04 Nov Discover Sprint EVDO and Verizon EVDO Services
If you are the type of person who starts to shake and get a cold sweat whenever you are not able to get an Internet connection with your laptop, there is hope for you. One of the hottest technologies available today, which is gaining tremendous momentum every day, is the EVDO data services, where the leaders are Sprint EVDO and Verizon EVDO.
What is EVDO? It is a card that plugs into your laptop computer, either PCMCIA or USB, that allows you to connect to the Internet via the provider's network. Some of the newer high-end laptops are coming with EVDO service already built in, although this is almost a waste if you want Sprint EVDO and Verizon EVDO is built in, or vice versa.
No longer do you need to be at a Starbucks or wireless coffee shop or hotel to be able to connect to the Internet. EVDO stands for Evolution Data Only / Evolution Data Optimized, and you will frequently see it abbreviated as EVDO, EV-DO, EvDO, 1xEV-DO or 1xEvDO. EVDO provides fast wireless broadband (also known as "3G") Internet connectivity service directly to your laptop. You take the internet with you and surf the web in your car, on the train, in the airport, at a convention, on the road in your RV.
The speed of the initial rollout of EVDO (1xEVDO) is available in most metropolitan areas throughout the United States. The newer release of EVDO known as "Rev 0" is available in about 200 metro cities through the US, and both Sprint and Verizon are rolling out "Rev A" EVDO to upgrade the current implementation, as well as starting to cover more areas continuously .
In terms of speed and performance, EVDO is superb. The Rev-A EVDO service delivers about 600-800k downloads and 300-400k uploads with a good signal from the cellular carrier. But even the older "Rev 0" speeds give you tremendous flexibility, although speeds are only about 2-3 times faster than a dial-up connection. But even so, the flexibility of being able to get online virtually anywhere makes this a stunning boon to those who do not want to be tethered to a wireless coffee shop or hotel lobby.
Cingular also offers something similar to EVDO on their networks, although at the time of this writing, it is typically not nearly as fast and does not have nearly the wide coverage through the US that the Sprint and Verizon EVDO networks do.
Sprint and Verizon are constantly leap-frogging each other in terms of which one covers more area and which one is faster.
One thing to watch for is the cost, which is a function of how much you download over the course of the month. Both Sprint EVDO and Verizon EVDO have plans that allow 20mb per month, 50mb per month, and various levels, as well as an "unlimited" plan. With the size of most websites these days, you can burn through that download limit in a day or two, so the unlimited plan provides your best value. However, be aware that with Verizon, unlimited does not mean unlimited. If you use Verizon EVDO "too much", they will shut off your EVDO service for the reminder of the month. Verizon has yet to actually state how much is "too much", but it is definitely not "unlimited" according to the dictionary definition of the word. By contrast, the Sprint EVDO unlimited plan, at least for now, is truly unlimited.
By Jon Arnold