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Using the Huawei HG612 on Digital Region instead of the Cellpipe
07-05-2012, 01:00 AM (This post was last modified: 06-07-2012 09:56 PM by alexatkin.)
Post: #1
Using the Huawei HG612 on Digital Region instead of the Cellpipe
Using an unofficial modem on a Digital Region line IS against the terms and conditions. However I have been assured by Digital Region that while your ISP has to tell you NOT to do this (its in their contract), your line will NOT be ceased if you do.
You will however need to plug back in the supplied Cellpipe if you have any problems with your connection as Digital Region cannot check your line stats without their own equipment plugged in!

These instructions are for configuring the HG612 to replace the Cellpipe for people who ONLY have an ISP service on their Cellpipe.
If you have VoIP or IPTV which uses a different ethernet port on the Cellpipe to your normal Internet, it is not recommended to use the HG612 as you will lose access to the configurations, stats and GUI.

Unlocking the Openreach HG612 and configuring it for Digital Region:
If your HG612 is already unlocked, jump to step 3.
  1. Download the unlocked SP10 firmware and extract it to somewhere you will remember on your PC.
  2. Open the hg612_unlock_instructions_v1-3.pdf you just extracted and follow the instructions until step 13, then come back here.
  3. Login to the routers web interface at "".
  4. Click on Basic and then WAN.
  5. Look down the page for VLAN ID, change this to 10 and click Submit.
  6. Click on the line starting ptm1.301, make sure the VLAN ID shows 301 further down the page then click Remove and confirm the alert box.
  7. Click the Advanced section on the left then on QoS.
  8. Untick the "enable" tick box (oddly this is instant, there is no Submit or Save button to press).
  9. Remove the ethernet cable from the Cellpipe and put it into LAN1 on the HG612. (you can power down the HG612 at this point if you need to move it to do this)
  10. Surf the web.
To be able to get into the HG612 GUI/telnet you either need to plug a PC into LAN2 or change the LAN IP address of the HG612 to the same as your network and then plug an ethernet cable from LAN2 on the HG612 into a port on your router/switch. Or if you have a flexible router that lets you specify a second IP address for its WAN port, you can follow the instructions at the very end of this post.

If it didn't work:
Firstly, double check your settings! If you are sure they are correct, do the following.
When I say to "run" something I mean type in the text and then press enter.

Telnet into the router (if you changed the IP address remember to use the new one you set it as) and run sh followed by ifconfig.

Look for ptm1.10 and check if its showing greater than 0 for RX packets and TX packets. If it is, it should working so double check your settings especially on your router.

If however it shows 0 packets for RX and TX then your VLAN ID may be different so we need to find out which it is.

Highlight the following text and copy/paste it into the telnet window:
while [ "$VLAN" -lt 50 ]
  vconfig add ptm1 $VLAN
  ifconfig ptm1.$VLAN up
  VLAN=$((VLAN + 1))
You may need to press enter for it to execute. Once it has, run "ifconfig" again and look at the results. You need to find out which interface called "ptm1.#" where # is a number, is receiving packets.

It will look something like this but only have RX packets showing a positive number, TX packets will still be 0:
ptm1.10   Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr ##:##:##:##:##:##  
          RX packets:876522 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:451078 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:0
          RX bytes:800843126 (763.7 MiB)  TX bytes:66025873 (62.9 MiB)
Note down which number is after the dot "ptm1." as you will need this next.

Now copy/paste the following:
while [ "$VLAN" -lt 50 ]
  vconfig rem ptm1.$VLAN
  VLAN=$((VLAN + 1))
press enter, then close telnet and go to your web browser.

What can I do now that I couldn't with the Cellpipe?

I want to see my sync speed and POTENTIAL max sync speed:
Click Status, WAN then xDSL.

Remember that attainable rate will ALWAYS be optimistic, it shows the speed you would sync at if the SNR margin was 0dB. In reality no line can run reliably at that setting and 6dB margin is to be expected. But if your current SNR margin is higher than 6dB it pretty much guarantees your line can sync faster than its current setting.

I want to see DETAILED line statistics:
Telnet into the router and run sh.
Now type xdslcmd info --show and you will see something like below:

xdslcmd: ADSL driver and PHY status
Status: Showtime
Retrain Reason: 0
Max:    Upstream rate = 22936 Kbps, Downstream rate = 123820 Kbps
Path:   0, Upstream rate = 10999 Kbps, Downstream rate = 43997 Kbps

Link Power State:       L0
Mode:                   VDSL2 Annex B
VDSL2 Profile:          Profile 17a
TPS-TC:                 PTM Mode
Trellis:                U:OFF /D:ON
Line Status:            No Defect
Training Status:        Showtime
                Down            Up
SNR (dB):        30.9            17.3
Attn(dB):        0.0             0.0
Pwr(dBm):        10.7           -8.7
                        VDSL2 framing
                        Path 0
B:              111             106
M:              1               1
T:              32              45
R:              16              16
S:              0.0810          0.3090
L:              12648           3184                
D:              397             100                    
I:              128             123                    
N:              128             123                    
                        Path 0                            
OHF:            49633475                1117260
OHFErr:         0               1                    
RS:             2058117496              110880
RSCorr:         2553            509743424  
RSUnCorr:       0               0          
                        Path 0                  
HEC:            0               0              
OCD:            0               0              
LCD:            0               0              
Total Cells:    2324571547              0
Data Cells:     44246908                0
Drop Cells:     0                    
Bit Errors:     0               0      
ES:             0               2      
SES:            0               1      
UAS:            72              72    
AS:             129093                
                        Path 0            
INP:            2.00            2.00  
PER:            2.59            10.43
delay:          8.00            8.00  
OR:             98.81           36.81
Bitswap:        105             193

Total Cells and Data Cells is known to be bugged, ignore it.

The interesting lines are D: which shows your interleaving level. INP which shows the Impulse Noise Protection level and delay which shows the lag in ms introduced by the current interleaving and INP settings (I think).

As you can see, I am losing 8ms for both uploads and downloads which means 16ms higher ping times in total.

I am still trying to find out what some of the other fields are.

There are MUCH more detailed line statistics you can view from the xdslcmd but mostly they are useful for graphing, not much fun to read in plain text. Consult the HG612 hacking site for more information about that sort of thing and to thank them for hacking the firmware of the HG612 so we can use it on Digital Region.

How to access the GUI/telnet using just a single ethernet cable:
This did not work as planned so its still in the "to look into" category.

I'm with Little Big One and I REALLY want to use their TV service with the HG612:

This can be done, but you will lose access to all the goodies the HG612 provides so its not recommended. You would be better off trying to get a replacement from LBO, using a Cellpipe would work just as well as the HG612 in this case.

If this doesn't work, you have to revert to factory settings by holding the reset button in for 10 seconds in order to recover access to the GUI. You would then then have to configure the HG612 from scratch again, just skip the first step of unlocking the modem as it will already be unlocked.

[*]Login to the routers web interface at "".
[*]Click on Basic and then WAN.
[*]Click on New.
[*]Tick port binding: LAN2.
[*]Change connection mode to BRIDGE.
[*]Tick WAN 802.1q and type 30 into the box.
[*]Click Submit.

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07-05-2012, 01:14 AM
Post: #2
RE: Huawei HG612 on Digital Region
If my experience with Huawei routers is anything to go by, they're cheap POS. tbh ;-).

But if it's not costing you much to grab one, it's probably worth a looksee.

They're both based off the same chipset, so it's an apples for apples comparison. You'll have available to you some tweak tools at least from people who've hacked them.

ISP: plusnet Router: Huawei EchoLife HG612 Speed: ~53Mb/13Mb PCP: ~500m Exc: Intake
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07-05-2012, 04:04 AM (This post was last modified: 07-05-2012 04:08 AM by alexatkin.)
Post: #3
RE: Huawei HG612 on Digital Region
Absolutely, I wouldn't trust it as my main router on the network, but as a simple VDSL to Ethernet bridge it should be fine. OpenWRT doesn't support VDSL anyway, so having a dedicated device to do that is more practical for my network.

Spending £150+ on that device would be pretty stupid if I can spend under £30 for something which works just as well for the limited functionality I need it for.

It was the same with my old DG834GT, it wasn't the best router in the world but it was miles better than the crap Speedtouch that Be provided - would crash every five minutes.

However once I knew I was getting Digital Region I got the Buffalo in preparation and put the DG834GT into bridge mode. It felt like I had upgraded my broadband already, things just started running so much faster.

After all, have you seen the specs of the Cellpipe? Its a complete pile of crap as routers go but its perfectly adequate as a VDSL to Ethernet bridge.

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07-05-2012, 09:09 AM
Post: #4
RE: Huawei HG612 on Digital Region
Very interested to see how this all works out
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07-05-2012, 09:37 AM
Post: #5
RE: Huawei HG612 on Digital Region

This is what my trial here I posted about Smile

General results are positive with it. It certainly is a damn sight more stable than DR kit, but since I've not messed with it, its locked down so can't see sync stats (not that I'm fussed with that atm)

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07-05-2012, 10:31 AM
Post: #6
RE: Huawei HG612 on Digital Region
(07-05-2012 01:00 AM)alexatkin Wrote:  I decided to be a guinea pig. I'm grabbing an OpenReach branded Huawei HG612 off eBay and will be unlocking it.

I wanted to get a ZyXEL or Draytek but it makes no sense me spending £150+ when I do not need a full router, just a bridge that lets me access the line stats. So I will be seeing if I can get that going on my Origin connection.

This way I get the line stats I really want to see without spending a fortune. If (once I am on Max) it turns out I am syncing at a high speed and believe the Cellpipe is not delivering - I can discuss the issue with Origin. Oliver made it clear they would consider providing a different VDSL router for anyone who can obtain a sync faster than the Cellpipe can handle. This way I can know for certain if that is happening or not without having to rely on Thales telling us.

I will be sure to let everyone know what happens.


Well great minds must think alike!

I also have an Openreach Huawei HG612 modem that I use for fault finding and as you say reading line stats etc. They are a decent little tool to find such information out and as you say it cuts Thales out of the loop for providing information and allows you to directly look at your own statistics for the line.

I have recently been working on using it as my actual bridge on my DRL Origin connection as well! Wink

Let me know how you get on with it. I am sure you will be fine as I unlocked mine in about five minutes flat and it was dead easy to do!

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07-05-2012, 11:10 AM
Post: #7
RE: Huawei HG612 on Digital Region
I still think unlocking the Cellpipe is the way forward. I'm curious as to how "locked" the device truly is. My guess is it's just had it's passwords changed from default.

ISP: plusnet Router: Huawei EchoLife HG612 Speed: ~53Mb/13Mb PCP: ~500m Exc: Intake
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07-05-2012, 12:28 PM
Post: #8
RE: Huawei HG612 on Digital Region
Unlocking the Cellpipe would be a breach of contract. Thales would be well within their right to kick you off the network AND charge you any fee they feel like, for "repairing/replacing" the Cellpipe.

While technically using a third-party router could also be considered a breach of contract, the worst they are likely to do in that scenario is ask you to plug the Cellpipe back in.

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07-05-2012, 12:48 PM
Post: #9
RE: Huawei HG612 on Digital Region
Depends what we mean by unlocking. If it's a case of getting the admin password for the device, it's not the same as reflashing the device with custom firmware.

Also, show me where using a third party router is a breach of contract.. If that was true LBO wouldn't exist. And why do we even care what Thales thinks? Aren't they soon to be replaced?

Fact is. Crippling a router is a counter-productive practice. Many of us just want to see our line stats. Forcing us to buy a separate modem just to perform this function is frankly.. Stupid. Customer is King.

ISP: plusnet Router: Huawei EchoLife HG612 Speed: ~53Mb/13Mb PCP: ~500m Exc: Intake
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07-05-2012, 02:31 PM
Post: #10
RE: Huawei HG612 on Digital Region
True, but BT do the same as do many providers in the US - its pretty much industry standard.

Its so we do not change things which would break their ability to configure IPTV, VoIP, etc. VDSL is designed to be multiple services/service providers, one data pipe. Which means up to four VLANs all tunneled over the same VDSL connection, one per ethernet port. To keep that functionality while revealing enough to the end-user to make the techies happy is near impossible.

LBO might use an all in one router solution, but that too is locked down to some degree. We know at least the VoIP functionality is locked to LBO only, which as its their property we can't really blame them.

A the end of the day the reason we have the Cellpipe to start with, rather than something better, is because Lucent were contracted to provide the hardware solution, the stuff in the cabinets and the box in your house. The theory being they are matched for optimal performance, which means a big no no to letting the customer fiddle with it. BT have done the same except they have two network providers, they provide Huawei boxes to people connected to Huawei cabinets and ECI boxes to people connected to ECI cabinets.

By doing it this way, (in theory) they know that at each ethernet port on the Cellpipe we are getting the right service and it will work. Anything after that point is our own problem, exactly like how cable used to work. Its rather like how BT switched from providing your home phone to providing just the socket and saying "if the socket works, our work is done". We are supposed to pretend the Cellpipe does not exist, its just an ethernet port on your wall.

Of course in reality we know it doesn't work like that. When you are paying £35/month for broadband you expect proof that they are pushing the connection as hard as it will go. I want to SEE that fastpath is turned on and my SNRM is as low as possible for my line to maintain reliable sync. The biggest problem is Thales not providing ANY feedback on line stats to the ISP, never mind the end user.

I wouldn't be half as worried about line stats if it wasn't for Origin insisting that turning on fastpath will REDUCE my speed. It makes me think that Thales will crank up the SNRM without any consideration for the line quality as on a good line all switching fastpath on does is reduce the overheads, the sync speed should remain the same and thus your speeds INCREASE.

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