Thursday, April 15, 2010

How to Set Up Your Huawei e166 3G Modem/Data Card

Below you will find a step-by-step instruction manual on how to set up your new 3G modem. I hope you find it helpful :).

Plug your 3G modem (Huawei e166) into your computer. A little bubble message will pop up in the lower right hand corner of your screen. The message will say something like "Installing Hardware." A series of messages will then flash by until your modem has installed all the needed drivers and software. After the bubble window disappears, there may be a delay before the Mobile Partner software begins installing. You may have to wait up 20-30 seconds. When the language chooser window appears, choose English and click OK.

Welcome To Mobile Partner Screen License Agreement

After clicking OK, you will be greeted with a "Welcome to Mobile Partner" message. Click Next. Agree to the license agreement and then click Next when asked where to install the program. Finally click Install and then Finish.

Choose Install Location Choose a Start Menu Folder

After you finish installing Mobile Partner, a bubble window may appear in the lower right hand corner of your computer telling you that new hardware is being installed. This is normal. After the hardware (your 3GMobile Partner Icon modem) finishes installing itself, Mobile Partner should then launch itself. If it doesn’t, double-click on the green Mobile Partner icon located on your desktop. You will then be asked to enter your pin.

Time to Set up Your Modem

The first thing you need to do is set up a profile. Ignore the “ICE Celular” profile listed on your screen because it cannot be used to connect to a 3G network.

Mobile Partner Default Window

To set up a profile, click on Tools, then Options. A window will pop up titled “Options.” You want to click on Profile Management. Then click on New.

Tools>Options Profile Management Window
Click on New

In the Profile Name dialog box, choose a name for you 3g connection. Look for the text “New Profile1.” That is where you are going to type your profile name. Call it whatever you want. I decided to call mine “Andre's 3G.” Now we need to input the APN information. Select “Static” and type in kolbi3g. Now click on the following buttons in the following order: Save, Default, and then OK. All that does is save your profile and make it the default profile. The manual you received from ICE ends here, but there are a few more settings that you need to tweak. The Mobile Partner software defaults to a 2G connection (GSM). A 2G connection is about as fast as dial up. We’re going to tell your modem to connect to a 3G connection (WCDMA or HSDPA).

Creating a New Profile

Click Tools and then Options. Then click on Network. The network type is going to be set to “GSM preferred” by default. We don't want that. If you are curious about what preferred refers to in this context, it means that the modem will try to connect to a GSM network and if it can't, it will then try to connect to a WCDMA or HSDPA network. Click on the little triangle to the right of "GSM preferred" and select WCDMA only.

Tools>Options Click on Network
Default Network Select WCDMA only

Now, whenever you connect to the internet, your modem will only connect to a 3G network. FYI, under Band, just leave it on “all bands.” Choosing the correct network is all that your modem needs. Now click Apply and then OK.

Time to Connect to the Internet

"ICE Celular" may still be selected on the main Mobile Partner screen. If it is, click on the little triangle to the right and select the name you choose for your profile. In my case, Andre’s 3G. Now click on Connect.

Time to Connect

You'll see a little window called “network connection prompt” and some text will flash by. After the network connection prompt window disappears, you will be connected to the internet. The modem light will now be a solid blue color. FYI, a solid blue light means that you are connected to a 3g network. A solid green light means that you are connected to a 2g network. Now just minimize Mobile Partner and open your browser. If you try to close the Mobile Partner window, you will be disconnected from the internet. Btw, you must use the same USB port every time you plug your modem into your computer. If you want to use a different port, you are going to have to install the drivers again.

Removing Your Modem

Before removing your modem, it’s a good idea to use the “Safely Remove Hardware” utility built into Windows 7/Vista/XP. If you don’t know where the above program is located, you can find it in the lower right hand corner of your screen (for an example, look at the picture one paragraph down). As far as I know, you only need to do this if you inserted a microSD card into your modem. But, even if you are not using a microSD card, you will get an error message if you do not use the “Safely Remove Hardware” utility. The message will say something like, “storage device improperly removed.” Feel free to ask questions in the comments field below and don’t feel shy about critiquing my tutorial. If you feel that I wasn’t clear about something or that certain areas are overkill, let me know. Thanks!

Trouble Shooting and Misc. Info

Mobile Partner Never “Asked” me to Install it

If you never get a prompt to install the Mobile Partner software or never get any kind of prompt at all when you first plug your modem into your computer, do the following:

Safely Remove Hardware

Eject the modem (use the "Safely Remove Hardware" program to eject it) and then reinsert the modem into your computer. Your computer should now install the needed drivers/software. If it doesn’t, do the following:

  1. Eject the modem like before.
  2. Remove the sim card from the modem and then reinsert it into the modem.
  3. Plug the modem back into the computer (the needed drivers/software should now install).

Disabling PIN Verification (aka: I Get Tired of Typing in my PIN)

In order to disable PIN verification, do the following: Click on Tools, hover over PIN Operations and then click on Disable PIN Verification. You will then be asked to type in your PIN. Type it in and click on OK.

Signal Meter

Signal Strength

You can find out how strong your signal is by looking at the signal meter in the lower left hand corner of Mobile Partner. The max number of bars you can have is 5. Also, as long as the mobile partner window is selected, you can hover your mouse over the signal meter and it will tell you what your signal strength is. Note to Mac users, for some reason hovering over the signal meter doesn't do anything when using the Mac version of Mobile Partner.

Weak Signal Strength / Trouble Connecting

If you find that your 3G signal is so weak that your connection is unusable, select “GSM only” as your network. GSM only gives you dial up speed, but hopefully you’ll get a stronger signal. There is one other option that might work for you (to get 3G). You'll have to take your computer outside using the usb extension cable that came with your modem. Raise it up as high as you can, maybe stand on a ladder and hold your laptop/modem as high as your roof. Please be safe :). If you can get a decent signal by doing this, you can buy an external antenna to attach to your roof (or any other high place with good reception). There is an antenna slot on the side of your modem. External antennas are pretty pricey though. One will cost you at least $100.

My Connection Gets Sluggish Sometimes

I sometimes find that my connection gets a little sluggish when I connect to the internet. To remedy this, I simply click on Disconnect and then click Connect again after several seconds. If that doesn't work, I try again (once or twice). If I still can't get a speedy connection, I disconnect, close the program and then re-launch the program. Some combination of the above usually works for me.

How do I Access the Mobile Partner Manual?

Just click on Help and then click on Online Help.

Help Menu

How do I Install the Huawei e166 Modem on a Mac?

I have some brief knowledge of setting up the modem on a Mac. Since I don't own a Mac, what I write below is strictly from memory.

Things to Remember When Installing Your 3G Modem on a Mac:

1. You must have Mac OS X 10.4 or higher.

2. After installing the drivers and software onto your Mac, Mobile Partner will load in Spanish. Unlike the PC version of Mobile Partner, you do not get the option to choose English before you start installing Mobile Partner. To change the language to English, click on Herramientas, hover over Idioma and then click English/Ingles. Other than that, everything else should be similar enough to the Windows installation.

3. Always eject your modem before removing it. Otherwise you will get an error message. To eject the modem safely, bring up the finder. Below your hard drive icon you will see the modem icon. Click on the little eject button next to the modem icon. You can now safely remove your modem.