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View Full Version : Review of Sierra Wireless AirCard 555

06-14-2002, 08:19 AM
<a href="http://www.pdabuyersguide.com/tips/aircard555.htm">http://www.pdabuyersguide.com/tips/aircard555.htm</a><br /><br />On <a href="http://www.pdabuyersguide.com">PDABuyersguide</a>, Lisa G. reviews the Sierra Wireless AirCard 555 that can use the new 2.5G network on a CDMA basis, called CDMA2000. That is what GPRS is to the GSM folks. Lisa also reports on high speed connections at 60kbps to 70kbps. I am lucky if I get more than 35 kbps through my GPRS Ericsson T39m. If you're interested in the Audiovox Thera, you might like to read this review as well, as it has this card embedded in the unit, and uses the same bits for phone/data connections.<br /><br />Her conclusion: "Pro: Yes! Now that you can get high speed access that feels fast starting at only $35/month for 150 minutes with no roaming and free domestic long distance. Unlimited plan arriving in June and speeds fast enough that you won't be obsessing on how may minutes your Internet session just ate up, this is awesome. And it doubles as a backup cell phone that has a National Single rate calling plan. Software and driver are very robust and user-friendly.<br /><br />Con: I would still love to see prices fall into the consumer mainstream. We need $35/month and 400 data minutes! The Watcher call log doesn't keep track of call durations, so you'll be worrying how many minutes you've used. You must use a headset if you want to use your PDA for voice calls. You have to be in an Express Network (CDMA2000) area to take advantage of high speed Internet access. No Mac notebook drivers."

06-14-2002, 04:08 PM
Maybe a minor point, but it's not CDMA2000 that's 2.5G, it's 1xRTT (that has just been rolled out by Telus and others). By definition, any standard that makes it mathematically possible to acheive 2Mbps is considered 3G. 2Mbps is definately possible with CDMA2000/1xEV-DV (and 1xEV-DO, but I don't think it's actually part of the CDMA2000 standard). So CDMA2000 is a 3G standard, but CDMA2000/1xRTT (which is what the Aircard in the review supports) is only 2.5G. CDMA2000/1xEV-DV is another CDMA2000 standard that's optimized for data but can co-exist with an arbitrary number of voice users on the same carrier. It's theoretical max through-put is somthing like 3.8Mbps so it's definately 3G.

The confusion arises because telcos are calling their networks 3G because they use CDMA2000 (a 3G standard), but in reality, they only support 1xRTT (which is only 2.5G).

Confused yet? 8O

06-14-2002, 04:47 PM
Thanks for the clarification. Those US standards puzzle me!

06-14-2002, 05:03 PM
Wait 'till UMTS starts becoming widespread... if you thought CDMA2000 was confusing... ;)

UMTS was (is?) supposed to be the next big thing in Europe. It's 3G (and also CDMA), and makes understanding CDMA2000 look like child's play.