Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks

Using Sprint EVDO on the Fringe!

Posted by geeknews at 9:36 PM on September 5, 2006

My moms house is 13 miles from the closest town were most of the major cellular services work. My mom business uses Verizon Wireless phones which is the only service that works reliably here at the house. I have a T-Mobile and Sprint cell phone in my pocket and neither of them even register a single bar of signal level. In order to get my VoiceMail I have to dial in via a land line or go to the second floor of the house and hang out a window.

Yesterday on a whim I plugged in my Sprint EVDO card into my computer and tried connecting to the sprint wireless network, even though their was no signal on the card it connected. I about fell out of my chair. Well it turns out that if I sit at the kitchen table which is next to a window the PCMCIA card will connect to sprint. I am getting transfer speeds that are a little slower than dial up.

To give you a idea my moms home is on a dirt road and will likely never get broadband via cable I doubt ADSL service will ever be available as well. This has made me realize that someday when Sprint and Verizon get their act together and get 3G or next gen wireless broadband speeds deployed to rural areas via their cell towers people like my mom will be able to get connectivity.

I have always told my parents that I would love to live in this area, we have land to build on but with no broadband there is no way I could operate my business. There is a huge untapped market of people here that are stuck on dial up in a broadband world.

Honestly I am pretty shocked that my EVDO service with Sprint works at this point even though it is at dial up speeds. The Samsung Sprint cell phone I am reviewing has no signal at all. I suspect if I stood on the roof I might get a signal with the handset. It is obvious that the antenna on the PCMCIA card is better.

I should have brought my wireless router that I can plug my EVDO card into as I would have tied it down on top of my dads 3 story barn to get a better line of site connection. Hey Sprint I would be happy to give you some land to put a tower up here at my moms place if you will give her free 3G broadband access as long as you have a tower here. Until then I guess I will have to deal with less than dial up speeds.

4 Comments

  1. From scrantic at 5:31 am on September 6, 2006

    Sounds simialr to much of Australias regional areas. We have been fortunate with the deployment and subsidisation from the australian goverment of wifi and satelite services to these areas providing near broadband access speeds but obviously the latency can be a bit painful at times.

    Over the next 12 months 3g is supposed to be rolled out Autralia wide which should be a winner for some of these people but data rates with these services dont seem to be an affordable replacement to conventional adsl-cable services.

    Companyies are rolling out wireless services but generaly only coverage is based for roaming users central to city/suburbs.

    When WiMax starts to take some ground it should be good though.

  2. From tinfoil at 2:50 pm on September 6, 2006

    Have you thought of a long-shot 802.11b/g? I friend of mine has a setup that is going roughly 10km using, I am guessing, less than CDN$600 worth of equipment, not counting towers as they were pre-existing.

  3. From Landincoldfire at 12:25 am on September 7, 2006

    I’m like you Todd; When I look for new places to live, I make sure there is some type of high speed internet. Otherwise I will keep looking, it’s getting to the point that not having fast internet can really hinder your life.

  4. From RF Engineer at 5:30 pm on September 7, 2006

    Actully the reason you can receive a signal for EVDO is because the Channel runs at 16 Watts all the time. In contrast the voice channel Pilot only runs at 2.4 Watts (The Pilot is what allows the mobile to know they will get service). This is a difference of 8 dB of power. With out getting in to the engineering difference between 3G1X voice channel and EVDO channel this is why you can recieve the signal not because the EVDO card has a better antenna. FYI with line of site back to a tower the limit of 1900Mhz voice traffic on a Lucent CDMA system is around 12 to 13 miles. I am a RF consultant to the major carriers and work these issues daily. Hope you found this of use….