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Updating Vodafone Connect Router Firmware

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3: Seeker

Note: This is not about updating firmware on my main router (which is automatic).

 

I have a (fairly basic) sytem of routers behind my Vodafone Connect router acting as switches and WiFi access points. I have seen so many comments about how bad the backend software on the Connect router was, but when I received the router with my account I was pretty impressed with it for an ISP supplied router. Though this is because Vodafone has made significant improvements to the firmware.

So the routers I have been using are all getting rather old and problems are starting to appear with them. So I decided that it would be nice to replace them with the Vodafone connect router (Gigabit ethernet, 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi, Beamforming etc). Thus I purchased three units from eBay.

Unfortunately, although they are the same Huawei 963168_HUAWEIVOX25 units, they have a much earlier firmware version. This means that a number of options are disabled, including the most important one for my needs - the ability to disable DHCP.

Connecting the units in place of my supplied router to get them auto-updated does not work because the network will not allow them to connect to the network. Connecting them behind the router in the same way I do with the other routers does not appear to allow them to update. Although wired connections are quite happy to communicate to the Internet, it wouldn't route WiFi connections.

So (long story, long) Vodafone telephone support said there was nothing they could do to help, and I thought I'd try the forums to see:

 

a) Is anyone aware of Vodafone making the firmware updates available publically for these routers so that they can be loaded over SSH or some other method?

 

b) Does anyone know of a department/person at Vodafone I can contact toe be able to get these routers updated - my thought was to have the restriction on router serial number allowed to connect removed so that all of them can be connected directly to get updated. Obviously, even though they are Vodafone routers I realise this would mean accepting that I would relinquish any expectation of technical support for non-network issues.

Thank in advance.

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1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions
3: Seeker

So I have a solution to this issue, and it is thanks entirely to Vodafone staff.

As I had mentioned, telephone support staff said there was nothing they could do. The person I spoke to had to speak with someone else several times (every time I said something basically), so may have been in training. Or perhaps the online chat team are given different tools/allowances.

I spoke to three people on the online chat, a gentleman called Bharat who was helping me until the chat disconnected. A chap called Joseph who after reading my question informed me he was actually in the telephone support team, but would transfer me across and relay the information to someone in the right team. And then to Tom, whom had all the information needed as (good to his word) Joseph had explained everything.

Tom had a think about it, and said that whilst he has not done a request for this which was complicated by the number of routers involved, he saw no reason why simply provisioning the serial numbers to the account wouldn't solve the issue.

In essence what this meant was that I could connect each of the routers, reset it, and then give it about half an hour for the systems to recognise the older firmware that was running and push the update to it. Sure and eggs is eggs, when I connected one of the other routers it updated.

Now obviously Vodafone cannot be expected to offer support for these units, nor for the setup I am running/trying to get these working within, but it was nice to have a tech support agent simply say, yep we can solve that. It possibly helps with my background career being a network and systems engineer, being able to relay the request clearly etc.

For anyone else that finds themselves in a similar situation (who knows, maybe I'm not the only one putting together a complicated home network on the cheap), the request I made boiled down to this (somewhat edited to make it generic and directly related to the solution offered by Tom):

"I purchased (insert number) Vodafone Huawei HHG2500 routers (from eBay). Unfortunately they have the older firmware, which does not allow for me to disable the DHCP service. Vodafone update the firmware directly, but obviously cannot see the new routers I have purchased. I understand that I cannot connect them directly at this time because Vodafone check the serial number of the device attached. So I am hoping that it may be possible to have the serial numbers provisioned to my account; then I can then connect each one in turn as the primary router, in order to have the firmware updated directly. I realise that this would make for a non-standard setup, and I am quite happy to forfeit technical support on the routers and home network. Unfortunately because I am using the routers as access points it is critical to be able to access functions in the more recent firmware that is not available on this older firmware. It would be a shame to not be able to use vodafone equipment throughout the network, especially since I have it already."

Obviously this is going to make the network non-standard, so you have to be prepared to forgo technical support (any support request will require you to go back to a single HHG2500 router and standised Vodafone setup).

So, thumbs up to the three agents I chatted with, you were all fantastic.

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5 REPLIES
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17: Community Champion

Hi @DebauchedJester

 

Vodafone done seem willing or able to make changes to anything other than the original router they supplied to you.

It's a long shot but you may be able to get something from Huawei? Or maybe a firmware for a similar Huawei unit that would work with these...

 

I can fully appreciate what you're trying to achieve but I just don't think it is going to be possible with Vodafone being as restrictive as they currently are. This stance may change in the future but for now you're pretty much tied down. 

 

 

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3: Seeker

So I have a solution to this issue, and it is thanks entirely to Vodafone staff.

As I had mentioned, telephone support staff said there was nothing they could do. The person I spoke to had to speak with someone else several times (every time I said something basically), so may have been in training. Or perhaps the online chat team are given different tools/allowances.

I spoke to three people on the online chat, a gentleman called Bharat who was helping me until the chat disconnected. A chap called Joseph who after reading my question informed me he was actually in the telephone support team, but would transfer me across and relay the information to someone in the right team. And then to Tom, whom had all the information needed as (good to his word) Joseph had explained everything.

Tom had a think about it, and said that whilst he has not done a request for this which was complicated by the number of routers involved, he saw no reason why simply provisioning the serial numbers to the account wouldn't solve the issue.

In essence what this meant was that I could connect each of the routers, reset it, and then give it about half an hour for the systems to recognise the older firmware that was running and push the update to it. Sure and eggs is eggs, when I connected one of the other routers it updated.

Now obviously Vodafone cannot be expected to offer support for these units, nor for the setup I am running/trying to get these working within, but it was nice to have a tech support agent simply say, yep we can solve that. It possibly helps with my background career being a network and systems engineer, being able to relay the request clearly etc.

For anyone else that finds themselves in a similar situation (who knows, maybe I'm not the only one putting together a complicated home network on the cheap), the request I made boiled down to this (somewhat edited to make it generic and directly related to the solution offered by Tom):

"I purchased (insert number) Vodafone Huawei HHG2500 routers (from eBay). Unfortunately they have the older firmware, which does not allow for me to disable the DHCP service. Vodafone update the firmware directly, but obviously cannot see the new routers I have purchased. I understand that I cannot connect them directly at this time because Vodafone check the serial number of the device attached. So I am hoping that it may be possible to have the serial numbers provisioned to my account; then I can then connect each one in turn as the primary router, in order to have the firmware updated directly. I realise that this would make for a non-standard setup, and I am quite happy to forfeit technical support on the routers and home network. Unfortunately because I am using the routers as access points it is critical to be able to access functions in the more recent firmware that is not available on this older firmware. It would be a shame to not be able to use vodafone equipment throughout the network, especially since I have it already."

Obviously this is going to make the network non-standard, so you have to be prepared to forgo technical support (any support request will require you to go back to a single HHG2500 router and standised Vodafone setup).

So, thumbs up to the three agents I chatted with, you were all fantastic.

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Moderator

@DebauchedJester This is great to hear! Thanks for taking the time to let us know Smiley Happy 

 

I'll make sure your feedback is passed on for you. 

 

If you need help with anything in the future, please let us know.

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4: Newbie

Very pleased that Vodafone exceeded your expectations.

 

Unfortunately the majority of us have to resort to using extra hardware solely due to the inadequacy of the supplied Vodafone equipment.

 

Some people are easily pleased......

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3: Seeker

I get what you're saying, but I'm by no means "easily" pleased. I was pleased that the team were willing to provide what amounts to support for a third party purchase. I purchased Vodafone branded routers, but not from Vodafone so they have no duty to do anything at all. I know full well that if I was working with a client on a network install and was trying to get a similar provision on a corporate account the RFCs to do this would have probably been about £600 per router.

Now the equipment, really isn't that bad for a residential install. It is a damned sight better than a lot of the ISP provided equipment. But of course it is not for everyone, and a big part of the problem is that the firmware is crippling the hardware. I could achieve what I am doing with PowerLine adaptors, or putting 'proper' switches and wireless access points around the house, but those would be really expensive options. Instead I am able to achive it all for a grand total of £15 for the three vodafone routers sealed in boxes.

In the future I will probably do this all properly. But right now the bottleneck is the FTTC connection in this area. So there isn't any point in me kitting out the house properly, not until I secure a FTTP service.

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