Sprint Aircards???

Joey Ketcham

So one of the guys at work was telling me about Sprint PCS Connection cards you can buy that plugs into a PCMCIA slot on your laptop and basically acts as a cell phone and dials out to an internet service provider.

I'm looking at the Aircard 550 on Sprints website, do you have to have cell phone service through sprint to make this work? I guess I'm not quite sure how this works...

Anyone ever used em?
 
Ahh.. I figured... ever used Sprint PCS? I wonder how good they are.
 
I have Sprint PCS AND a Sprint Merlin Wirless card. Works absolutely fantastic IF (and I do mean a BIG IF) you are in the Sprint PCS coverage area, which can be spotty at best in parts of the plains (i.e. almost the entire western half of KS has no Sprint PCS coverage). The cards are pricey too at $80/mo with 2 yr contract or $100/mo with no contract for the unlimited, and you pretty much have to get the unlimited plan because the other ones just give you CRAP for allowed usage.

EDITED to add: you can use a Sprint Vision phone (if you have the right cable) to also get data. Officially and in the fine print, Sprint says no. Unofficially, they overlook it as long as you don't go nuts with it. That's been well documented among sprint forums. As far as I know, the Sprint Wireless cards only work on the Sprint service and won't dial up to some outside ISP.
 
Originally posted by David Drummond

EDITED to add: you can use a Sprint Vision phone (if you have the right cable) to also get data. Officially and in the fine print, Sprint says no. Unofficially, they overlook it as long as you don't go nuts with it. That's been well documented among sprint forums. As far as I know, the Sprint Wireless cards only work on the Sprint service and won't dial up to some outside ISP.

Some phones are now coming Bluetooth equipped with DUN (Dial-up Networking). This basically saves you the step of buying any cables/software. One is a Sprint PCS phone by LG. It is a pretty small phone - dark blue in color and is an extendable phone...I can't remember the model number. OR if you're hardcore - the treo 650 already has Bluetooth but the DUN should be capable by late June (They had some major problems with it - very buggy). However if you needed it now, there is a program called PDANet for Treo 650 that's pretty sweet.
 
I also have the Sprint Merlin card with the $80 unlimited service plan. I am currently in the process of deciding whether or not to stay with Sprint. In order to utilize the Sprint card you not only have to be in a Sprint coverage area but it has to be a Sprint PCS Vision coverage area. So when chasing I decide on my target area before I leave. I then locate the Sprint PCS Vision service area closest to my target area and go there first in order to get an update. This can be a bit of a hassle.
It is my understanding that Cingular also offers PCMCIA data cards but they have a much larger coverage area, albeit slower conection speeds. Given a choice between the two I think Cingular would be better for chasing purposes. The only reason I have not switched yet is that sometime this summer Sprint is supposed to be unveiling some new technology that would increase the connection speeds from the current 256K to that comparable to braod band. This would allow me to drop my $40/mo DSL at home and just use my Sprint card.
 
Sprint is starting to put up towers in the westen part of Kansas here is a link to the tower map that shows where they are now and where they are planning to put more. http://www.sprint.com/pcsbusiness/coverage.../towermaps.html

I myself still on the old plan with Sprint that gives me unlimited Vision for $10 a month, the biggest problem I have it ties up my phone and can't make calls when the data is going. So I need another phone when I chase.

Right now I am a holding pattern to see how well that new satellite broadband thing turns out. If it is as good as they say, it might be the way to go.
 
Has anyone tried the T-Mobile plan? You get the Aircard thing for $99, and the monthly service fee is only $29.99 for umlimited GPRS. That beats Cingulars Media Net, and I'm sure it's a heck of alot easier to install...
 
Originally posted by rdewey
Has anyone tried the T-Mobile plan? You get the Aircard thing for $99, and the monthly service fee is only $29.99 for umlimited GPRS. That beats Cingulars Media Net, and I'm sure it's a heck of alot easier to install...

I use the T-Mobile plan, because it is the cheapest around. All you really have to do is install the aircard software and put the aircard in after that. It comes with software for the aircard, and allows you to connect to the T-Mobile network from there. Coverage is spotty off of the main highways and sometimes the speed can get slow, but the average download speed that I get with it is around 5 KB/Sec. Be sure to look at the T-Mobile coverage map before making any decision on it.

http://www.t-mobile.com/coverage/?class=coverage
 
Originally posted by Ben Prusia+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Ben Prusia)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-rdewey
Has anyone tried the T-Mobile plan? You get the Aircard thing for $99, and the monthly service fee is only $29.99 for umlimited GPRS. That beats Cingulars Media Net, and I'm sure it's a heck of alot easier to install...

I use the T-Mobile plan, because it is the cheapest around. All you really have to do is install the aircard software and put the aircard in after that. It comes with software for the aircard, and allows you to connect to the T-Mobile network from there. Coverage is spotty off of the main highways and sometimes the speed can get slow, but the average download speed that I get with it is around 5 KB/Sec. Be sure to look at the T-Mobile coverage map before making any decision on it.

http://www.t-mobile.com/coverage/?class=coverage[/b]

Yeah, it really does sound like a good deal... The coverage is nearly identical to Cingulars coverage, and those speeds that you mention are about the same. Unless Sprint PCS is MUCH faster, than I can't justify $80/month for it...
 
I’ve been using a Novatel C-201 card with Sprint for a few years.

Sometime this summer, Sprint will be flipping the switch on EV-DO which will be a lot faster than the current 1xRTT. I’ve been keeping an eye on the EV-DO ready AirCard 580 which was being sold for $150.00 until recently. When I saw that the price dropped to $90.00, I jumped.

Unlike the C-201, the 580 has an external antenna connection. I homebrewed a passive connection to the outside antenna at my fixed location. This works OK, but a hard connection is what I really need. On the road, the C-201’s internal antenna has worked well for me.

Three weeks later I’m still waiting for the card, due to numerous screwups at SPCS. The good news is that the 580 is now selling for $50.00.

Do make sure that you are set up as a business account, not just for the cost savings. Customer Service (877-654-9111) and Sales (888-322-3961) is much better on this side.

Even if *you* are not a business, a sales rep will try to force your SSN into the EIN area of their order entry screen (commi$$ion). If they don’t, thank them for their time and move on to the next one. Don't go to a Radio Shack store, you need a real live Sprint Store.

I've heard that Sprint has been testing EV-DO in Kansas City and Columbus, OH.
 
From what I can find on Sprint's website, (as far as the aircards go), only the Aircard 580 is going to be EV-DO compatible. I currently have the Novatel Morlin 201. Sprint data service is great, again... as long as you're in the Sprint coverage. Too bad there's not a dial-up option for when roaming (just for those must connect times).

** Someone made reference earlier about the new satellite high-speed connections. Most are already familiar with the DataStorm mobile satellite system. I have it on my truck, and if you need any help or advice on it, I'll be glad to help. The technology "is not" new, been around for about 3-5 years now. It's very expensive and there are cons as well as pros.

I'm still hoping this new, higher-speed network that Sprint is promoting will really help.
 
From what I can find on Sprint's website, (as far as the aircards go), only the Aircard 580 is going to be EV-DO compatible. I currently have the Novatel Morlin 201. Sprint data service is great, again... as long as you're in the Sprint coverage. Too bad there's not a dial-up option for when roaming (just for those must connect times).

** Someone made reference earlier about the new satellite high-speed connections. Most are already familiar with the DataStorm mobile satellite system. I have it on my truck, and if you need any help or advice on it, I'll be glad to help. The technology "is not" new, been around for about 3-5 years now. It's very expensive and there are cons as well as pros.

I'm still hoping this new, higher-speed network that Sprint is promoting will really help.
 
Chris Hayes has a PC Card and Data Service through Cingular, after seeing it in action on June 4th I've deicded to go that route.
It's pretty cool how it works.... he was using it the whole time we were chasing that day...
 
T-mobile equipment

Originally posted by rdewey
Has anyone tried the T-Mobile plan? You get the Aircard thing for $99, and the monthly service fee is only $29.99 for umlimited GPRS. That beats Cingulars Media Net, and I'm sure it's a heck of alot easier to install...
I wanted to mention that you don't necessarily need the Aircard. I used my Sony Ericsson T610 phone with Bluetooth and a bluetooth adapter for my laptop to surf this last time out. The phone is an older model, so it can probably be found cheap. I think the adapter was $25 or so at most big box stores.

As for coverage - other people have hit the nail on the head. Spotty off the highways but inexpensive. I think I paid an additional $10 a month for unlimited data on top of my regular service.

Plus, when I was done with my chase vacation, I turned the data off.

Alex
 
Spritn service in my opinion is certainly limited. i have sprint service and i would not use ti for chasing knowing the areas that I can recieve service and the areas i cant. if your not on a main highway ie. I 70 - I 35.. your SOL
 
Originally posted by fplowman
Spritn service in my opinion is certainly limited. i have sprint service and i would not use ti for chasing knowing the areas that I can recieve service and the areas i cant. if your not on a main highway ie. I 70 - I 35.. your SOL

What's big pimpin Homer using? Looks like he's got a cell phone :lol:
 
Originally posted by rdewey+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(rdewey)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-fplowman
Spritn service in my opinion is certainly limited. i have sprint service and i would not use ti for chasing knowing the areas that I can recieve service and the areas i cant. if your not on a main highway ie. I 70 - I 35.. your SOL

What's big pimpin Homer using? Looks like he's got a cell phone :lol:[/b]

Actually thats him dressed up as a man in black. He uses it to flash the minds of his target so that their memory lapses about the situation they were just in. hehehe
 
I have a Sprint PCS card, and it works well as long as I'm on the Interstate. It connects quickly and easily. Expect large "no coverage areas" in southern Kansas. As far as speed, it downloads about the speed of a 56.6 modem....GF
 
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