Huawei E160 3G modem

The Huawei E160 3G modem is an older 3G modem that is still available on the secondhand market. We received a number of reports from users that the modem stopped working after a couple of hours of use and we wanted to have a look at the problem ourselves.

I tested the Huawei E160 3G modem with Diafaan SMS Server on the 64-bits version of Windows 7.

Huawei E160 specifications
Connection USB 2.0
GSM Frequency bands 850, 900, 1800, 1900
UMTS Frequency bands 850/1900/2100
Network protocols GSM, GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA
Huawei E160

Huawei E160


Like most Huawei 3G modems, the Huawei E160 creates a new USB drive when it is connected to the PC for the first time. The necessary drivers are automatically installed from this USB drive. The installation went without problems, after the drivers are installed there are two serial ports available, one is labeled Application Interface and the other UI Interface, both can be used by Diafaan SMS Server but not at the same time.

Daily operation

After some testing it became clear that the GSM modem indeed stopped working after a couple of hours, but only on the Application Interface COM port, when using the UI Interface COM port the modem keeps working fine.

The difference between the Application Interface and the UI Interface is that the COM port on the UI Interface generates diagnostics information in addition to the standard replies to the modem commands. We got a report from one user that the modem keeps working with Diafaan SMS Server as long as the Huawei connection software runs. To test the hypothesis that the modem works fine when the UI Interface COM port is open, I kept the UI Interface COM port open using the Putty telnet program. This indeed solved the modem lockup problem on the Application Interface COM port.

Huawei modems support the AT^CURC=0 modem command to suppress diagnostics information, this command can be added to the ModemInitialization property of the GSM Modem Gateway to improve the reliability and send speed of the Huawei modems. This was certainly the case in our test.

SMS send speed

Network Vodafone
Signal quality Average
Time to send 500 messages of 160 characters, delivery confirmation enabled. All messages sent to the same number (concurrent send and receive) 35 minutes 43 seconds

Verdict: Recommended

The Huawei E160 is an excellent USB 3G modem for use with Diafaan SMS Server as long as it is used with the UI Interface COM port (the lower port number), using the other serial port causes the modem to lock up after some time.