The Huawei E153 modem on Mac

Getting the Huawei E153 modem working on Mac is not difficult.

The Huawei E153 is a 3.5G HSDPA USB modem. Where I live, it is the most common USB modem offered for sale by mobile operators and third parties. Being ubiquitous, I obtained a used one for free and eventually got it working on my Mac box.

GATHERING INFORMATION
When inserted into a computer running macOS, a Finder window opens to show that the modem’s memory contains a proprietary control application by Huawei. Naturally it is an old version that dates from the modem’s manufacturing date. A quick web search turned up Huawei’s current version which is available for download at no cost. What this application brings to the table it the ability to read, send, and administer SMS messages.

I briefly used this control application to connect and disconnect the modem. It does the job, but it interferes with my VPN (openVPN, administered by Tunnelblick) so I’ve moved on to using Mac’s native controls to connect and disconnect the modem. This is described below.

 

CONFIGURATION
Insert the modem into a USB port. Open System Preferences – Network. Press + to create a new entry, selecting “Huawei Mobile-” from the Interface drop-down and press Create. The new device will now appear in the list of devices on the left. Select it; it’s configuration will appear on the right. Non-default settings I changed were:

  • Telephone Number: *99#
  • Account Name: webmegatel
  • Password: webmegatet
  • Advanced – Modem – Vendor: Generic
  • Advanced – Modem – Model: GPRS (GSM/3G)
  • APN: web.megatel.hn

Press OK to leave the Advanced window, and back on the Network window press Apply.

USING IT
You’ll need:

  • An activated data plan with your mobile operator
  • The modem inserted as described above

Open System Preferences – Network, select the modem, and press Connect. The button will change to Disconnect; press it to finish.

NOTES
I understand from the web that this and many USB modems are sold SIM locked. Because I use the same mobile operator that originally sold the modem, I had no need to confirm or deal with that.

The modem has a Micro SD slot, but it works fine without a memory card. Indeed, I’m unsure what a memory card brings to the table here.

The modem has a multicolored status light:

  • blinking green: initial startup
  • green: connected; strong signal
  • blue: connected; weak signal
  • blinking blue: not connected or no signal
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About Warren Post

So far: Customer support guy, jungle guide, IT consultant, beach bum, entrepreneur, teacher, diplomat, over-enthusiastic cyclist. Tomorrow: who knows?
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