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Vodafone/Hauwei USB HSDPA Modem & Vista

We “upgraded” our Vodafone PCMCIA data cards for USB versions when we bought new laptops with ExpressCard rather than PCMCIA sockets, only to find that the rebranded Huawei E220 was not recognised by Vista at all 🙁

(Aside: It’s a USB modem. The USB clearly has a “modem” class as a generic device – why is this causing me a problem?)

On my first call to Vodafone, I was sent a (broken) link to the software which works with the PCMCIA modem but not the USB one. On my second call (about two weeks ago) I was told that the software would definitely by ready before the end of the month (April). Today, I was told that the software should have been released, but hasn’t been – and there are no known release dates. Wonderful.

Looking around, Richard came across these instrcutions from mobileconnected which not only describe how to upgrade the modem’s firmware and software (erk!), but also host the required files. Joy!

As a small addendum, we found that – contrary to the instructions on mobileconnected, you do in fact have to install the Vodafone software before the modem element of the device is recognised by the OS. With the stock Vodafone software loaded, we didn’t have to uninstall it before performing the update. Additionally, we never saw any “Firmware not response” message after either flash update.

We upgraded two USB modems, and both hardware and software work perfectly with Vista… it’s just a shame it took so long!

(It’s worth noting that Vodafone Business Support still seem totally unaware of the existence of this software. On two different Windows XP desktops and two different VAIO laptops, with both the old and new versions of the Vodafone software, the install process hung with a moving progress bar when installing the Vodafone client software… shoddy. Actually, the software seems to be fully installed at the point where the USB device removes itself and is rediscovered – after that, you can simply kill the running install processes, and run it from the modem’s virtual CD drive again. This time around, it will not install anything but just start the software… on Vista, you have to confirm that you actually want to use your new device a couple more times, natch)

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