USB WWAN Modem Roundup
September 10, 2007
I’ve been looking into WWAN solutions for a while now and Kevin Tofel’s poll WWAN choices: what’s your preferred form factor? got me thinking again. Most likely, I will go the USB route because as it stands now, I am doubting I will be going for the HTC Shift which has internal HSDPA. If I go with the Kohjinsha SH8 or Vye S37, I will be stuck with a USB solution. I have said in the past, I’m done with tethering. I’d rather have the convenience of a dedicated WWAN connection. From one of my first posts, In Search of my Next UMPC.. Intro, I explain the reason tethering is not for me anymore.
I’m at the bowling and as you can see from the above picture, it’s a bit ridiculous to get everything set up.
In this scenario, first I had to ask the bartender to see if he had a paperclip. Luckily he had one, removed the SIM card, and inserted it into my Blackjack phone.
Then I plugged in the Blackjack into the Q1 so I can get tethering going. If you’re wondering why I’m not using Bluetooth, it’s because the Blackjack’s bluetooth stack doesn’t work right with Vista. So the only way I could get Bluetooth PAN working is with USB.
So now, since I’m connected with the Blackjack, I basically lost the camera functionality since I want to stay online. So then I pulled out the iPhone, took and picture, removed the USB keyboard, and transfered the photo using the USB cable.
That’s just too many steps to get connected. I’m now back to XP and got Bluetooth tethering back.. but I still have to swap the SIM card, and I still can’t use my phone for voice calls while tethered. I’ve been reading that a dedicated WWAN modem gives you faster speeds than with tethering through your phone.
So for some months now, I’ve been tracking USB modem news and have been lurking the evdoinfo.com forums. Kevin’s purchase of the Sierra Wireless 875U was very helpful too.
Here’s a list of USB modems out now and coming soon. Since I’m in the US, I’m only looking into modems that will most likely work here. I will probably wait until the newer devices come out before deciding.
Network: Verizon / Sprint (Discontinued but still available in other channels)
Pros: From the evdoinfo.com forums, I get the impression this just works. Location based GPS.
Cons: May need to plug into a 2nd USB port for additional power
Sierra Wireless U595/875U
Network: U595 = Sprint & Verizon. 875U = AT&T.
Pros: Internal battery. No need to plug into a 2nd USB port.
Network: Verizon / Sprint (?)
Pros: Much smaller. Low power. Max 5W. No need for 2 USB ports.
Notes: This is the smallest USB modem I’ve seen. Appears to be the size of a thumbdrive.
Estimated arrival: Sept-Oct
via evdoinfo.com forums / EVDO blog
Franklin Wireless CDU-680
Network: Verizon (?) / Sprint (?)
Pros: Smaller. 64MB flashdrive. GPS receiver.
Notes: Not too much information on this. I’m hoping Sprint or Verizon will carry this.
Estimated arrival: 2nd Quarter 2007
Pic Below: AirCard 595U (left), Novatel U720 (center) and Franklin CDU-680 (right)
via evdoinfo.com (2)
Sierra Wireless 881U
Network: AT&T / T-Mobile(?)
Pros: Bit smaller than the U875. HSUPA support. Up to 7.2Mbps download speed. Up to 2Mbps upload speed.
Notes: Updated version of the 875U. Still has a battery.
Estimated arrival: Unknown