The Huawei E220 is a Huawei HSDPA access device (modem) manufactured by Huawei and notable for using the USB interface (USB modem).
Technically it is a modem, USB and (due to the CDfs format) virtual CD-ROM device.
Launched on 21 June 2006, the device is used for wireless Internet access using 3.5G, 3G, or 2G mobile telephony networks. It supports UMTS (including HSDPA), EDGE, GPRS and GSM.
E220 works well with Linux, as support for it was added in Linux kernel 2.6.20, but there are workarounds for distributions with older kernels. The card is also supported by Vodafone Mobile Connect Card driver for Linux, and it is possible to monitor the signal strength through other Linux applications.
Most 3G network operators bundle the device with a contract, with some operators simlocking the device . Unlocked and unbranded modems can also be bought
The device contains not only the cellular antenna but also about 22 MB (10 MB on older versions) of storage memory accessible to the operating system as a USB mass storage device formatted with CDfs, thus emulating a CD-ROM drive. In this memory, E220 devices supplied by mobile operators may contain 3G dialer software written by the operator, while Huawei-branded devices contain Huawei's original dialing software, which they call 'Dashboard'. Huawei's Dashboard and updates for it are also available from Huawei's website, or the 11.313.02.00.01 firmware for 7.2 Mbit/s from NetCom (in reality 'flashing' this device means writing a firmware image to its internal flash memory, which is different from "updating the dashboard", which is simply writing a new CDFS disc image to the USB mass storage device that appears in the operating system). Flashing the firmware of this device doesn't change the USB Mass Storage memory used for the operator's software, therefore connection settings (such as APN) will be retained. When the device is first attached, Windows will automatically run the software stored on it, unless that feature has been turned off in Windows. This feature can be bypassed by pressing the Shift key while attaching the device, or by turning off the autostart feature entirely. It is possible to remove the operator branding by flashing the device with Huawei's Mobile Partner software. Huawei does not publicly release firmware updates for its devices, only Dashboard updates. The standard way of obtaining firmware updates is through the service provider, however some firmware updates are publicly available over the Internet and some users have cross-flashed (i.e. using a firmware provided by service provider "X" with modem supplied by service provider "Y") their modems without trouble. Updating the modem's Dashboard does not remove or affect the network-lock (that may be in effect with modems purchased subsidized from a service provider) that prevents you from using the modem with any service provider. However updating the modem's firmware may remove this network-lock or even the opposite, turn a network-lock free modem into a locked one.