Archive for the 'evdo' Category

Tinfoil hat (for EVDO)

July 28th, 2010

The things you’ll do when you’re sitting around the house…

The other day I built a parabolic reflector out of cardboard and some foil tape I had lying about. I was researching various homemade antenna designs I want to tinker with and stumbled on one that I actually had all the parts for on hand. As we are so close to the edge of EVDO reception here that moving down the hill a few feet would kill the signal, it seemed like it would be worth a shot. After all, it cost maybe fifty cents for the foil tape I used and the cardboard was free.

Parabolic EVDO Antenna.

Now, this is hardly a good mobile solution as it’s fairly directional, but after spending twenty minutes or so on the roof pointing the reflector and testing bandwidth, I got pretty good results. The SNR increase doesn’t even register on the cradlepoint’s web interface, which is fairly lackluster, so I had to result to ping flooding our upstream router to detect a better signal. No, I didn’t DoS it, I kept the packet count to 100 at a time while aligning and 1000 packets for bandwidth testing.

I didn’t record all the numbers, but to give you an idea of the improvement: without the reflector, we were seeing 10-30% packet loss and average roundtrip times that ranged from 5 seconds to 9.5 seconds. Even at that, the connection was usable. Once the reflector was aligned, packet loss dropped to 0-1% and average roundtrip times stayed about 2.5 seconds. This equates to a 100-300% increase in bandwidth plus the bandwidth recovered from dropped packets.

The connection is hardly blazing fast, but it’s quite a bit more usable than previously. For our normal usage patterns, it’s actually quite acceptable. Bear in mind that our average roundtrip times are similar to 380ms. The previously stated times are for icmp packets being sent out as fast as possible and saturating the connection.

With that sort of improvement, I’m much more determined to build a waveguide antenna for times when we’re having trouble hitting a tower. Bonus points if I can fit both the wifi and 3g spectrums into the same antenna and use it for a wifi repeater as well.

Dear Brent,

November 7th, 2008

On 2008/10/25 at 12:11 PM, Brent wrote:

Hey guys,

Currently working my way through your all your postings. My wife and I are in the “can we really do this” stage of making the same change that you two have. Very much enjoying reading through your process.

Much like you two, we both work in technology and are somewhat dependent on the Internet. Add to that, the need for research / blogging / and potentially some work while traveling and connectivity gets to be one of our important decisions. So I’m curious, how are you feeling about the cell network decision versus satellite? Working out as you had planned?

Brent

Well, Brent, I’d have to say I don’t like any of the choices available. I’m pretty happy with the performance of EVDO, but I’m extremely upset with Sprint changing the contract midstream so that it no longer remotely resembles the class of service that we originally purchased. I have already ranted about this particular event once, so I’ll try and stay on subject…

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Mommy, where does the Internet come from?

June 17th, 2008

hummer01

It turns out that our new campsite wasn’t quite as deserted as we had hoped. Every couple of hours this Hummer drives by with a tour group. Since they never come back down past us, I assume they’re just driving a loop through the national forest. A few other folks drive by on occasion, but for the most part, they don’t slow down and point.

As we hadn’t been out for a hike in a while, we decided to hike up one of the less improved roads to the top of the mountain. We were keeping an eye out for a new campsite, hazards we might have trouble crossing with the camper and halfway hoping we were on the right road to reach the lookout tower.

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They only have one bar of internet!

June 13th, 2008

As we’ve mentioned, we spent the last week in a beautiful campsite in the middle of nowhere. The only downfall to this Utopian site was the complete and utter lack of cell coverage in the area.

After working over a decade in the industry, we’re officially internet junkies. We use it for everything: Researching campsites, routes, fuel stops and sightseeing trips. Entertainment, banking, paying bills, investments. And today’s favorite topic: the life and times of the garden variety yellow jacket.

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EVDOh!?

May 31st, 2008

For about six months now, we’ve been very happy with our EVDO service from Sprint. We invested in extras such as an external antenna and a Wilson trucker amplifier. We have had some sketchy service as we traveled around, but we have very rarely been in a complete dead zone in our, admittedly, limited travels.

Verizon has a slightly better coverage footprint than Sprint, at least the way most people seem to figure it, but Sprint had one major benefit: unlimited connectivity and downloads. Verizon claims to have ‘unlimited connectivity’, but after 5GB in a month, they start charging you $0.49 per MEG!

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