How to Access LIME or Digicel’s 3G Internet using an unlocked Huawei E1556 Modem Dongle or Nokia Modem Dongle

By now you may have taken a gander and actually used the advice in my article How to Unlock your Huawei Modem to work on LIME 3G or Digicel and actually unlocked your Huawei E1556 Modem Dongle. This process may seem unnecessary to you, but keep in mind that the Huawei E1556 Modem Dongle, albeit Quad-band, is SIM Locked to CLAROs’ Network, so the unlocking procedure is quite necessary.

At this point you may wish to go online using Digicel’s recently acquired 3G Network, currently a privilege enjoyed primarily by Migrated CLARO Customers who had previously owned Huawei E1556 Modem Dongle or the Nokia Modem Dongle as noted in How to get 2G or 3G Internet on your Mobile Phone in Jamaica

A clandestine select few chosen to test out Digicel’s soon-to-debut HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) Release 7 Network, which is branded 4G but is just really a faster 3G.

Like LIME, who recently launched their 4G Experience Centers as per my ditty LIME’s 4G Experience Centers challenge the Rise of Dekal Wireless Dragon to gauge the receptiveness of Jamaicans to faster Mobile Internet and head off competitive threat of Dekal Wireless and Nubian-1Tech Services Limited , Digicel is prepping their “4G” but in secret.

Rest assured, when Digicel decides to officially unveil 3G Internet for your Mobile phone as well as “4G”, Geezam will be all over it.

3G Internet: Technical Stuff in Technician’s English

3G stands for the Third Generation of Wireless Internet as ratified by the ITU (International Telecommunications Union). The 3G Protocol is a standard defined by the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) and is accepted by Telecom Providers who own and operate GSM (Global Systems Mobile) Networks.

This standard dictates both the design of the Network architecture as well as the UE (User Equiptment), which is Telecoms Technician’s English for Mobile phones and Modem Dongles and CPE (Customer Premises Equiptment) which by right should be installed at the customer’s home by a trained Technician.

The technology uses a combination of the WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) as well as QPSK (Quadrature Phase Shift Keying) Modulation Schema to deliver Wireless Broadband Internet.  At the Symbol level when bytes of Data are converted to symbols that represent these bytes of Data, WCDMA uses QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation).

WCDMA a very close cousin of CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) traditionally used for Voice Telecoms Networks such as Verizon and Sprint in the US of A and MiPhone here in Jamaica up to their time of their acquisition in 2008AD by America Movil, which is how CLARO came to Jamaica.

Most Jamaicans remember the phone from MiPhone as requiring no SIM card and always wanting to be recharged. The reason for this is that CDMA uses QAM, which requires very linear amplifiers to maintain the angular and scalar components of the vectors associated with this form of symbol representation for bytes of Data.

Near-Linear amplifiers used in CDMA UE (User Equiptment) use more power as they need to maintain signal integrity which is achieved by making signal linear i.e. equal level of amplification over a wide range of frequencies. In addition, CDMA phones also will extend themselves to connect with the Mobile tower, no matter how far away at the expense of the battery life.

Also take note of the QAM level; the higher the QAM level, the more linear the amplifiers and thus the faster the Data Service. The higher the QAM level, the higher the demand for linearity to prevent self interference and problems due to Terrestrial Noise.

In Technician’s English, 3G is called HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) and consists of active Logical Channels for Uploading and downloading, commonly referred to as:

  • HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) for downloading
  • HSUPA (High Speed Uplink Packet Access) for uploading

I personally prefer using the term HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) as the majority of the time customer spend online is usually downloading. Consequently, Telecom Providers such as LIME and Digicel usually provision the Logical Channels with slower speeds for uplink than for downlink for Wireless service due to this curious statistic.

This mimics Wired services like ADSL (Asynchronous Downlink Subscriber Line) offered by LIME and Cable DSL services offered by FLOW which uses DOCSIS 2.0 (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification)capable of speeds of up 10 100MBps best effort.

The 3G Service from either LIME of Digicel uses ABR (Adaptive Bit Rate). This is a technology that allows the Modem Dongle to fall back to a slower speed in case there is excessive Terrestrial Noise or you’re too far from a Cell Tower provisioned with 3G. Thus the speed may fall to 3G UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) which has speeds of 256Kbps best effort and then to 2G EDGE at 128Kbps best effort, a subset of GSM (Global System Mobile).

2G GPRS at speeds of 56 Kbps best effort is the last fallback for 3G. This occurs when the GMSK (Gaussian Mask Shifted Key) Filters in the Cell Site, which have very poor noise tolerance, are overwhelmed with Terrestrial Noise.

The 3G service that were being offered by CLARO Jamaica which Digicel has now inherited as concluded in Digicel Introduces One Rate Calling for $8.99 in Jamaica has speeds ranging from 256KBps to up to 14Mbps best effort when fully provisioned with all T1’s (1.556Mbps Data Channel).

In a Telecoms Technician’s English, this is called HSDPA Release 5 protocol, which has the following ranges for provisioning that the Telecom Provider can choose from, depending on their BQ (Bill of Quantities) and Link Budget:

  1. HSDPA Release 5 16-QAM 1.2MBps
  2. HSDPA Release 5 16-QAM 1.2MBps (Telecom Provider CLARO)
  3. HSDPA Release 5 16-QAM 1.8MBps
  4. HSDPA Release 5 16-QAM 1.8MBps
  5. HSDPA Release 5 16-QAM 3.6MBps (Telecom Provider LIME)
  6. HSDPA Release 5 16-QAM 3.6MBps
  7. HSDPA Release 5 16-QAM 7.2MBps
  8. HSDPA Release 5 16-QAM 7.2MBps (Telecom Provider AT&T and T-Mobile)
  9. HSDPA Release 5 16-QAM 10.1MBps
  10. HSDPA Release 5 16-QAM 14.4MBps

Point of Reference: Best effort means that the optimum speeds under ideal conditions. These conditions are rarely achieved in the wild, mainly due to:

  • The vagaries of congestion and traffic on the telecom Provider’s Network
  • Mistakes in assigning T1 capacity to individual cell sites
  • Fluctuations in the RSL (Receive Signal Level) between Mobile Tower and UE (User Equipment) and Microwave Radios in the RBS (Radio Base Station) in the RAN (Radio Access Network)

Dear reader, is your head hurting you? Then get some Panadol Extra Strength, as it gets more complicated….

LIME “4G”:  What it is and what it isn’t

LIME’s recent announcement of the launch of “4G” Internet on Monday March 12th 2012AD  as noted in LIME’s 4G Experience Centers challenge the Rise of Dekal Wireless Dragon is really just faster 3G, known commercially as 3G+ and to Telecoms Technicians as HSDPA+ Release 7.

This new upcoming service when fully provisioned with all T1’s is capable of speeds of up to 42Mbps best effort, albeit LIME may ratchet the speed down to one of the following speeds:

  1. HSDPA+ Release 7 QPSK 1.8MBps
  2. HSDPA+ Release 7 64-QAM 17.6MBps
  3. HSDPA+ Release 7 64-QAM 21.1MBps
  4. HSDPA+ Release 7 16-QAM 23.4MBps
  5. HSDPA+ Release 7 16-QAM 28.0MBps
  6. HSDPA+ Release 7 64-QAM 35.3MBps
  7. HSDPA+ Release 7 64-QAM 42.2MBps

True 4G, which can either be LTE (Long Term Evolution) or WiMaX (Worldwide access for Microwave Interoperability) as defined by the ITU and  is a standard defined by the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) has the following criteria:

  • Orthogonal signal i.e. use of QAM
  • Speeds capable of 100Mbps and higher
  • IP RAN (Internet Protocol Radio Access Network)

Thus LTE, when it’s deployed by LIME and Digicel by 2013AD will have a maximum theoretical Speeds of 100MBps best effort, with its as-yet fully defined cousin, LTE Advanced, capable of 1GBps Speeds, best effort.

Call your LIME Customer Care Agent at 100 for further details. Also, now would be a good time to take that Panadol Extra Strength.

My head hurts. Just tell me how to get 3G from LIME or Digicel

With all this techo-babble, Digicel 3G Service has a few bugs to iron out, such as:

LIME is a bit more open, with customers merely having to activate their SIM Card in their Mobile phone to go onto the Internet. Even then, you’ll still need to enter some settings into the Modem to enable access to their Wireless Broadband Network.

But if you’re a CLARO Migrated customer or just someone with an interesting in trying out the Digicel’s revamped Data Service offerings on their recently acquired 3G Network using either a Huawei E1556 Modem Dongle, then it’s DIY (Do It Yourself) time folks!

In the following segment, I will give instructions on how to enter the settings to access the HSDPA or 3G as it’s more commonly called for both LIME and Digicel’s 3G Network.

You’ll need:

Hint:  To activate the Data Plan for your LIME 3G Internet be it on your Mobile phone or 3G Modem Dongle, use the following USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service) codes:

  • *146*1# – One (1) day 3G Prepaid Data Plan
  • *146*7 – Seven (7) day 3G Prepaid Data Plan
  • *146*14# – Fourteen (14) day 3G Prepaid Data Plan
  • *146*30# – Thirty (30) day 3G Prepaid Data Plan

How to get LIME or Digicel 3G: Here’s the 411

Here’s the procedure for entering the settings for the Huawei E1556 Modem Dongle on either Digicel of LIME’s 3G Network:

  1. Install the CLARO Modem Dongle software
  2. After installation choose Tools in the upper task menu
  3. Chooses Options and then chooses Network
  4. Under Network chooses Registration Mode
  5. Select the “Manual Search and Register” Radio Button. At this point, the Huawei E1556 Modem Dongle begins searching for any available 3G Network
  6. Whether it’s LIME or Digicel, the following should appear on your screen
    1. Network Type: GSM Only
    2. Band: GSM 850/GSM 1900/WCDMA 850/WCDMA/1900
    3. Select Profile Management and select New

At this point you have to enter the Settings to access EITHER or BOTH LIME or Digicel’s 3G Network.

For Digicel the settings are as follows:

  • Name: Digicel
  • APN:
  • Select the radio button for the setting “Static”
  • Access No: *99#
  • Username: <blank>
  • Password: <blank>

For LIME the settings are as follows:

  • Name: LIME
  • APN: ppInternet
  • Select the radio button for the setting “Static”
  • Access No: *99#
  • Username: <blank>
  • Password: <blank>

At this point the rest is elementary my dear Holmes!

You save the settings and exit these menus. From this point on its routine and you merely go to Profile Drop Down menu and select the new “Digicel” or “LIME” setting indicating the setting. Then click on Connect to connect to LIME or Digicel 3G Network at your leisure. Just remember to provision the 3G Internet Service on the SIM Card each time to access either Telecom Provider’s 3G Network.

The Nokia Modem Dongle is a way more straightforward, oweing to the fact that it’s already unlocked in most cases. What’s actually needed is software installed on the Computer or Laptop that uses the Modem as an antenna, negating the need to unlock the Modem any at all! Thus with this article I aim to correct this oversight.

Straight to the point lads, it’s DIY (Do it Yourself) time as I explain how to unlock a Nokia 3G USB Modem Dongle.

You’ll need:

  1. Computer or Laptop
  2. Access to 3G Internet
  3. Nokia 3G USB Modem Dongle
  4. Download the Nokia PC Suite v7.1.40.1 –  32.19 MB in size
  5. Bittorrent software

The instructions are also as simple as pie!!

  1. Download and Install the latest version of Nokia PC Suite v7.1.40.1
  2. Insert the SIM into the USB Modem
  3. Ignore the “invalid operator” warning that comes up as it’s expected
  4. Start up the Nokia PC Suite v7.1.40.1 software
  5. Access the Connect to Internet Option
  6. Go to Configuration and Select Your Data Card Modem
  7. Enter the APN Settings as noted at the end of the article How to Access LIME or Digicel’s 3G Internet using an unlocked Huawei E1556 Modem Dongle or Nokia Modem Dongle
  8. Finish the Setup
  9. Connect to the Internet through the Nokia PC Suite v7.1.40.1 Software

Remember 3G Modem dongle hacking is illegal so be careful. If in doubt, contact your local mobile phone and Modem unlocking specialist.

That’s a wrap folks. Thank you for calling Digicel Customer Care and LIME Customer Care. Do have a pleasant day.


Here’s the link(s):

Nokia PC Suite v7.1.40.1 (32.19 MB)




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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.

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