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Thread: Novatel MiFi 6620 support

  1. #1
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    Novatel MiFi 6620 support

    Hope this is the right section to post this under. Could not find a Novatel specific forum to place this in.

    I need help getting the software updated to Verizon's SW 1.4

    Here is the deal. I have a Novatel Wireless MiFi 6620, not 6620L. The 6620 is a NON carrier specific version of the 6620L. Same exact hardware, just not Verizon branded.
    Verizon's 6620L has a SW update to 1.4 as of 12/19/14. The 6620 is on 1.3
    I have the 6620 active on my account right now. There are no options in the MiFi UI or in the web interface to update the software.
    Novatel acts like this device does not exist. Tech support has absolutely no help for this model at all. They keep telling me "we refer you to Verizon". Verizon can not help. Already talked to tier 2 tech support a few times. Verizon techs keep sending me back to Novatel. Novatel will not help and keep repeating that they only make this device for the "Carrier" that orders them. Yes... on an UNBRANDED, UNSOLD, NO SUPPORT piece of hardware that has Novatel's name all over it!
    I called Novatel tech support around 7 times now in the last week. Never received 1 call back as promised. Every time I call them however, the "tech" support agent just repeats what the last one said. I try my best to clearly explain the situation, but not 1 of them comprehend what I am saying. Really surprised by this from an overseas call center....
    Also talked to the USA office in CA before I bought it. Lady I spoke with contacted the dev team to get an answer to the SW update issue. She did call me back (only one that did) and told me that the dev team said it should update once activated on VZWs network. I had my doubts, but accepted the info and bought it anyways. As obvious, none of that was true.


    I am not beyond manually flashing the SW through DFS or QPST, but I can not find a source for the Verizon firmware anywhere. Maybe possible to have someone with this device to dump the entire image and load it onto mine? I am very interested in dumping the image from mine as it might prove useful in the future since the 6620 is supposed to be a completely unlocked device to be used globally on any carrier without restrictions.
    Where do I start? I can not find any drivers that let this hotspot communicate with the PC to even begin to probe around.

    Anyone got any ideas? I only have a few weeks to figure this out.

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    Before anyone asks, wanting to be able to update in order to support the new 4g rollout on PCS 1900 band 2 this year

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    I don't see any updates on Verizon's update server for the 6620: http://production.6620.verizon.mifiupdates.com -- it only has the Windows driver. The only update 1.4 had was this: http://www.verizonwireless.com/dam/s...l-12-19-14.pdf

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    How did you find this info? I have asked 2 tier two tech support agents and more regular techs than I can remember, and not 1 could tell me what the update 1.4 changed.
    Hope I am not misunderstanding your comment though. The 6620L did come with 1.3, and 1.4 was OTA on 12/19. I see a date of 07/17 on that first link, which is also the date of the SW 1.3 on the 6620. Do OTAs normally show up on this update server?

    Thank you for the input

  5. #5
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    Found it using Google.

    The 7/17 date is when they put the Windows driver on the update server. It does not have the 1.4 update there, so I'm not sure how that was pushed. It's possible they may have pulled the update due to issues. That's pretty common with Novatel updates.

    For example, for the 4620 (http://production.4620.verizon.mifiupdates.com) and 5510 (http://production.5510.verizon.mifiupdates.com), the downloadable (DUU) updates are the files ending in "_updt.zip".

    You can keep an eye on that site, and when you see the "_updt.zip" file, you can download it by copying the folder path and filename at the end of the URL and navigating there.

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    Ok , just wanted to make sure I understood your angle.
    Verizon has told me that there will no longer be any downloadable updates for future jetpacks, including the 6620L.
    Novatel also told me that they will not be making any updates that can be installed via PC. Only option from here on out is OTAs.\
    Honestly, I do not see this being reality since there will be a 6620 sold in the future free of any wireless carrier branding. The 6620 obviously can not receive the 1.4 update, so we know that the generic 6620 will not update simply from using a sim from said provider.

    Sounds like to me, another blunder from Novatel. Joy...


    Edit:
    Want to add one more thing. I am completely baffled that there are more 6620s out there besides the one in my hands, yet not a mention of them ANYWHERE. Novatel's website shows 2 versions, with 2 different pictures, but all 6620 info leads to the Verizon 6620L. Here, look at the info page on the Novatel website: http://www.novatelwireless.com/produ...ots/mifi-6620/
    Towards the bottom of the page there is a video. Just above that video is a link "MiFi 6620L is available from Verizon Wireless. Buy Now".
    What is the deal?

  7. #7
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    I the 6620L and 6620 currently do not support PCS band LTE yet. Update 1.4 didn't mention the Band 2 LTE unlock. The 6620s are approved for Band 2, but mine wont touch it yet.

    Furthermore, where did you find a non-branded 6620; an LTEiRA partner? Mine forced an OTA update to 1.4 right out of the box.

    Novatel claims 'global LTE' support on these things. doesn't make sense if it is only Band 13, 4 (and soon band 2).

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    This is the beef I have with it. Other LTE phones like the iphone 6 have already been updated, and reports of band 2 signal are showing up in several areas.

    Bought it on Ebay. The seller would not give me any details on where it came from, so it really makes me wonder. Ebay listing description said "works fine". That was it. All other info I have obtained from the seller was through Ebay messages.
    The woman I spoke with in the US Novatel office said that these were promo devices handed out at one of the trade shows. She was not 100% sure that was CES 2015 though.

    I point blanks asked the seller about this, but he just danced around the question. Told me to tell Novatel "I bought it from Ebay"
    He was very dodgy on answering any questions. Opened a no pay case in less than 48hrs. I was doing everything I could to get answers from Novatel and Verizon before I committed to buying to keep from getting into this situation. Should have known better.

    Novatel Tech support has my name and info. Told me that they would call me back to resolve the issue. That has now been over a week and a half ago. Any additional calls to tech support are the same. Absolutely refuse to let me speak with a supervisor, ending the call with a "Your case has been escalated. We will call you back". Novatel's US office will not answer my calls either. The operator answers, nice and polite, but can not get anyone on the phone. Infuriates me that Novatel refuses to address customer concerns about this device.

    Before anyone jumps to the conclusion that this device never was intended to have support, Novatel made it clear that they have plans to sell this device as an unlocked MiFi to use with whoever you wish. If this is the case, how will there ever be support for the software updates?
    I am going to blow up their phones till I get answers. This may see barbaric, but Novatel is handling this in a very unprofessional manner.
    And anyone with the care to know, knows that Novatel doesn't exactly have a great track record.

    My fear is even if this device does see the light of day, updates made available, it will never function at the same level as Verizon's 6620L.
    Older devices were never really an issue. You only had a few bands to support. 2 at most for LTE and 1-2 for 3g. Now with a 3rd LTE band, and carrier aggregation (using multiple LTE bands simultaneously to pull up to 300mbs), this device may never support Verizon's implementation.


    If the seller does by chance ever see this thread... Know that I am going WAY out of my way to resolve this with Novatel to keep from having to return the device. I am doing way more leg work than 90% of Ebay buyers would even consider to attempt.

  9. #9
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    I'm still baffled you found a non branded 6620. Perhaps they haven't really entered the market yet? I'm almost positive any non-branded 6620's are only being offered through Verizon LTEiRA partners. As such, their need for Band 2 support is negligible. There was a non-branded version of the 4510 5510 and the 4620. They are almost non-existent as well. There really is no need to avoid the Verizon branded ones as they are unlocked (thank you upper C block rules).

    https://store.bluegrasscellular.com/...t/data-devices
    http://www.stratanetworks.com/mobile-broadband-devices
    http://www.cv4g.com/2012-07-11-15-35-03/other-devices
    http://www.thumbcellular.com/internet-devices/

    Note that none of these LTEiRA's currently offer the 6620. It must be pre-distribution at this point

    I'd consider reselling your 6620 on ebay if/when Verizon finally green lights Band 2 for the 6620L. Let me reiterate that Band 2 LTE currently does not work on my Verizon branded 6620L. It's rumored to be supported with a future firmware update sometime this year (and the FCC documents approve it for Band 2).

    For now, band 2 is probably a liability as it is probably being deployed as 5MHz instead of 10MHz or 20MHz typical of the AWS band. You cannot manually select bands on these hotspots. I'd take congested 20MHz over idle 5MHz.

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    Quote Originally Posted by E_tron View Post
    For now, band 2 is probably a liability as it is probably being deployed as 5MHz instead of 10MHz or 20MHz typical of the AWS band. You cannot manually select bands on these hotspots. I'd take congested 20MHz over idle 5MHz.
    You make a valid point. I agree that being on band 4 or 13 for now is probably better than being on an under developed network.
    The whole reason for me even buying this device was to help with the poor data throughput in my area.
    Download speed is not bad. I am usually hitting 10-20mbps, but my upload speed is horrendous.
    I barely break above 1.9mbps on a good day. I am averaging .2-.8 during peak times and overnight. This has been going on for 10 months now and Verizon is not doing anything to fix it. When you do a speed test, the upload is jumping all over the place like it cant quite get a lock on the tower. During a call to Verizon tech support, the agent looked at my last 5min call to the tech before him. He said that call showed it jumped towers 89 times during that call, and I did not move from the spot I was in the entire time.

    So far this jetpack is the only device I have had that is able to hold on to a 4g signal (as of my testing for the last 4 days). All other phones and hotspots constantly drop to 3g hourly. Most of the time web pages refuse to load, or take 1+mins. Basic web pages. Any video streaming is just about useless right now. I have to start the video, pause it for 5+mins to let it load, then watch.

    I am in a large city area, and have access to very very saturated coverage. Also pretty far out from the densely pop areas, and I do not believe traffic is the problem. It started after a tornado came through our property last year, and has never been the same since.


    These LTEiRAs look interesting. What is the difference between them and other Verizon MNVOs? Think this is the first time I have even heard of them.


    I still have about a week and a half left to return the 6620. Did not really want to do that. They had to be handing out test units at CES 2015. Only thing I can find.

  11. #11
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    LTE in Rural America is a program sponsored by Verizon. It is basically a huge roaming agreement with some of the largest regional carriers where Verizon's network is either non existent or weak. Verizon loans it's 700MHz C block and AWS spectrum to the regional carrier in it's market, gives the regional carrier LTE basestation gear, and asks them to deploy and maintain it on their network. In exchange Verizon customers get to roam on the regional carrier's network without roaming charges. The regional carrier also gets preferred roaming deal on VZW's network and the regional carrier gets access to Verizon's handset product line. It basically was a way for VZW to get native coverage in area's they hadn't bothered building out into; almost like franchising. Some of these LTEiRA's even switched from GSM to CDMA to get this deal /w Verizon. Most of these LTEiRA's probably won't put up with perpetual roaming, so I wouldn't bother trying to signing up.

    In regards to your situation with cellular hand off hell, have you considered getting a directional antenna? What band does your hotspot prefer (on the diagnostic page)? It's it constantly switching between Band 13 and 4? What RSRP and SINR values are you seeing? The 6620 has a TS9 RF port. So depending upon which band your device prefers you should get a N Male to TS9 Male adapter on amazon, a N female yagi antenna tuned for your band, and a cheap tripod to mount it on. Wilson 'wide band yagi' is a safe choice for all 3 Verizon LTE bands. There is also a higher gain Band 13 antenna (but omits Band 2 and 4).

    Alternatively, for the sake of testing, get a large metal bowl and put the hotspot inside it near it's focal point. Use it as a directional antenna until you find a stable condition. It won't do a good job concentrating the signal, but it should help block adjacent cells and reduce hand offs.

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    I did consider an antenna, but I have a few devices that I jump in between. As of right now I have my Note 3, Galaxy Nexus, and the 6620. I have a 4510L, but that is not planned as a full time use device since it is old tech now. And the 4510 was dropping 4g all the time just like my Note.

    Trying to keep away from using an antenna that restricts me to 1 band. I am in a very well covered area as I said before, but something has happened to Verizon's tower here. I am 1.2 miles from the tower. I can look out my north facing window and see the top half of the the whole thing. Even the local Verizon corp store told me that there was damage to that tower when the tornado came through.

    As far as the 6620 goes, I am seeing -101 to -108 and 8-11 SNR on average on band 4. There are times when I can look at what ever device I am using and the values jump way below or ahead of the norm for a second or two. Just for example, the 6620 sometimes shows a SNR value of 1-3 for a few seconds. Other times it will jump to 13-15. Signal goes all over the place too. -93 to -98 or -113 to -118

    The Note 3 is usually on band 13 since band 4 is not as strong. I could not find a SNIR value on the Note, but I do get the ASR value which is average 37-43.

    My other problem is I am on several acres. I have a small house at the back end of the property (like 20x20) and a shop about 100 yards away. Nothing is around the house to block signal. Our land is very flat here. No hills, nothing to obstruct signal. Only thing close to my house is power lines.

    We have a power station down the road. The HV lines are 230kv, and there are 2 sets of distribution lines. My house is backed up right to one set of transmission lines. The set close to me did stop at my back door, but this year was pushed all the way through to complete a new run. These lines have been here for more than 4 decades, and have never been an issue before.

    Until this year, we were 1 of 3 users on on this set (which stopped at me). Now that it is completed, I am sure the city is using it to supply others. Wondering if the amount of EMF is interfering?
    Here is the thing. This has never been a problem before. I do not think that the new distribution line run would have that much effect. The other lines are so close, and have been before this ever became an issue.
    On top of that, I noticed this problem starting after the storm. The new line was completed after that.
    Just reaching out for answers in any direction.

    I did attempt to shield my other devices to see if I could make any improvements. Only saw minimal differences so did not merit my findings with any credibility.


    Back to what I mentioned before. I have a shop bout 100 yards away. An antenna would have to be movable all the time since I am back and forth so much between the house and shop. Even if I did buy 2 antennas, removing the connector that many times would guarantee the port would break in less than a months time.

  13. #13
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    Since your seeing Band 4 LTE, it's conceivable that VZW has changed the entire configuration of the nearby cell sites (perhaps tornado damage prompted an early upgrade or is coincidental).

    With RSRP values around -100dBm to -108dBm means your signal is less than perfect, but not bad. On a 10MHz channel, that's similar to a RSSI of -77dBm to -85dBm. That means your not using the best QAM constellations available. The upload speeds you've posted (sub 1Mbps) with fast download speeds seems to suggest you are transmit power limited. It's kind of strange you'd be experiencing that at -108dBm RSRP; i typically see Tx limited poor upload speeds (but respectable download) around -120dBm RSRP or worse.

    A TS9 to N male RF adapter paired with a wilson wide band yagi antenna w/ N female port (and a cheap tripod or mounting surface) is fairly cheap. It should get you down into -90dBm RSRP territory reducing the chance of the actual RF channel or Tx power being a problem. Relatively cheap way to improve the performance of your relatively expensive VZW data plan (not to mention amazon has everything you need with a good return policy). I almost always use antennas with my mobile hotspot. Any improvement in RSRP usually improves SINR which directly affects peak throughput speeds. This is all fuzzy logic as it's difficult to calculate the link budget of a system we do not control or have full visibility of (aside from some randomly calibrated numbers spit out of the diagnostic admin page and guesses of the antenna configuration at the cell site).

    I've also observed more times than not that Band 4 is detrimental to the LTE experience (poor signal and congested in many cases). The MHS291L and the 6620L prodigiously seek out Band 4 and latch onto it whenever they can. As such I keep a Band 13 novatel 4620L close by in case Band 4 is causing me too many issues.

    A discussion into the different signal quality measurements in LTE: http://www.laroccasolutions.com/trai...urement-in-lte http://s4gru.com/index.php?/blog/1/e...rength-primer/

    Your SINR values suggest the cell is not idle, but not congested. There is no way to know if there are backhaul issues from these measurements. I don't think your backhaul is affected if your seeing 10Mbps to 20Mbps download; upload is rarely congested.

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    I know this isnt exactly scientific proof of what I am seeing, but running the ookla speedtest is interesting to watch.
    You know how when you first begin the test the needle on the meter jumps really high for a split second? It does this erratically through the whole upload. Like it wants to go faster but something is holding it back. Before in the same spot (device up in the north facing window) the average upload was 5-8mbps, and this is what the speed test reflects when it is jumping all around.

    I just received the 4620L I originally ordered before the 6620. Tested it overnight and got some interesting results. Run my usual test of location, time, and connection I try to maintain across all devices.
    I believe I am running on band 13. Did not see a place to check it.
    Last night 19.8 up 11.2 down with values of -93 and SNIR -1
    As of this posting 4.17 up 7.19 down -98 and SNIR 1

    The 4620 also dropped to 3g last night and stayed there for over 2 hours till I reboot it. The 4510 would also drop to 3g but would always switch back to 4g after some mins. Then it locked up, stuck in 3g mode. Showed connected and the light was blinking rapidly to indicate data transfer, but could not receive or send anything. When this happened the power button would not turn it off. Had to remove the battery to reset. Also could not log into the Admin page when this happened.

    Now that may simply be issue specific to the 4620 as I have heard there are problems with it locking up. SW version is on 3.20.16 which is the latest I believe.
    So I think I see a pattern here. It does seem that connection to band 13 is the problem. What ever is happening on the cell site is making every device constantly hunt for signal, and eventually causing the device to drop to 3g. In the case of the 4620, that makes it lock up?

    Something is wrong here. Verizon claims I am the only one that has had issues in this area. I have family members on this same land, and they have been experiencing it too.
    We are south of the tower, the VZW corp store is WWN. The VZW store tells me that they have not experienced any issues, nor complaints from customers. It is almost like the southern facing part of the antenna array is damaged. By the time you travel south to the more populated area, you are within closer range to other towers. So maybe that is why there have not been many reports.

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    Wow, I feel dumb. I think I may have found something that can explain the time frame of this issue and the sudden drop in connection reliability.

    XLTE was turned on in the April-May timeframe last year. This is around the same time that tornado hit my land. It never even crossed my mind till just now.
    Possible Verizon moved/removed some of the equipment running band 13 to make room for band 4? I kind of highly doubt that, but I have come to expect just about anything from VZ. Just sweep it under the rug. No one will know...

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