Enable PC/SC support for Dell Contactless Reader

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Select Dell Latitude and Precision systems comes with an embedded contactless smart card reader. Out of the box, this reader is not PC/SC enabled. The contactless reader is only available through the CV chipset (Dell Credentials Vault), meaning that it will only work in PBA (Pre Boot Authentication), and when enrolling a contactless card through the Dell supported software (EmbassySuite/ControlPoint).

PC/SC support means that you can use this reader in your own and third-party programs, by using the standard PC/SC smartcard API. I have contacted Dell about PC/SC support for the contactless reader, but they could not provide me with any information (they barely knew what PC/SC was). After some frustration, I started searching through the installed files (Broadcom/Wave Systems), and I finally found the solution.

There is a utility called “ushradiomode64.exe” in the folder “c:\Program Files\Broadcom Corporation\Broadcom USH Host Components\CV\bin”. This utility takes 1 parameter, namely the operation mode of the Contactless Reader Radio:

Example to Enable CV Only Radio Mode:
ushradiomode -c
Example to Enable Normal Radio Mode:
ushradiomode -n

“CV Only Radio Mode” is the default mode, and in this mode the reader is only available to the CV/PBA. In “Normal Radio Mode”, the reader becomes visible in Device Manager, and can be found when enumerating the PC/SC terminals attached to the system. Here is how you enable “normal” mode (meaning that the reader will now become listed under “Smart card readers” in Device Manager):

  1. Make sure you have installed the latest version of the “Dell ControlPoint Security Device Driver Pack” from http://support.dell.com. (Latest version as of 2009-10-09 is v1.1.30 A07)

2. Open the command prompt (cmd)

3. Type the following 2 commands:

cd c:\Program Files\Broadcom Corporation\Broadcom USH Host Components\CV\bin ushradiomode64.exe -n

4.  Reboot (to make windows load the PC/SC driver)
When the system starts up again, check Device Manager and confirm that there are now 2 entries under “Smart card readers”, both called “USB Smart Card Reader”. (1 for the Contactless and 1 for the Contacted smartcard reader).
(Personally tested on E6410 from 2010 on Windows 8.1)

Original article on a blog.

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