Like most current USB-modems Huawei’s ones have an integrated NAND-flashmemory, in which drivers and access software (so-called dashboard) are stored. Basicly this NAND-flashmemory is an integrated read-only pen-drive, which spares an extra software disk.
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When plugging in a Huawei USB-modem under Windows or MacOS first there will only appear that integrated flashmemory as an additional drive. Usually (as long as autorun is not disabled) seconds later the automatic setup of Mobile Partner, Huawei’s dashboard, will start and install drivers, too. After drivers have been installed, your computer will also detect the 3G modem and the microSD-drive, beyond the flashdrive.
Since in most countries Huawei’s devices are only distributed by operators, Mobile Partner is usually customized to the corresponding operator. Those customizations mostly consist of a branded user interface (operator’s logo) and preconfigured settings, but often they lack some features. So you might want to replace that customized version of Mobile Partner by the generic one from Huawei.
With all current Huawei USB-modems (e.g. E160, E169, E172, K3715) you can do that easily by simply running an official update from Huawei. Afterwards there will be Huawei’s generic Mobile Partner in your flash memory.
That is of special relevance for Vodafone-branded devices, as their flashmemory contains the “Vodafone dashboard”, which is not a modification of Mobile Partner, but a proprietary software, that won’t connect to third-party networks.
But debranding your USB modem may also be good for other reasons, since the operator-customized versions of Mobile Partner often have limited capabilites or other restrictions. So the voice-call functionality of those sticks with appropriate hardware (e.g. E169, E180, K3715) may not work with some customized versions of Mobile Partner due to missing plugin libraries.
However debranding may also have a negative impact. On the one hand you may lose your warranty and on the other hand you could lose special functions, which some operator version of Mobile Partner have. E.g. German providers Tchibo, Fonic and O2 come with a plugin for checking and recharging credit, which will be gone after debranding.
updates in general
There are two pieces of software in Huawei’s USB modems, that can be updated:
- the firmware, which is the vital internal operating system of your USB modem
- the content of the NAND-flashmemory, which is basicly an integrated read-only flashdrive, that contains installation files and drivers for your computer
Whereas the first-mentioned is absolutely vital, the later just spares an additional disk with the corresponding software for installation on your computer.
Usually when running an update for your USB modem both, firmware and those installation files in the flashmemory, will be updated.
Since Mobile Partner (= Huawei’s dashboard software) and all the drivers are generic (which means they are compatible with any other model from Huawei and vice-versa), you can not only update your USB modem with updates designed for your certain device, but you can also use updates for any other Huawei USB modem. In that case only the flashmemory will be updated (but not the firmware, since it is not generic but hardware-specific).
Updating USB modems with updates designed for other models makes sense because updates for some sticks are quite outdated and you might want to get a newer version of Mobile Partner into your modem’s flashmemory.
So owners of the E169, for which the last update was released in June 2008, can update their flashmemory with the update for the E160G from May 2009, which will bring a newer verison of Mobile Partner, while not affecting the firmware.
Also for some devices there is no update available at all (e.g. K3715). Owners of such can just use the latest update for any other device without worrying.
- download the latest update for your modem or, in case you already ran the latest update, check if there is a newer update for another Huawei USB modem, which could contain a newer version of Mobile Partner.
- extract the downloaded ZIP
- make sure the drivers for your modem have been installed, as the update will require those. Drivers will be installed with Mobile Partner or Vodafone’s dashboard (VMC)
- plug in your modem
- run the update
- follow the instructions on the screen
- after 2-3 minutes the update should be finished
- unplug and replug your USB modem and install the new version of Mobile Partner.
- Before installing the Huawei software, stop all programs which may be running in the background, especially such involved in communication with your modem. You may also need to disable AnyDVD, Nero and firewall applications (e.g. ZoneAlarm) before running the update.
- sometimes the file extension of updates disappears when downloading. If that’s the case add “.zip” to the downloaded file.
- Almost all updates from DC-Files: http://www.dc-files.com
- Latest official update from Huawei: E160G Client Software-WINMACB300D00SP01C03 (UTPS11.300.05.00.03_MACHOST11.202.08.00.03) (For Winxp&2K&Vista &MAC) (05010AAG) (10395 KB) 27-May-2009
- Huawei downlod page: http://www.huawei.com/mobileweb/en/doc/list.do?type=-1&id=5286
Modifying Virtual CD Portion of Device
You can modify the Virtual CD portion of the flash memory by following this guide http://unlock.dp.ua/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=19
Devices may vary and files will need to be substituted this method should work on any device in theory
Huawei Dashboard Tool
Please be aware, that debranding your device may void your warranty!