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Novatel MiFi 2200 Firmware Update Available Now

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Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Novatel MiFi 2200 Firmware Update Available Now


UPDATE 10/27/09: if you are a verizon mifi user, read about this tethering issue first!

The Verizon MiFi 2200 was the first to launch back in May, and the Sprint MiFi 2200 followed shortly after in June. At the time of the launch, a few quirks were noted, the wierdest being the fact that the Verizon version would always be a live hotspot when plugged into a/c power.

We recently discovered that new firmware for both the Verizon MiFi and Sprint MiFi is now available. If you only ever connect to your MiFi via WiFi, its entirely possible you will never see a notice that the firmware upgrade is available.

As with any firmware upgrade for any piece of equipment, our opinion is that if your equipment is performing to your satisfaction and there is no "must have" feature made available with the newer firmware, its often a better idea to wait until others have done their firmware upgrades and make sure no issues arise. In fact, if you are a 3Gstore.com customer, our tech support's opinion is you should not do any firmware upgrade until asked to do so by one of our techs, to resolve an issue you may be having.

Neither Verizon or Sprint have put out any official release notes to explain what the new firmware changes... but there are rumors out there, and we have been able to confirm the following:

  • The Verizon MiFi will not automatically turn on its WiFi hotspot feature when plugged into its a/c wall charger.
  • The Verizon MiFi's web admin now shows an animated battery icon while it is being charged.
  • The Sprint MiFi web admin now provides a way to lock to Sprint only (no roaming)
  • The Sprint MiFi web admin now allows for international roaming access.

The MiFi 2200 firmware upgrade process is different for the two carriers, which is already causing some confusion on forums that mention the firmware updates.

Caution #1: We'll explain the process for both Verizon and Sprint MiFi's in this article, but want to suggest that all MiFi owners take the time to write down their configuration info, and even consider saving/exporting their config file. Its been our experience that many such firmware upgrades can cause a router to revert to its default settings, causing customer frustration.

Caution #2: this firmware upgrade happens "over the air", and as such we recommend you only do this if you are in high speed "Rev-A" coverage area with good signal to nearby cell towers.

Caution #3: make sure your MiFi is fully charged and that the computer you use to perform the upgrade is not going to have its power interrupted. An interruption to the firmware uprgade process MAY brick your MiFi (render it useless)


Upgrading The Sprint MiFi to Firmware 142

Sprint MiFi
The easier of the two to upgrade is the Sprint MiFi since any computer that can connect to it over WiFi can perform the upgrade.

  1. With your Sprint MiFi turned on, you'll need to access the web admin by connecting to http://192.168.1.1 using your web browser and logging in to access the content. The default admin password is 'admin', though you may have wisely changed that when you first set up your MiFi.
  2. Once logged in, you'll want to click on the WWAN menu and select the Configuration menu option. That should take you to http://192.168.1.1/wwancfg.html where you will see three buttons, the bottom one labeled "Update Firmware".
  3. Clicking that button takes you to a page that allows you to start the process... which triggers a dialog to confirm that you really want to do this, which then changes the page to show an animated progress bar during the firmware update.
  4. While the firmware is updating, do not try to connect to the internet through the MiFi via WiFi. In fact, we suggest you do nothing while the update occurs.
  5. If successful, a dialog shows up with a cryptic message that ends with "FUMO_SUCCESS". No, we don't know what 'FUMO' means, but 'SUCCESS' has to be good.
  6. At this point, you should dismiss that dialog, close the page that allows you to start the firmware process, and we suggest you power cycle your MiFi.
  7. After power cycling, you should connect through the MiFi and make sure you can surf the web normally.

Here's an animation showing the progression of a firmware update to a Sprint MiFi:
Sprint MiFi firmware upgrade


Upgrading The Verizon MiFi to Firmware 135

Verizon MiFi


UPDATE 10/27/09: if you are a verizon mifi user, read about this tethering issue first!

The Verizon MiFi does not work the same way as the Sprint Mifi. We found no option via Verizon MiFi web admin to perform a firmware update.

  1. First, make sure you have downloaded the latest windows version of Verizon Access Manager from vzam.net
    (Note: at the time of this article, the Mac version of VZAM cannot do a MiFi firmware)
  2. The latest version of windows VZAM should put up a dialog advising you of the MiFi firmware update.
    (You should be able to trigger the update by selecting 'Upgrade Firmware' under the 'Options' menu)
  3. You should now see a 'Firmware Upgrade Utility' window that shows existing firmware version, version you will upgrade to, a warning about not interrupting power, and a 'next' button.
  4. Clicking next takes you to a Disclaimer of Liability that you must acknowledge and after that, a screen that shows upgrade process.
  5. While the firmware is updating, do not try to connect to the internet through the MiFi. In fact, we suggest you do nothing while the update occurs.
  6. After the upgrade is completed, a final screen says you've upgraded to firmware 135 and presents a button to 'finish'.
  7. At this point, we suggest you power cycle your MiFi and then make sure you can surf the web normally.
    (after power cycling our Verizon MiFi, we were asked to update our PRL info. Your MiFi may/may not do the same)
Here's an animation showing the progression of a firmware update to a Verizon MiFi:
Verizon MiFi firmware upgrade

As we said at the start of the article, if there isn't a compelling reason for you to do this firmware upgrade and your MiFi is working to your satisfaction, we would suggest you "leave well enough alone" and "don't fix what ain't broke".


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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 16 February 2010 )
 
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