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Fix problems with Vodafone 3G USB modems on Sony laptops

At work we have several Sony laptops and have recently upgraded to the latest Vodafone-branded Huawei 3G/HSDPA modems… and on all laptops we’ve experienced intermittent connectivity and constant errors.

It always seems that (with effort) the Vodafone store-technicians can coax the devices into working, but as soon as they’re brought back to the office they fail – most often with “RAS error code 619“.

Vodafone itself does document this here, but only in the context of general network congestion. This is not the problem that we were having – after finding the problem, all fixed laptops connected first time whilst all unfixed laptops continued to report the same RAS errors.

In this case the culprit seems to be Sony’s “VAIO Smart Network” software, which provides a network profile utility. Quite why Sony seem to think that this is necessary, especially on Windows Vista (which isn’t exactly unburdened by superfluous networking technologies) is anyone’s guess.

Looking around the ‘net, there appears to be circumstantial evidence that the VAIO Smart Network software breaks many other networking-related tools as well – such as Sony Ericsson’s own PC Suite mobile phone tools.

In any case, as soon as is was removed the 3G cards started working properly – and we haven’t had a problem since.

As anyone who’s experienced the horror knows, Sony is truly a company who needs to just stop writing software.

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