Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sprint AirCard 595U USB Rev A From Sprint Shipping

Sprint Ships Sierra AirCard 595U USB Rev A Modem

As we reported last month from the CTIA show, the AirCard 595U is now shipping from Sprint. This is the second USB modem to ship from Sprint (the first was the Ovation U720). We will be benchmarking the 595U this week and report on it on EVDOinfo.com. The AirCard 595U also includes a built-in antenna port, BUT we have heard it is NOT the same connector as the AirCard 595 PCMCIA (more on the AC595U antenna port)

This modem has the following features:
  • Includes USB cradle
  • Includes built-in rechargeable battery (used to give additional power when in weaker signal areas, previous USB modems used a USB Y Cable)
  • Built-in GPS (U720 also has GPS, first Sierra modem to support GPS)
  • antenna port for external antennas and amplifiers
  • Mac drivers from Sierra (purchase from 3Gstore.com for free support and Mac CD)

To get the latest info, visit our EVDOforums.com discussion on the AirCard 595U.


Related Articles:

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Update Verizon Firmware by 07/15/2007 to avoid service interruption

Update Verizon Firmware by 07/15/2007 to avoid EVDO service interruption

Verizon Wireless is sending out a large postcard to existing customers letting them know that if they don't upgrade the firmware of specific EVDO devices, their service may stop working on 07/15/2007.

This affects the following devices:

  • Kyocera KPC650 - Requires firmware CG 1.0.06
  • Verizon Wireless V620 - Requires Version M6500 C-BBIRD_VZW_PCCARD-40306.156
    -OR- Version M6500C-BBIRD-40304.135
  • Verizon Wireless XV6600 phone
Don't be alarmed this usually only affects data cards purchased before 12/31/2005. If you purchased a KPC650 from us before 12/31/2005 and use your KPC650 in a Mac or Router and you do not have access to a Windows computer to do the firmware upgrade - we offer a mail-in upgrade to perform the upgrade for you.

Related Links:


Saturday, April 14, 2007

LinkSys WRT54G3G-ST Support Issues

LinkSys WRT54G3G-ST And Sprint (lack of) Support

This isn't a very fun blog entry to write :(

We are writing about a current support problem with the LinkSys WRT54G3G-ST that is brewing.

We run the LinkSys Mobile 3G Support Forums at EVDOforums.com and we also sell a bunch of these routers at 3Gstore.com. We have been very happy and our customers have too. BUT, there have been a few issues with a few of the routers, such as, power adapter not working, known good card not getting power in router, and maybe a couple more issues. Don't get alarmed, 98.5% of the routers are working great - no problems.

But there is a problem. Who provides support?

If you call LinkSys/Cisco, they will tell you that the WRT54G3G-ST is a Sprint router. Of course, it is a LinkSys router, BUT they tell us the contract with Sprint indicates that only Sprint can support these. When we call Sprint for support - all they offer is, "If you are within 30 days, you can return it for a refund". We don't want to return it, we want support and support for our customers.

What happens in the future, if a LinkSys router fails? What happens if there is a failed firmware? You guys have a great router, BUT the support sucks.

Enough of the finger pointing. We need a support path and so do all the WRT54G3G customers. We have been in touch with people who have been able to help us, but it is "not official" and there really needs to be a better solution.

So, Cisco and Sprint - get it figured out and soon.

Look to Kyocera as a model for support. After our tech guys determine there is a problem (sometimes spending an hour on the phone), we are able to arrange for a warranty exchange directly, it works!

Discuss this blog post on EVDOforums (or check on the latest info on WRT54G3G-ST support)

A Note From a Happy 3Gstore Customer:)

A Letter From A Satisfied 3GStore.com Customer


April 13, 2007, 06:25 PM
Subject: Thank you

Hi,
If you check my email address, you will see that I have been talking to you back and forth for the last 2 weeks about being able to receive Sprint PCS EVDO at my new Greenville, Ohio home which is WAY out in the boonies. If you recall, I live about 1/4 mile away from an Orange area on the EVDO map and wondered if this service with antenna, amp, etc. would work for me.

Every question I asked, you replied to in a timely fashion and most importantly, you DO know what the hell you are talking about!!! You said, "if anything, those maps are conservative and usually a 1/4 mile is nothing."

You were so right.

I bought the whole enchilada from you:

I bought the Sierra Aircard 595 and 2 years Sprint service.
I bought the Omni antenna
I bought the Amp
I bought the Linksys wireless router (WRT54G3G-ST wow is this nice)
I bought the 5.5 DB upgrade antenna for the router
I bought 15 feet extension cable.

Today I got it all hooked up properly, antenna on the roof to amp inside to router and aircard. Setup was WAY easier than I expected and the end result was 4 BARS !! Four bars in an area with NO bars (or maybe 1/2 a bar if I lean just the right way..this was checked prior to putting the Sprint card into the router)

EVDO service, broadband speed and my own wireless hotspot that to my surprise covers all 5000 square feet of the house, garage and basement! I can even roam around the yard a little bit.

This router is simply amazing! I can't believe the range it has.
Is that a new thing? Seems my old router I have for my old broadband really starts to peter out if you go into the next room but this new Linksys you guys sold me seems just as strong at one end of my house as the other! Amazing! Linksys says they have a 'N' model with even more range and 12X speedmark and 4X rangemark....do you plan on selling it 'cause I might be interested! Cool

In fact everything you guys sold me was amazing (can you tell I am a happy customer?) and it turns out I needed each and every item.

My only other options out here were dialup or satellite.

Neither worth even having the internet IMHO. I would rather pluck my eyes out!

Thank you so much, I am 100% happy after day 1 in full operation.
As long as Sprint doesn't start limiting bandwidth like Verizon, I think I will remain a happy customer for years to come!

You guys rule!

Jim Cantrell


BTW, one point of this customer's note, is that the EVDO Maps are usually conservative. It is a good idea to base you decision on the maps, but talk to the EVDO Experts before ordering :)

Monday, April 09, 2007

3Gstore helps Customers Use GPS from EVDO Cards

Did you know that your cool new Sprint EVDO device may also serve as a real GPS device that can be used by software programs such as Google Earth or Microsoft's Streets and Trips?

As of April 10, 2007, the following Sprint cards support built-in GPS:


The green icon on the above map is our actual location, using the built-in GPS of the Merlin S720 and Streets and Trips.

If you are an RV'r, trucker or spend a lot of time in you car, take family vacations or always getting lost, you really should consider a Sprint EVDO card with built-in GPS. Not only will you get internet access while on the road - but you will also get real-time mapping and directions without purchasing any additional equipment.

Customer's who purchase their Sprint card from 3Gstore.com are entitled to this free pdf that explains how to use the built-in GPS with both Google Earth and Streets and Trips.

Related Articles:

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Sprint Connection Cards and Vista - April Update

Vista and EVDO - Still Issues (but getting better)

We wrote an article called Sprint EVDO Mobile Broadband and Vista last month and this article is an update to what is new with EVDO and Vista.

Here is a call that we just took (hint, we get many of these calls)

caller: I purchased a mobile broadband card from a Sprint store. They told me it would work with Vista. I couldn't get it to work. I called Sprint Tech Support and they didn't have a clue.

us: Let me guess, you got the Pantech PX-500

caller: yes

us: Well, the PX-500 doesn't have Vista drivers available yet.

caller: yes, I saw that on your web site. I wish I would have contacted you first.

us: Yes, you would have saved time and also, for Vista users, we pre-activate the card and include a CD with the latest Vista software.

So, we talked about the different cards. The caller agreed to return his card and cancel the service and get everything from us, for the same price, but now he gets to call us for tech support - if needed. Also, he gets discounts on any antennas, amplifiers or routers that he may need too :)

Update as of April 4, 2007:

Sprint has recently released drivers for Novatel S720, U720, EX720 (32 bit vista) and AirCard 595 32bit and 64bit. Still no drivers for Pantech PX-500.

When ordering your Sprint Mobile Broadband Card from 3Gstore.com, be sure to select "Pre-Activate for Vista" and we will do the following:
  • Pre-Activate the device
  • Update the Firmware (required by 4/30/07)
  • Update the PRL to the latest
  • Test Device
  • Added CD with Latest Sprint Vista Connection Managers

For the latest, see:

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Kyocera KRT Router

We are hoping that Kyocera will take their extremely popular Kyocera KR1 Router, and shrink it down and make it small and portable. Something like the Airport Express that Apple has.

There are many people that want something they can travel with, throw in their briefcase and when they get to their destination, quickly and easily have a hotspot without having to pay for WiFi.

The Kyocera KRT would stand for Kyocera Router Travel. Imagine the possibilities :)

Kyocera, please make a KRT, many people are asking for one and if it was available, you could sell a whole bunch!


Novatel U720 USB720 Why Its So Big

We spoke with Novatel last week at the CTIA show and they told us they wanted to come out to market as fast as possible with the first EVDO USB Rev A Modem, so they had a short time for development.

Our tech guys decided to see what was in the Sprint Merlin U720 and Verizon USB720 (same Novatel USB Modem) and why it was so large.

Apparently, Novatel developed a single PCI Express Mini Card (the same one that is used embedded in laptops) and put a case around it and add a USB port and you have the Novatel U720/USB720.

Here are the pictures.

[Per Novatel Request - Image has been Removed]

We have a discussion on the inside of the Novatel 720 on EVDOforums.com. I am sure that users that discover what is inside, will try plugging the embedded E720 in other laptops and devices. Maybe a bunch of hobbyists will start ripping apart their Novatel USB modems and putting the insides in all kinds of cool devices. Time will tell.

Disclaimer - this will void your warranty - so it may not be a good idea to take yours apart.

Ordering Links:

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Laptops with Embedded EVDO - Good or Bad?

Some of the newer Sony, Dells, HPs and others are now including embedded EVDO as an option. On the surface, this sounds like a good idea.

But, what are the Pros & Cons of having EVDO embedded (built-in) or as an addon via PCMCIA, ExpressCard or USB?

Pros
  • No need to insert a card, mobile broadband always available
  • Nothing to lose or damage, it is built-in
Cons
  • Horrible Support (read below)
  • No option for external antennas
  • No options for external amplifiers
  • Hard / impossible to upgrade
  • If you upgrade the laptop to one without embedded EVDO, you have to pay retail for new EVDO card
  • Adds to cost of initial laptop purchase (no they are not free)
  • Firmware updates / Connection Manager updates from Manufacturer NOT carrier
More on Support:

I purchased a Sony TX model with embedded EVDO Rev A when it first came out (first laptop that had embedded Rev A EVDO). After we received the first one, it was working for a few days and then we started having connection problems with our Sony TX10. I decided to recover and reformat the hard drive and that DIDN'T help, the once working internal EVDO modem stopped working. I returned the unit and got a second unit.

I got the second unit working quickly and all was well. When I started having connection problems, I decided to do what is called a ##RTN which is a trick to reset the modem back to factory settings (I did this on the first unit too). Once again, we reformatted and recovered back to factory and still, we couldn' t use the embedded EVDO device. The device would show signal strength, BUT wouldn't connect. I knew the account was OK, because it was previously working. I just got a
"Unable to update device" .

Now, here is where the "fun" begins.

Embedded EVDO modems are a lot like illegitimate children. When I called Sprint, they told me that they didn't provide support for embedded devices, we would have to call the manufacturer. When we call Sony, do you think they have a lot of people on staff that know the internal workings of the embedded EVDO devices? Nope! So, now we get into a finger pointing contest. Bottom line, the embedded EVDO device is not working, so I reverted to using my trusty EVDO cards from Sprint and Verizon, those always work.

Now, since we are a Sprint Master Agent, and we have a lot of contacts at Sprint, I decided to see what we can find out. According to contacts within Sprint Tech Support, they confirm that if you do the ##RTN trick to reset the modem, you can actually damage the modem and you are unable to use it any more. OUCH! Here is what we found out:

"Novatel had an issue with their pre-production 720's that caused IOTA to consistently fail after the module is refurbed using ##RTN, which sounds like what is happening here. The fix was to send the modules back to Novatel..."

I wonder how many people of embedded laptops will have the same fate? Was this a problem only with the first batch of units or is this still a problem with the current shipping units?

If you are considering getting a laptop with embedded EVDO, you might want to consider an EVDO PCMCIA, ExpressCard or USB mobile broadband device.

So... Sony, Sprint or Novatel, how can I get a replacement for my embedded EVDO modem?