Why is my mobile broadband dongle working on one computer and not another?

Daan van Puijenbroek October 19, 2014
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I have a HUAWEI mobile broadband E173 dongle that is working perfectly on one computer (win 7 pro 32 bit) and is giving me a headache on another computer (win 7 pro 64 bit). I’ve downloaded the latest drivers for the dongle but no improvement. On the 64 bit computer the dongle installs the software automatically when plugged in and initializes correctly. But when trying to connect, most of the time it gets disconnect again within a minute stating that there is no device plugged in anymore. On the few occasions that it stays connected, the speed of the dongle is very poor. Also noticed that often the software is reporting a disconnect while in fact the connection stays on (for exemple a large download is still running and receiving data, the Windows network indicator is still good, but control software of the dongle reports a disconnect or a a device unplugged error.) I’m not experiencing any other problems with usb devices, so that doesn’t seem to be the problem to me. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  1. Oron J
    October 19, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    Great answer from Bruce. If you have a powered hub, you can use it for diagnosis. Try connecting the dongle to the Win 64 machine through the hub and see if results are better. BTW, if your Win 64 is a laptop, simply try a different port. USB power output on laptops is notoriously unreliable.

    • Daan van Puijenbroek
      October 20, 2014 at 10:48 pm

      it's a desktop, and it seems the power output isn't very reliable anyway (see reply on Bruce E answer). Tried with a self powered hub, and is still giving the same problems (allthough less frequent??). just to compare, connected the hub to the 32 bit machine and works without any problems...

    • Oron J
      October 22, 2014 at 7:53 am

      Well, it could be a device driver issue, and it's just possible that the driver didn't install properly the first time and reinstalling it would solve the problem.

      Download USBDeview from http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/usb_devices_view.html and have a look at the list. It will show you every USB device ever installed on your system (ones currently connected are highlighted). Find every instance of the dongle and uninstall it, then plug the device in again and let it reinstall.

      If that doesn't work, have at look at Huawei's support site and see if updated drivers for your system are available and try them.

  2. Bruce E
    October 19, 2014 at 8:46 am

    I have seen this happen with an AT&T device previously. The problem was the amount of power being supplied to the device was not sufficient on the front-side ports of the computer. Using the ports in the rear fixed the issue.

    • Daan van Puijenbroek
      October 20, 2014 at 10:43 pm

      I have tried all 12 USB ports (3 front, 9 rear), and makes no difference or is even worse (some ports the drivers even didn't get installed properly).