Sprint Overdrive 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot by Sierra Wireless

6 04 2011

Hotspot Dashboard - Click to Enlarge

Sprint offer a wireless hotspot device for their 3g and 4g networks. I took a device on evaluation from Sprint recently and tested how well it worked at my home. My address is not listed as supported for Clearwire wireless internet, which is the same network as the Sprint 4g devices use. So I was interested to see how well it would work.

AT&T DSL Speeds - Click to Enlarge

First I tested the speed of my AT&T DSL broadband as a comparison between wireless and land-line capability. My DSL is marginal where I live (which seems to apply to any service I have looked into). DSL Download/Upload speeds achieved were 2.35 Mb down and 0.32 Mb up. Pretty pedestrian by today’s broadband offerings and demands from services such as Netflix streaming.

Sprint 3g Speeds - Click to Enlarge

I then switched on the Sprint Hotspot device. It sync’d using 3g only. Power cycling didn’t encourage it to connect to 4g at all. Maybe my home is just too far out. The speeds I got with Sprint 3g are 0.33 Mb Down and 0.24 Mb Up. Very slow indeed. I got much better speeds using my Droid as a tethered modem using Verizon wireless 3g network.

Perturbed by the very slow speeds I decided read the manual and discovered where the factory reset button is. Being an eval unit someone ahead of me may have set some weird and wonderful setting. After a successful reset and reboot the device immediately connected to the 4G network. I checked the firmware, it is up to date, all it needed was a factory reset.

Sprint 4g - Click to Enlarge

The signal strength varied between 20% and 40%, so my address is clearly marginal for Sprint. I tested the performance and got 4.92 Mbs Down and 0.92 Mbs Up. Much better and superior to my AT&T DSL. This is fast enough to support HD quality movie streaming from Netflix and others. I am due to get uVerse installed in a few days so will update this post with those speeds as a direct comparison.

The hotspot device can be used as a Wifi hotspot supporting up to 5 clients, or as a tethered device. The management console is clear and easy to use. I was able to change from WEP encryption to WPA2 easily enough, the unit rebooted after this change and worked just fine.

I switched on GPS location to see how that would work. The unit consistently failed to get a GPS lock inside my home. My Motorola Droid never has issues, so the GPS sensitivity for this device seems poor.

The device looks like a hockey puck, is reasonably light and is easily thrown into a laptop bag. It uses a universal Micro USB charger, so you don’t need to carry its charging cable/wall plug if you already have one for your phone or other device(s). As standard the device comes with a quick start guide. To get the full manual, one needs to download this from Sprints support website.

Compared to Verizon wireless LTE, the Sprint network is a step behind in terms of raw speed. Reports of 10Mb down and 3 Mb up on Verizon LTE hotspots reveal that the Verizon 4g is a step above the older Sprint/Clearwire 4g. Speed isn’t everything though. Verizon put a 10GB monthly cap on their hotspot devices, Sprint’s claim to fame is that their unlimited means truly unlimited. So if you want to stream Netflix movies and therefore consume large amounts of bandwidth, the Spring hotspot device makes better financial sense.

If AT&T U-verse disappoints, I will seriously consider a Clearwire modem or this 4g hotspot from Sprint. As much as I like LTE from Verizon and already being  a Verizon customer, the 10GB cap would be way too restrictive for my home internet needs. Sprint have made the right choice in not placing caps on their wireless service, no one wants an unexpected bill at the end of the month because you used ‘too much’ bandwidth. 10GB is hardly classifiable as hogging bandwidth in this day and age. A 10GB cap on a individual smartphone sounds OK, but on a  hot spot, it’s outlandish. Congratulations to Sprint for getting this right, shame on Verizon.





How to register an orphaned AT&T 92370 handset to a different base station

9 03 2011
AT&T TL92370 Phone System

AT&T TL92370 Phone System

Lightening recently damaged my AT&T Home Telephone Answering system base station rendering the 3 cordless handsets useless. I purchased an identical Telephone system that comes with 3 handsets and hoped to reuse the handsets fom the old system on the new.

Problem

The AT&T TL92370 base station can support up to 12 handsets. However as I read through the instructions on registering and deregistering handsets, it became apparent that to deregister a handset from the base station one needed a working base station to do so. The handsets once registered to a base station cannot be registered to another until they have been released from the original base station. The orphaned handsets displayed the following message

Out of range OR No power at base

I searched in vain on the net looking for a way to remedy this. I diassembled one of the hansets hoping to find a reset switch. No such luck. I was now the proud owner of 3 orphaned handsets I could not use.

Resolution

I sent an email to AT&T asking how to accomplish this. I got a boilerplate response informing me that my problem was too complicated for email resolution and to call 1-888-883-2442 to speak to a tech. I called using Skype. It took about 8 minutes on hold before I got through to a live tech. He asked basic questions and did understand my problem first time. He put me on hold and came back with the folowing code to enter into the old handsets.

*331734# followed by menu/select

The phone beeps twice, reboots and then comes back up ready to register to a new base station.

Registering to the new base station is now easily accomplished using the standard instructions.

  • Press and hold handset locator on base station until ‘in use’ light comes on.
  • Press # on the handset and the phone registers itself to the base station.

I repeated the above procedure with my two remaining handsets and now I have a 6 handset cordless system for my home.

It’s important to note that if you have a working base station you should use the standard instructions for deregistering the handsets. Each handset gets allocated a handset number by the base station, if you deregister using the special code detailed in this post then the reserved handset number on the base station is consumed and cannot be reclaimed; thus reducing the number of handsets the base station can support by 1. The special code is only for use when you have a handset that is orphaned from a lost or  non-working base station.








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 393 other followers