite software with SMS support is larger than the Huawei memory stick (10Mb, I think).

    A newer version of the modem with more memory is the planned solution.
    Oops!

    Trust there will be free upgrades
    South Africa needs World Class Broadband at World Competitive Prices.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kwmf View Post
    Last I knew, the card was 3.6mb READY ... the network was still 1.8mb
    That's what I was getting at in my post - you just put it far more clearly

    So, what's the answer .... although the E220 card is capable of 3.6 mbps, what can we realistically expect in a coverage area that has 3G coverage @ 1.8mbps? And when will all 3G towers be upgraded to handle 3.5G @ 3.6mbps?

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    Hi, I've recently got the chance to play with a Huawei E220 and add support for it to my program: http://mybroadband.co.za/vb/showthread.php?t=59080

    I'd appreciate if some of you E220 (and E620) users could give it a try, I think it's almost ready for a public release.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ic View Post
    AFAIK [at least with this E220] the USB memory stick pretends to be a read-only USB CDROM, it isn't necessary to copy new dashboard files onto the E220 - after downloading them just install into Windoze heXPee.
    ic, I think kaspaas wants to give these modems to his (non-IT literate) clients and want it to be as painless as possible. Basically plug and play but with SMS capability.

    Thus my idea to roll the units back to the Huawei version. Then his clients would not need to install anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ic View Post
    How does one turn the read-only USB flash drive into a writable drive to rollback to the Huawei s/w...?
    Don't get technical with me, young man!

    Have not tried it myself, you're saying you cannot write to the memory? Wonder how one could change it?

    Anyone?

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