The GPHWStatus Hack for the WWAN 5520 on a Dell D830

I just got a new (old) WWAN 5520 3G/UMTS card/modem for my Dell D830. Eventually, the card did not work out of the box without a hack. In the following  I will show what you need to do, if you want to get the card running in your Dell D830 (or maybe also any other older Dell Latitude or XPS machines).

WWAN 5520 First you need the card of course. Your Dell Latitude D830 (and many other older Dells) already has an empty slot for this card. Opening the cover (i.e. removing the keyboard) will reveal the slot for the card on the lower left of the case. The antenna cables should be already there, probably with a small protection on their end. It took me a few moments to realize which cable to plug where. One is marked white and the other is marked black, and the connectors show a large white and black arrow (actually, this was so obvious that I haven’t realized this right away).

Plug it in, close the lid and turn the computer on again (hopefully you did shut it down before). After starting Windows (if you read this blog you know we area talking about Windows 7 64-bit), Windows Update will take over – or at least it will try and glorious fail in finding any drivers.

Driver Software Installation

Never give up, never surrender as we are talking about Dell here. And as I learned recently about the missing touchpad driver, there might be a driver for everything else as well. Once again we go for a 64-bit driver for Windows Vista. In this case the Wireless Mobile Broadband MiniCard driver for Windows Vista 64-bit will do the job.


At Dell’s download site for communication drivers, there is a whole bunch of carrier specific drivers (Vodafone, Cingular, Telus and other carriers, I have never heard about before). It is not related to any carrier, so ignore anything with a carrier name in it.  Just to be sure, the driver we are looking for here is R159896.EXE.

The SIM card lives directly in the battery slot as you can see at Dell’s D830 Service Manual. Make sure the cut off corner goes the correct orientation and if you are using a contact (pay monthly) card, make sure the card is protected by a PIN. The battery slot is not secured, and if you don’t watch your laptop all the time… well, you never know. Maybe worth to know, the SIM in your Dell does not support hot-swapping, i.e. unlike e.g. the iPhone 3GS, you have to shut down your laptop before you insert the card.

Once built in, installed and inserted every bits and pieces, the Dell Mobile Broadband Card Utility will let you know:

No Service
SIM Not Found – Check Orientation

No, don’t turn off the laptop again, the orientation probably is right. There is a (not so obvious) solution to that.

No Service

Start the Registry Editor (regedit.exe) and navigate to

ComputerHK_LOKAL_MACHINESOFTWAREWow6432NodeNovatel WirelessNextGenCommon

and change GPSHWStatus to 1. This means, the GPS chip on the card gets activated. For whatever reason, the chip is deactivated by the Dell drivers by default. However, if you activate the GPS chip, the entire card will be activated. It might be interesting to dig a bit deeper here, but for now it’s enough to know that it works.

GPSHWStatus Hack

Either reboot, or just quite and start the Broadband Card Utility again.


By applying this GPHWStatus hack, not only the 3G card/model will now work, also the GPS hardware will be enabled and should available from the tool.


  1. Uibi


    Tanks. worked like a charm

    just killed pheonix.exe after changing reg value then restarted the program and it worked.

    aswome guide!

  2. Ammar


    mate you are Genious, you really made me happy

    after i followed your instructions it worked!!

    thanks a millione

  3. Reply

    Any thing that will auto-turn-on the GPS on a Dell/Novatel DW5802 verizon card would be very appriciated, thanks

  4. kai


    Get PuTTy, connect to com7 (or whichever com port your DW580x is connected to), then paste in the following:


    If you get ‘OK’, you should be in business.

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