A few weeks ago I wrote about how to get a cheap 4G mobile broadband router, and I’ve been using it happily. The only thing that bugged me was the EE branded interface. Today I’ve managed to get rid of that, by updating to a newer, unbranded version of the firmware. The strange thing about it is that finding the firmware is REALLY complicated, unless you happen to be German, in which case you can just get it from the German Huawei website (it’s the second item, described as Charger Option). This downloads three files in a .zip archive. One is the instructions, in German naturally, and the other two are programs. The steps to install are fairly simple as long as you do them in the right order.
It goes without saying that any attempt to update firmware is at your own risk, and if it went wrong you could render your device useless, you have been warned!
First, you must have the E5776 connected by USB, and have installed the My Broadband software that can be found when accessing the E5776 as a CD drive. This software includes the drivers that are needed by the update programs.
Secondly you run the two update programs. They must be run in the correct order, starting with the one called Update_UTPS…etc. This updates the drivers and software available when accesing the E5776 as a CD drive. Now run the file called E5776_Update_22.264.07.02.414, or whatever firmware version you get hold of. This is where I ran into a problem, as the update program asks you for a password. This is NOT the admin password for the router, but a special hardware password to protect the flash memory. The following hacking tool is a small download that calculates the flash password from the IMEI of the router (which is conveniently printed on the back!). Enter the 8 digit password into the update program and all should be fine.
After a few reboots the router will come back to life with unbranded Huawei firmware and be generally more up to date and better. My device and the update software were both in English, despite the source of the download. I can now also choose alternative languages for the web interface (but I’m not going to) and access some menus that EE had locked out.