As people who know me or follow this blog would know, I travel quite a bit for business. Actually, quite a bit is an understatement of sorts – I travel a lot for business.

As a result, I decided to get the Sprint EVDO service about two months ago – since I am always on the road, paying 10 dollars for 24 hours of “unlimited” internet service and 8 bucks at those airports didnt exactly appeal to me. What prompted me to go with Sprint was a couple of factors. One, I was already a Sprint customer and they offered me a very sweet MRC. Also, in reading reviews of the two top EVDO providers – it seemed apparent that Sprint’s nationwide coverage was much more extensive compared to Verizon’s. More importantly, Sprint was growing its network at a much faster rate than Verizon was. And even without the MRC I was given, Sprint was significantly cheaper.

So anyways, I get an EVDO card (Novatel Merlin S620), which I was told was the best in the market at the time for 50 bucks. Installation of the manager software was a snap – so no issues there – I fired it up and was ready to go. Well almost. I was then in Robbinsville New Jersey – and while it worked, it seemed increasingly apparent that it wasnt high speed EVDO. It was Rx1TT – which is all right – but not extremely fast. Of course, owing to my peripatetic life, I started using it at airports ( Newark, Detroit, Kansas City, Orlando, Cincinnati, Chicago – just to name a few..) and everywhere it worked like a dream. Then of course, there were hotel rooms at different places – but primarily in New Jersey and Overland Park KS – and it worked like a dream at all these places.

However, the one thing that was common was that I was static. A real test of a network – is its versatility in motion. And when I had to come to Boston this week for a conference by Acela Express – I was very excited at the prospect of putting the Sprint Nationwide EVDO service to test. So here goes….

The results first – I was online without getting disconnected at all – apart from the time when I was in the tunnel getting into Penn Station from New Jersey and then subsequently getting out of Penn Station towards Connecticut. Funny thing is the Sprint PCS Connection Manager would still show me online – but for all practical purposes – communication was severed. But the rest of the journey – around 5 hours on a high speed train – I was constantly online. I was on the EVDO network – maybe roughly around 70% of the time. The speed varied and was especially bad in the upper reaches of Connecticut – but for all practical purposes it was eminently workable. During the times when I was on the EVDO network – it was great – I was logged onto the corporate intranet, had my corporate messaging tool on – it was work as usual – as if I was in office.

There were a few dead zones – where my Sprint phone also was out of coverage – but I counted exactly two – and they lasted all of two minutes each. What is good is I used to do this route every week about two years ago – and Sprint’s coverage was full of holes especially in Connecticut and Mass. It has improved unbelievably in two years – and I am hoping the same would apply to their EVDO coverage. I’ll keep updating this forum as and when my travels take me to different places.