I have a Verizon mobile wireless adapter built into my Dell Latitude D630. I pay sixty bucks a month so I can connect to a reasonably fast EVDO broadband connection from just about anywhere. It’s becoming a standard accessory for business travellers who don’t want to hassle with conventional wireless.

A few days ago, there was a lengthy delay when I clicked the Connect button – “wait while your equipment is updated,” something like that.

It stopped working after that, although I didn’t recognize the coincidence for a while. I just knew that this error message came up when I tried to connect.


Here we go again!

  • I logged onto the Verizon Wireless web site and confirmed that the account was active and unchanged. The wireless modems have phone numbers associated with them for billing – in the Dell “Mobile Broadband Card Utility” software, click on File / Device Properties to see the phone number.
  • Dell distributes the software on the Drivers page for its notebooks, under Communications. I downloaded an updated version and tried to install it. Nope – “the version on your computer is newer.” Nuh uh! <sigh> Uninstall the existing software, restart, install the downloaded software, restart. No change.
  • Could another change have killed things? I was testing some VPN software that made me suspicious. I had used System Restore to create a restore point just before I put on that VPN software, so let’s roll back to that restore point, when the Verizon card was still working. Hmm. Now the Dell Mobile Broadband software is stuck thinking it’s partially installed. Okay, one more time – uninstall the Dell software, restart, reinstall, restart.
  • No change.
  • Big sigh.

Finally, too late, I google “RAS Error 691” and “Error QA920.” There are a few frustrated souls out there, with the longest discussion on this page, describing people’s miserable experiences with Verizon technical support. It looks like Verizon needs to reset the account, which takes only a couple of minutes after a tech support rep becomes convinced it’s necessary.

It’s midnight, so tech support isn’t answering, and frankly I’m none too excited by the prospect of that conversation.

vzaccess2One of the tips on that page catches my eye – a way to force the device to be re-activated in Verizon’s system.

  • Log back in to Verizon Wireless web site, go to the page for the device, and find “Activate Phone.”
  • On the next screen, click on “Activate Equipment.”
  • On the next screen, pick the phone number assigned to the line and type in a new ESN, one digit different than the correct one. (The ESN is the unique number assigned to the device. In the Dell software, it’s also under File / Device Properties.)
  • Wait ten minutes.
  • Go back and put in the correct ESN. Wait ten minutes.

Push the Connect button and, Voila! Simple as that, the modem connects again.

If the guesses are right in the forum posts, the firmware upgrade kills the device for some people. I’m not aware of any way to avoid the “upgrades” – they seem to happen randomly when I try to connect.

What a pain!

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