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  1.    #1  
    A few questions:

    Is surfing on my laptop going to be faster with a Sprint wireless air card oe with pdanet & usb cable?

    WHich card is fastest (merlin CT01, Sierra Aircard550 or Sierra PC3300)?

    If I buy a card outside of Sprint (ebay), can I just plug it in myself & program & activate (just using all the vision info from my Treo) it without calling Sprint thereby avoiding the high monthly fee of surfing with a card?
    Can this be hacked?

    Is this connection fast enough for voip?
    Last edited by treoneo; 03/11/2005 at 10:30 AM.
  2. ehosey2's Avatar
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    #2  
    Here is my take. I use a Merlin C201 PCS Connection Card and have been for the last 16 months. Honestly, your best bet is to get it from a Sprint store as you will get it for a reasonable price after instant rebate. Back then it cost me 149.99 with free activation since I had an account already so it shows up as a new phone number on my account. Decline the option to use the laptop card to enable voice calling from it since it cost 20 cents per minute.

    As far as speeds, if using a bluetooth connection, it will be pretty slow. You won't be happy. Using PDA Net will yield speeds as fast as your phone processor allows in addition to your signal strength the phone receives. The speed of the laptop card will vary with signal strength, but with 4 out the 5 bars it shows, I get basically DSL speeds.....yes, I do.....the latency speed is really good. The external antenna on the laptop card does a good job at picking up the signal. I am happy enough with the speed that I have dropped the home cable broadband connection. Yes, there is the sacrifice such as not receiving streaming video without several rebufferings occuring but for now, since Sprint gave me unlimited data use for $100.00 a month, I am happy. BTW, I am not a business customer either as usually the unlimited data plan for laptops is only for business accounts. Dropping my home connection saves me $40.00 a month and I have true mobile internet everywhere I go. Try to get unlimited as you will be suprised at how much data use occurs in a short period of time and will find out that the consumer 300 mb. plan is not enough.

    I can't comment on VOIP but I bet when EVDO is launched, there might be a way to use it, and as far as hacking the card, I don't know.
  3.    #3  
    wow fast as dsl?! that's crazy. I saw that top speeds for these cards is around 152k. hmmm. well it sounds like speed wise voip might work. but if signal goes in & out your connection speed may vary thereby possibly affecting voip latency. these cards are going on ebay for around $30 though! forget buying it from Sprint. did you call & activate it just like a cell phone? also if you are connected to latop with your air card, can you still make calls & even surf via wireless web on your Sprint phone?
  4. ehosey2's Avatar
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    #4  
    I bought my card directly from the Sprint store and was glad I did. After 1 week, the card would show it being connected with the duration of use and bytes received, yet I was unable to connect to any web page. It turned out that I actually had a bad card....kid you not. The Sprint store checked it and agreed and with no complaint they promptly issued me a new one, activated it in the store, and have not had any hardware issues since. So buyer beware if purchasing from ebay. BTW, just to let you know if the network is down, it will sometimes affect the card from working or sometimes the opposite with the phone not working but the card still able to connect. I don't know why though. And yes, the word is " basically " as speeds do vary with signal strength, latency, and your processor speed in the laptop, but that is usually an obvious point.
  5. ehosey2's Avatar
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    #5  
    I forgot to answer your last questions about using the air card and using your phone at the same time. The air card has a separate phone number. That means you can use your laptop on the web and at the same time, make phone calls on your Treo, or even be in a text message session all at the same time. I can be on Treocentral.com on my laptop and talk on my 650 because like I said, separate numbers.
  6.    #6  
    So separate numbers? Do you mean a separate phone number? Do they actually issue a new number or second line? Because I know you can use some of these cards to make calls. So someone can call you on either the air card number or your Treo number? Or do they both ring? I'm a little confused
  7. ehosey2's Avatar
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    #7  
    Okay, to clear any confusion. I have a phone number dedicated for my Treo 650. This is the primary phone number on my account. I have a " phone " number dedicated for my laptop air card. This is a second number on my account. I do not use the air card for phone call utilization, even though the card allows a user to do that.....kinda like VOIP.....adding a headset and microphone allows phone capabilities using the air card connecting the laptop to the internet. But, this is advertised at 20 cents per minute, if not more depending on the destination of the call. As I have not done this, I can't comment on receiving calls when using the air card / laptop setup.

    As far as your question on what rings when receiving a call, if my 650 rings then it is just that. The air card has no bearing on what happens with my 650. They are technically and physically two separate lines. So then you could use the 650 with your included minutes, and then spend the minimum of 20 cents per minute using the air card. I only use my air card for connecting to the internet as this gives me true mobile internet anywhere I go, and I don't pay another ISP for home internet access.

    I hope any confusion has been cleared up and if there are any more thoughts or questions, let me know.
  8.    #8  
    ehosey that was a perect explanation! So technically you could give out this air card phone number & people could call you on it? If you don't answer does it go to voicemail? Or is this second line "limited" in a sense as far as the voice capability is concerned. Damn that sucks. I thought I could buy one from Ebay for around $30, then just "hack" it up myself without calling Sprint to activate it. I thought it was data only & I could just program it with the info from my Treo. So basically you call Sprint & they activate it like a cell phone? They give you a msl to do it? Hmmm. maybe I could bypass Sprint...
  9. ehosey2's Avatar
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    #9  
    In order to activate the air card to work on the Sprint PCS network, there are two codes that identify the hardware. There is the ESN HEX number and the ESN DEC number. These are located on the back of the card. I guess it is the same procedure as activating a new cell phone. With the air card, provide the hardware type, identify the ESN's, and after the CD-rom that is also included with the air card....yep, if you buy off ebay make sure the CD-rom is included....then there are special codes a Sprint tech will provide you to input upon installation. Then the username and password is created for your air card. Once completed, restart your laptop and it should work.

    Another thing to know about is this. In order to keep track of data use in a billing cycle, it is NOT POSSIBLE to check your current useage online. In order to find out, a call to Sprint customer care is required to get an estimate of data use. It is something I have asked numerous times when a fix will be created for users to get online to check and the same answer I receive is that they don't know and that they apologize. As I previously mentioned, data use is unpredictable and I am sure that many people have been caught off guard as their use has been exceeded, creating very high data bills. I have been using the air card for 16 months now. I had the 300mb. per month data plan for $80.00 and after I dropped by home ISP and used the air card only, I had an ugly overage of 47 mb. on top of the 300 mb. included in the plan, which I called the retention department and told them I wanted the unlimited data plan or I was cancelling and going to Verizon and using their data card. Retention said that even though I didn't have a business account, I was being upgraded to the business unlimited data plan for $100.00 per month. The overage was cancelled and I now have unlimited data anywhere I go. I also don't worry about having to check my useage anymore. This was instance I have to say Sprint made me very happy.

    And one more warning. If you buy an air card off ebay, it is treated just like a cell phone when trying to activate it. If the card has an unpaid balance from the previous user, no activation will occur until that previous balance is paid in full. So buyer beware. Hope this helps. Thanks.
  10. #10  
    I've been using a Verizon Aircard for over a year now - I did a latency speed comparison between that and the T600 PDANet on Sprint here:

    http://discussion.treocentral.com/sh...erizon+aircard

    My opinion is in general the Aircard and PDANet are similar (no surprise there, as it's essentially the same technology) - both are only marginally better than a 56K dialup for web surfing (the latency is still high), but both are definitely better for downloading files, downloading email in the background, etc.
  11. ehosey2's Avatar
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    #11  
    The speeds I am receiving on my Merlin C201 air card are on average significantly faster ta\han a 56
  12. ehosey2's Avatar
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    #12  
    Sorry, I got distracted and hit the wrong button. Let me try again. The speeds I receive on my air card are significantly faster than a 56 K modem. It is basically about as fast as a DSL connection. Network load, signal strength, etc. etc. all determine the speed obviously. I had broadband but was satisfied enough with the speed of the air card I dumped the home ISP. I am able to receive streaming video with a few rebufferings with my air card...and yeah....it still isn't broadband, but EVDO is coming.
  13. #13  
    There is no way 1xRTT can be as fast as 1mbps or even 384kbps DSL. Maybe EV-DO, but not RTT.
  14. ehosey2's Avatar
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    #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by worker4youth
    There is no way 1xRTT can be as fast as 1mbps or even 384kbps DSL. Maybe EV-DO, but not RTT.
    The words that were used to describe in the previous posts about the speed of the Merlin C201 for use on the Sprint PCS Vision Network was " basically DSL " speeds. I have been using this long enough to know it holds its own against a Verizon Wireless home DSL connection as was put in an " unofficial test. " I loaded web pages on my laptop using my 802.11b centrino connection and the DSL connected via a Linksy wireless router Then I loaded the same pages using the air card. I will say " unscientifically " that the air card was almost as fast as the DSL connection.

    No way you say ? Think of the variables posted previously. Network load, signal strength, processor speed, and latency. Latency is a big one because when rendering the web pages on the upload, the minimal latency is where the speeds help make the pages appear relatively fast. I have used some wireless routers before where trying to upload pages seemed to take a bit longer because of their inefficient latency speeds.

    There have been previous speed tests performed by tech publications comparing different air cards from Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, etc. using 1xRTT. The Sprint card using 1XRTT was fastest of all. The word used alot in those tests also was latency, and it was stated the Sprint PCS air card was very efficient and speedy at rendering web pages.

    So it does come down to this thought. Theroretically, the numbers would indicate one thing but the real world use is another. I know an air card is not better than broadband when it comes to streaming video and heavy data content, but it is the best solution and faster than any other alternatives ( pda net, bluetooth, etc. ) for now until Sprints EVDO is launched hopefully in the next several months. Thankyou.
  15. #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by ehosey2
    I was being upgraded to the business unlimited data plan for $100.00 per month. The overage was cancelled and I now have unlimited data anywhere I go. I also don't worry about having to check my useage anymore. This was instance I have to say Sprint made me very happy.
    YIKES!!! I'm sorry but $100 bucks a month just for unlimited wirelsss is just waaaaay to much for me... especially just for 1xrtt. In comparision, you could just buy a gsm/gprs aircard off ebay and then get an unlimited data plan from Tmobile for only $20/month. GPRS is slower than 1xrtt, but it would also be one-tenth the price for unlimited data!!
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  16. ehosey2's Avatar
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    #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by gfunkmagic
    YIKES!!! I'm sorry but $100 bucks a month just for unlimited wirelsss is just waaaaay to much for me... especially just for 1xrtt. In comparision, you could just buy a gsm/gprs aircard off ebay and then get an unlimited data plan from Tmobile for only $20/month. GPRS is slower than 1xrtt, but it would also be one-tenth the price for unlimited data!!
    Yeah, I know. It does seem to cost alot. But for me, I was not getting enough use out of my home ISP to justify the expense of two connections. My job has me at a fire station for 24 hours at a time and when there is down time, I use my laptop to be online for various reasons. I am also a superviser for the local ocean rescue beach service, so even more time away from home, not to mention the travelling I do. So, spending $40.00 a month for a home ISP was becoming a waste and the phrase " time is money " is going to be used here because.......my goodness !.........T-Mobile for $20.00 a month if you have an existing phone account, $30.00 if not and please correct me if I am wrong here, but the time I would sit and sit just to wait for a web page to load would be unacceptable in my opinion. I use Sprint PCS anyway so T-Mobile is not an option. So I feel that with my money, I get unlimited anywhere I go and with only 1 bill. And when EVDO is launched eventually, hopefuly the pricing plans will be a bit better too.
  17. #17  
    I pay 60 for unlimited Vision on my aircard and yes there is a big difference between surfing on your card and on your phone. Just for comparison: I can stream 96K launchcast streams 100% of the time with no buffering and 128K streams if I have a full signal. The Treo 650 has trouble streaming anything over 48 or 56K on shoutcast.com. My 384K DSL would have troubles doing the 128K streams for some reason and everytime I called SBC and complained they would tell me that network traffic and distance to "hub" would affect my performance but they would never give me a solution. I think that for surfing pages the difference is not too bad between basic DSL and Vision on the card but for downloads such as files or music there will be a significant difference. Sprint's data compression has a lot to do with surfing pages seeming fast. If it wasn't for this they would be very slow.
    Last edited by xchpstang; 03/14/2005 at 11:06 AM. Reason: adding something
  18. ehosey2's Avatar
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    #18  
    Thank you for providing another view of using an air card for your laptop. Excellent points about the DSL experience and streaming music and downloading of content. In my opinion, it just isn't sonically pleasing to stream shoutcast at such low bit rates and yeah when trying to improve the quality only amounts to signal interuption with bufferings.

    A general misconception it seems is that speeds are the same with an air card and the phones connection when in reality the air card provides a speed comparative to DSL. For the fastest " true mobile " internet, skip pda net and bluetooth and use the air card.

    And BTW, how did you get unlimited for $60.00 a month ?
  19. #19  
    Has anyone noticed downsampling of graphics? I've been using Treo 600 PDANET/Sprint PCS on and off for a year and I've noticed that all the graphics on web pages seem to be downsampled to a very low color depth and resolution.

    If Sprint is not sending web requests through a proxy server, how is this happening?
    "I see dead pixels..."
  20.    #20  
    yes graphics suck. also how did the other guy get unlimited vision for for $60?!!!
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