Rocket Hub a.k.a Ericsson W35 Official Rogers Unlocking Questions

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I Plan to Stick Around
Posts: 9

Rocket Hub a.k.a Ericsson W35 Official Rogers Unlocking Questions

I have a Rocket Hub a.k.a Ericsson W35 on a 2 year contract that is about to expire soon. I called Rogers tech support and inquired about the “official” Rogers unlocking policy for this device. After a very long time on hold I was informed that Rogers will unlock this unit at the end of the commitment period for $50.

 

Since there is absolutely no info about this process on the Rogers website I would like to ask a few questions:

 

  • After unlocking will Rogers provide the Admin password to the CLI of the unit ?
  • There is a custom firmware on the unit right now, will rogers ever provide updates to the firmware?
  • After unlocking can I enable the VPN functionality of the unit?
  • After unlocking can I enable the 2100 Mhz frequency to use the unit overseas?

 

Thanks a lot

 

CodeMonk

 

 

***Edited labels***

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I Plan to Stick Around
Posts: 16

Re: Rocket Hub a.k.a Ericsson W35 Official Rogers Unlocking Questions

a Wiki SIM lock page states:

 

"On June 17, 2010, Member of Parliament Bruse Heyer (Thunder Bay-Superior North) introduced Private Member's Bill C-560,called the Cell Phone Freedom Act, which would prohibit carriers from selling SIM locked phones in Canada without first informing the consumer of the existence of such a lock. C-560 bill additionally mandates that phone companies selling new phones must unlock customer phones, without charge, at the end of contract or upon purchase of phone outright, when requested by the customer."

 

This I don't know if this is accurate, but would like some clarification on these questions as well.  I own a Rocket hub outright - currently on Rogers tiered service but may switch to another provider (better plan).  Does it need to be unlocked, if so shouldn't it be free of charge if there is no (remaining) service contract? 

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I'm an Advisor
Posts: 842

Re: Rocket Hub a.k.a Ericsson W35 Official Rogers Unlocking Questions

@tmiktliu:

 

you are getting into a very, very murky area.  Please don't misunderstand me.  I am quite interested in these questions myself, as I too am the owner of a Rogers-provided W35.

 

In general, it is probably better not to discuss the Rogers corporated attitude towards the extra-ordinary support of the RocketHub devices.  It is bound to upset some people, me included.  You pay a lot of money for this device.  And then you discover that you don't really own it like you own, for example, a Linksys router which you bought at your local electronics super emporium.

 

What I do know, is that there is a CLI interface on the W35 which is much more functional and complex than that provided by the standard Rogers web-based management interface.  I also know that the Rogers W35 variant has Rogers-specific firmware.  Similarly, the Bell W35 variant has Bell-specific firmware.  The Bell W35 had lots of disconnect problems initially, which were corrected by a firmware update late last winter specifically for the Bell system.  Rogers has never felt it necessary to provide a W35 firmware update.  Are they just better managers than Bell, or were they luckier?

 

Currently, Rogers does not allow their customers access to the CLI interface on the W35.  I guess I can understand the support problems associated with miscellaneous Rogers customers tinkering with the lower level commands on a W35.  But, by the same token, if you actually own the device then you own it, right?  And if you tinker with the CLI commands, then you own the problems you create too, right?  Well, maybe not, from Rogers point of view!?!

 

So, let us say that you wish to take your Rogers W35 and use it on the Bell network, for whatever reason.  You would first need to handle any firmware issues that might crop up.  Off hand I don't know how one would migrate a W35 to another parallel version of the firmware.  I am sure someone at Ericsson could tell you what is involved, but to the best of my knowledge they have been muzzled by contractual obligations between them and Rogers, Bell, et al.

 

So, given that the W35 runs a version of Linux, it could be imagined that somewhere some hacker is developing a DD-WRT type of more generic open source firmware for the device.  But at this point it is still strictly imaginary.  I have not heard of this being done.

 

So, it would be interesting to know what could be done with an unlocked version of the W35, and how we could use any benefits that would accrue from that.

 

Keep us posted.

 

skinorth

 

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Posts: 16

Re: Rocket Hub a.k.a Ericsson W35 Official Rogers Unlocking Questions

@skinorth

 

thanks for the reply.  I hear ya (re: murky).  

 

it appears (and I could be wrong) that people have posted in varous places about paying Rogers to unlock a hub -  if this is the case, post-Bill-C-560, is Rogers breaking the law?   I'm just askin'.  Hello Rogers?  Comments?

 

You're right - all the things I can do with my unlocked hub may in fact = nothing.  I do kinda get it that service providers lock out the admin interfaces on devices (I see this all the time on devices in other non-related areas of interest and work).  They probably have this covered in some operational / legal mumbo jumbo somewhere.  I don't get to tinker - yep, like you, it bugs me to no end - but even if there is some justification for keeping us from tinkering, I think we still absolutely have a right to a clear explanation and accountability around the device / SIM locking policies and procedures.  If I call Rogers tomorrow and ask them to unlock MY hub are they going to do it, and if so are they going to charge me?  Someone from Rogers should really take the opportunity to clarify this.   These are reasonable questions.  The OP has been up for a couple of months.  Non answers to legit questions actually speaks volumes.  

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Re: Rocket Hub a.k.a Ericsson W35 Official Rogers Unlocking Questions

@tmiktliu:

 

Bill C-560 was mentioned as "introduced".  The poster did not say it passed, or was proclaimed into law.  This bill had three strikes against it from the git-go:

 

1. it was a private member's bill;

 

2. it was introduced by I believe, an NDP MP;

 

3. it took a pro-consumer stance.

 

In my opinion, Harper's government would not allow such a bill through Parliament in a million years.

 

It still needs to be determined, however, what in the context of the W35 RocketHub, the term "unlocked" really means.

 

I suggest that initially, it would mean that the user/owner would have cli/root access in order to set the many lower level device parameters as desired, and thus potentially differently than the defaults built into the Rogers firmware.

 

skinorth

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Re: Rocket Hub a.k.a Ericsson W35 Official Rogers Unlocking Questions

@skinorth

 

Yes I suppose the Rocket (W35) is a bit of a different animal, and the context here is key to this "unlocked discussion".   All the more reason for Rogers to jump in and set us straight.  Thanks again for offering up your POV and feedback. 

 

Would be nice if Rogers follows your example (additional insight / quick response) and provides a bit of closure here...? 

 

 

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Posts: 842

Re: Rocket Hub a.k.a Ericsson W35 Official Rogers Unlocking Questions

@tmiktliu:

 

I agree with you that it would be nice if we could get responses/points of view quickly from Rogers.

 

But this is a User Forum for the Rogers Community.  It is unusual to get any response at all from anyone who has any obvious connections with Rogers, let alone an official Rogers position on an issue when such is requested by a Forum participant.

 

Just imagine the total amount of management time, not to mention legal consultation time, that would be required to make such a thing happen!

 

Today's large corporate entities do not make pronouncements lightly.

 

skinorth

 

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I'm a Trusted Enthusiast
Posts: 225

Re: Rocket Hub a.k.a Ericsson W35 Official Rogers Unlocking Questions

There is ALWAYS a backdoor into ANY device because of the inherent nature of "A" corporation hiring "someone" to program a device....

 

It is called the payback clause.... corporation doesn't play fair with programmer.. programmer releases the back door code..

 

Programmers do it as an insurance clause... whether they use it or not depends.... but there ALWAYS is a back door..and thats how hackers get in...

 

so, if you really want to know about questions about "unlocking" your Ericsson.... go browse their developers forums.. someone will be better able to help you than ANYONE here!

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Posts: 16

Re: Rocket Hub a.k.a Ericsson W35 Official Rogers Unlocking Questions

@xplornetsucks:

 

I agree that there is always a way in - nothing is bulletproof and somebody somewhere knows the secret.  But I think I'm causing a lot of stir over a more simpler concern. 

 

Beyond the issue of not having full admin access to a device I "own", what I was looking for here is a simple policy clarification to start - not necessarily any how-to information on cracking open a specific box (at least not at this point).  As has been  mentioned it's a thorny subject to delve into, and some context is probably necessary to drill down into "unlocking" a particular device, but as a start, IMHO Rogers could and should make it clear what their policy is in general for any customer owned devices SIM locked to their service where no service contract exists (will they remove a SIM lock, and if so is there is a cost associated with the effort).  Then I can get into the nitty gritty of firmware, CLI access, etc. if so desired, on other venues, etc.  should I choose to do so. 

 

skinorth is correct in that there are legal and other considerations and hoops for them to jump thru to define even a high level policy (statement), and this might not be the appropriate forum to drive this, but it needs to be done - somwhere.  I apologize if the noise I created has here is out of scope for this forum or if I caused any grief for others here (those of you who have come before me who have already flogged this same horse).  In any case, I do appreciate the feedback.  

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Re: Rocket Hub a.k.a Ericsson W35 Official Rogers Unlocking Questions

@tmiktliu:

 

the concept of unlocking a cell phone used to be fairly clear and well understood.  It meant simply (as I understand it) that you could take a given cell phone and use it on the cellular networks of providers other than the one from whom it was bought.  Once the cell phone was unlocked, you could use it to make voice calls and text over those other cell networks.  Presumably you needed to plug in a legit SIM card to make the phone work.

 

The Internet is replete with resources, some free, some for nominal amounts of money which can be used on various phones supplied by various cell phone manufacturers.  So the techniques for doing this are available.

 

The legality of unlocking cell phones is a bit more dubious.  I assume that you would need to read the "fine print" in the service providers contracts to determine what if any legal issues exist both with regard to unlocking the phone you "own" and then in its use on another provider's network.

 

Now add the issues that arise when using smart phones which also allow Internet access through the phone/cell network.  You probably need a data plan.  Your phone is likely loaded with a bunch of stuff that relate to the cellular provider's Internet services.  For example, when you open a web browser, what is the default home page?

 

Now the RocketHub is a different animal.  Let's say you own a Rogers RocketHub (W35 in this case), and you plug into it the appropriate SIM for the Bell network.  What do you think would happen?  Or, what if you did the reverse, you took a Bell-provided W35, and plugged into it a Rogers SIM.  Would the W35 even function in either or both the cases I just mentioned?  Would the Rogers-provided W35 function with the Bell network, and vice versa?  I somehow doubt that these devices have included in them an internal "poison pill" self destruct mechanism which would then be activated and have as a result a "bricked" device.

 

I happen to know that a particular W35 running the Bell Canada firmware variant actually will work against the Rogers cellular network if you plug in the appropriate Rogers SIM.  It has also been reported to me that this particular W35 is "unlocked" to the extent that you can log into the cli using the default user name/password pair published in the Ericsson W35 documentation.

 

So, my point is this: we need to understand more clearly what the concept of "unlocking" the W35 implies.  What are the technical features/benefits of an unlocked W35.  What will it allow us to do with the device.  That will tell us why we would want to do this, and also what the risks and limitations are unlocking the W35.

 

The irony of this whole discussion is that the W35 actually runs Open Source software, Linux.  I am not an expert on the issues around licensing, control and distribution T's & C's for software covered by the Open Source agreements.  But I would think an argument could be made that Rogers (Ericsson too?)  is in violation of the agreements they have in using Open Source software.

 

Any comments?

 

skinorth