Huawei E173 3G modem

The Huawei E173 3G modem is a widely used GSM/UMTS USB wireless modem. It has a connection for an external antenna that can be useful in places with low mobile phone coverage.

I tested a T-mobile branded version of the of the Huawei E173 3G modem with Diafaan SMS Server on the 64-bits version of Windows 7.

Huawei E173 specifications
Connection USB 2.0
GSM Frequency bands 850, 900, 1800, 1900
UMTS Frequency bands 2100
Network protocols GSM, GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HSUPA, HSDPA
ZTE MF627, 3 branded

Huawei E173, T-Mobile


After installation of the drivers, the Huawei E173 modem is found immediately by the GSM Modem Gateway in Diafaan SMS Server. The modem uses two virtual serial ports, both of which can be used by Diafaan SMS Server (but not at the same time).

Daily operation

The Huawei E173 3G modem proved to be a reliable and very fast SMS modem. All SMS features are supported, including delivery confirmation and status reports. The Huawei E173 3G modem recovers well when the PC resumes from sleep mode and I encountered no USB driver problems.

External antenna

Somewhat rare for USB dongles is the connection for an external antenna on this model, and because the reception was weak in the test environment it was a good opportunity to test if an external antenna has any positive effect on SMS speed or stability. Although the signal strength changed from low to average, in our situation it did not improve sending speed or reliability.

SMS send speed

Network Vodafone
Signal quality Low
Time to send 500 messages of 160 characters, delivery confirmation enabled. All messages sent to the same number (concurrent send and receive) 11 minutes 8 seconds


The Huawei E173 3G modem is an excellent 3G modem for use with Diafaan SMS Server. Compared to most other 3G and GSM modems, sending SMS messages is incredibly fast. So fast in fact that we repeated the test a couple of times to check if the message throughput was consistent, but this was the case at least on the network we used for testing.