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Any way to unlock the 5GHz WiFi band for US-version?

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Sep 14, 2010
18
4
Charleston, Sc
So the US-version of the Mediapad M3 does not support 5GHz Wifi as stated by Huawei and from my personal experience. Per Huawei's website:

Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac at 2.4 GHz & 5 GHz (Products delivered to markets that impose FCC certification requirements do not support 802.11 a/ac at 5 GHz Wi-Fi)

I can't help but think that the hardware is there as I have never heard of a mobile WiFi chip that ONLY supports 802.11 ac at 2.4 GHz. Therefore, is or will there be any way to unlock the 5 GHz band of the WiFi chip assuming the hardware is there?
 
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Slavon-93

Senior Member
Feb 28, 2011
150
45
Moscow
Well, if you have unlocked bootloader, you may try the following:


1) Get root access.
2) Open /system/build.prop and find ro.config.hw_is_hide_wifi_5g=true and change it to "false". Or to true if it's false.
3) If that doesn't work (cause I really don't know what this option stands for), see below.

4) Go into /cust folder and tell us what's in there. Maybe, there's something like "hw" folder with "eu" folder inside.
5) If there is, edit /data/custom.bin and put "hw/eu" there (without quotemarks), and see, if something has changed.

If you don't have "hw/eu" in /cust, you have two ways:
1) Ask me here to give you "hw/eu" folder, put it into /cust and do (3).
2) Find local.prop file (it's usually in "prop" folder, three folders down from /cust, but folders are those you have, not "hw/eu")
3) There you'll find ro.config.hw_opta and ro.config.hw_optb. Change them to 999 and 156 respectively.

If all that doesn't help, we'll need to find another ways.
 

the7thson

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2008
556
69
Denver, CO
Well, if you have unlocked bootloader, you may try the following:


1) Get root access.
2) Open /system/build.prop and find ro.config.hw_is_hide_wifi_5g=true and change it to "false". Or to true if it's false.
3) If that doesn't work (cause I really don't know what this option stands for), see below.

4) Go into /cust folder and tell us what's in there. Maybe, there's something like "hw" folder with "eu" folder inside.
5) If there is, edit /data/custom.bin and put "hw/eu" there (without quotemarks), and see, if something has changed.

If you don't have "hw/eu" in /cust, you have two ways:
1) Ask me here to give you "hw/eu" folder, put it into /cust and do (3).
2) Find local.prop file (it's usually in "prop" folder, three folders down from /cust, but folders are those you have, not "hw/eu")
3) There you'll find ro.config.hw_opta and ro.config.hw_optb. Change them to 999 and 156 respectively.

If all that doesn't help, we'll need to find another ways.

Has anyone been able to try this yet?
 

Slavon-93

Senior Member
Feb 28, 2011
150
45
Moscow
Has anyone been able to try this yet?
C'mon, be the first one :)

Just another caution.
Please, do a backup first.
I had a factory reset after changing region in custom.bin. I don't know, what was the real cause, and now I don't do anything to my tablet, cause everything it setup and works fine.

You, probably, can avoid it in two cases:
1) Your original recovery was replaced by TWRP
2) You don't change the actual region, changing only the content of your region's folder.
 

E.Vogel

Member
Dec 27, 2013
39
16
didn't work.
After unlocking the bootloader and getting root access I did the following:
1. Changed /system/build.prop: ro.config.hw_is_hide_wifi_5g=true to "false".
restarted the tablet but it did nothing
2. went to /cust. it contains the following folders: /hw (subfolders /default, /normal, /oversea, and /usa), /lost+found, /preinstalled, and /special_cust (just like for @neo_1221)
edited local.prop under /Cust/hw/usa/prop/ to ro.config.hw_opta=999 (was 567) and ro.config.hw_optb=156 (was 840).
restarted the tablet but it did nothing

What else can be done?
 
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dancrosoft

Senior Member
May 19, 2008
60
7
Am confused by this thread. Are you saying you can only connect to 2.4 networks and cannot see 5ghz networks at all?? That normal only happens when a tablet physically does have a 5ghz radio.
 

E.Vogel

Member
Dec 27, 2013
39
16
The U.S version of the tablet does not support 5Ghz wi-fi.
We are assuming that there is only one variant of the tablet sold world wide (two actually LTE+wifi and wifi only),
and in order to comply with FCC requirements the 5Ghz wi-fi band was disabled by software and not hardware.
If that is the case than the band can be enabled back by flashing different non-U.S rom.
hopefully
 
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E.Vogel

Member
Dec 27, 2013
39
16
It is WORKING!

I downloaded the latest Chinese version using the tool @Slavon-93 linked, version BTV-W09C233B022 from December 16 2016. I flashed it and after restarting the tablet, I have a Chinese version tablet, with 5Ghz band wi-fi working.
I lost custom recovery and root and may reflash them later.
I got some apps back that I previously removed, but happily all my other apps were still installed and configured.
Thanks @Slavon-93 :D

p.s. I re-flashed TWRP and SU and now have custom recovery and root back
 
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jmjm003

Senior Member
Dec 29, 2012
70
35
Atlanta Ga
I downloaded the latest Chinese version using the tool @Slavon-93 linked, version BTV-W09C233B022 from December 16 2016. I flashed it and after restarting the tablet, I have a Chinese version tablet, with 5Ghz band wi-fi working.
I lost custom recovery and root and may reflash them later.
I got some apps back that I previously removed, but happily all my other apps were still installed and configured.
Thanks @Slavon-93 :D

p.s. I re-flashed TWRP and SU and now have custom recovery and root back

Can you select english as the language?
 

Slavon-93

Senior Member
Feb 28, 2011
150
45
Moscow
Those, who have a US tablet, could you please upload your entire /cust folder somewhere? If Chinese firmware is a solution, maybe there is something in /cust, that blocks 5GHz wifi? I wanna compare it to Chinese and Russian versions and maybe find something interesting.
 
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jmjm003

Senior Member
Dec 29, 2012
70
35
Atlanta Ga
@E.Vogel forgive me for being new to Huawei way of doing things. You said you flashed the Chinese ROM. Flashing makes me think of my Nexus 7 where I actually flashed the *.IMG files.
I downloaded the file you mentioned and I have update.app after extraction. I recall reading somewhere about creating a folder and transferring said file to device and restarting it. I'm curious if this is the route you took? I personally prefer fastboot flash but will have to do with what works. Thank you.
 

Slavon-93

Senior Member
Feb 28, 2011
150
45
Moscow
@E.Vogel forgive me for being new to Huawei way of doing things. You said you flashed the Chinese ROM. Flashing makes me think of my Nexus 7 where I actually flashed the *.IMG files.
I downloaded the file you mentioned and I have update.app after extraction. I recall reading somewhere about creating a folder and transferring said file to device and restarting it. I'm curious if this is the route you took? I personally prefer fastboot flash but will have to do with what works. Thank you.

Forgive me for not being @E.Vogel, but let me explain. Huawei devices are not usual in terms of partition structure. For example, they have 2 recoveries, designed for different things. For a Nexus owner their update structure is also strange. Once upon a time, you could create a "dload" folder in /sdcard or in external SD, choose local update in update utility on your device, select update.app or update.zip, reboot and watch the device updating. Now we don't have an option to choose a local update, so the quickest way to install FULL OTA is from TWRP. You just need to put update.zip (~1.8 Gb) somewhere in /sdcard or other place, reboot into TWRP, press the Install button and select this file. TWRP installs it and you get your Chinese firmware. I recommend to make a backup first, in case something goes wrong. After installing FULL OTA you still get your apps and settings in place, but after a factory reset, you will lose Google Play and other a Google apps, and will have to manually install them from HiApp. Also, you will have to reinstall TWRP, root, xposed and other things you probably have flashed before.
 
Last edited:

jmjm003

Senior Member
Dec 29, 2012
70
35
Atlanta Ga
I appreciate the reply all the same @Slavon-93. So creating the dload folder and dropping update.app in it no longer works?

I've not modified anything on my device other than fixing DPI so apps are in tablet mode.

Any idea what each recovery does since it has two of them?
I like to know there's a way out of a screwup if it happens. Nexus 7 was simple to fix.

Thank you.
 

Slavon-93

Senior Member
Feb 28, 2011
150
45
Moscow
I appreciate the reply all the same @Slavon-93. So creating the dload folder and dropping update.app in it no longer works?

I've not modified anything on my device other than fixing DPI so apps are in tablet mode.

Any idea what each recovery does since it has two of them?
I like to know there's a way out of a screwup if it happens. Nexus 7 was simple to fix.

Thank you.
Huawei devices have two recovery partitions: recovery and recovery2.
Recovery has generally all the same features a typical Nexus recovery has, except it doesn't have an option to apply update.zip and has a touch interface unlike the Nexus recovery.
Recovery2, called eRecovery, also has a touch interface and is designed to make a totally screwed up device great work again. It has a button to download full firmware and install it but on my device it said "No firmware found" after connecting to Huawei servers. People in Russian forum say it works only if you're in China and have a Chinese device. Anyway, if eRecovery does nothing, I considered it totally useless and replaced with TWRP: fastboot flash recovery2 twrp.img

Generally Huawei devices can be restored the same way a Nexus device can. TWRP and fastboot work the same. Personally I prefer to make a total backup of all partitions in device with "dd". I think it will give me more flexibility in restoring if something goes completely wrong. On DL09 model, only modem partitions are the problem. You can find fastboot versions of Chinese ROMS easily, but after installing them, I've lost everything related to phone functions. The only way to fix it was installing Full Chinese firmware in form of update.zip with TWRP.

And about dload folder. I have no idea how it works. I am also a former owner of Nexus 7 and the logic of Huawei is new to me, so I don't know some nuances. On earlier devices there was another option to update: you put update.app to dload folder, dial *#*#2846579#*#*, select Software upgrade -> SDCard Upgrade, the device reboots and installs the update. Again, on my device this trick didn't work and update installation stopped at 5%, saying it's incompatible with my device.
 
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E.Vogel

Member
Dec 27, 2013
39
16
@jmjm003, I also come from a nexus 7 and Huawei devices are different.
First of all there is no formal web site with all factory images and/or OTA to download, I had to use a tool an XDA user developed to find the factory image I needed.
The second change is that the factory image (file update.zip) does not contain *.img files inside like in Google images and contains "update.app" 1.8GB file and some other small files.

To flash the ROM I tried to use ADB sideload but got an error message about the file being unreadable, so I copied the file to the tablet and flashed it using TWRP install function like any other zip file.

@Slavon-93, my /cust/hw folder changed from before and now contains only two sub-folders "cn" and "default"
I uploaded the entire /cust folder to Google drive, use this link to download it.
 
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Slavon-93

Senior Member
Feb 28, 2011
150
45
Moscow
@Slavon-93, my /cust/hw folder changed from before and now contains only two sub-folders "cn" and "default"
I uploaded the entire /cust folder to Google drive, use this link to download it.
Thank you but I know what's inside Chinese /cust folder as I am using Chinese firmware myself. I am interested in untouched /cust of US version of tablet because I think there can be some option in local.prop or somewhere else, that blocks 5GHz Wi-Fi. I can try to look for it by comparing Russian, Chinese and US cust folders.
 

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  • 11
    Found it on the US tablet!

    Using Root Explorer I went to /cust_spec/system/etc/cfg_btv_wifi_only_hisi.ini

    band_5g_enable=0 change it to band_5g_enable=1

    Then restarted and I could see and connect to my 5Ghz network.

    So far it seems to work fine but we are talking minutes since I got it changed.
    @E.Vogel @Slavon-93
    2
    So the US-version of the Mediapad M3 does not support 5GHz Wifi as stated by Huawei and from my personal experience. Per Huawei's website:

    Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac at 2.4 GHz & 5 GHz (Products delivered to markets that impose FCC certification requirements do not support 802.11 a/ac at 5 GHz Wi-Fi)

    I can't help but think that the hardware is there as I have never heard of a mobile WiFi chip that ONLY supports 802.11 ac at 2.4 GHz. Therefore, is or will there be any way to unlock the 5 GHz band of the WiFi chip assuming the hardware is there?
    2
    CONFIRMED - (BTV-W09 working 5G USA variant Nougat)

    ...The file to turn on 5Ghz wifi is called "cfg_btv_hisi.ini" and is in the "cust_spec\vendor\etc" directory ... just change "band_5g_enable=0" to "band_5g_enable=1" ... save ... enabling the permission change to write and then reboot...

    I finally have my BTV-W09 working exactly how I want it:
    • TWRP
    • Magisk 20.3
    • EMUI disabled
    • Nova Launcher working as default
    • Bluetooth working (formerly disabled with NRD90M test keys ROM)
    • ... and now, 5G WiFi working, also!
    ...So, I wanted to just take a second to confirm that the location provided by @johje for USA BTV-W09 (I'm currently on W09C128B356) is exactly where I found the 5G enabler tag.
    However, that location listed above is actually a shortcut.

    The ACTUAL LOCATION for a BTV-W09,
    running stock EMUI, 5.0.3 (Android 7.0), is here:
    "/version/special_cust/BTV-W09/hw/usa/vendor/etc/cfg_btv_hisi.ini"

    As mentioned above, change the "band_5g_enable=0" to "band_5g_enable=1" with a text editor, and reboot.

    *Remember* you HAVE to have root for this to work. See other write-ups in XDA-Developers website for how-to's.
    2
    I uploaded my original U.S. version /cust folder. I took it from the nandroid backup I did before flashing the Chinese ROM.
    Link
    use 7zip to open the file
    2
    It is WORKING!

    I downloaded the latest Chinese version using the tool @Slavon-93 linked, version BTV-W09C233B022 from December 16 2016. I flashed it and after restarting the tablet, I have a Chinese version tablet, with 5Ghz band wi-fi working.
    I lost custom recovery and root and may reflash them later.
    I got some apps back that I previously removed, but happily all my other apps were still installed and configured.
    Thanks @Slavon-93 :D

    p.s. I re-flashed TWRP and SU and now have custom recovery and root back