The initial design of EVDO (Evolution Date Optimized a.k.a. Evolution Data Only) was developed by Qualcomm in 1999. This was done in order to meet the IMT-2000 (International Mobile Telecommunications -2000) requirements for a method of stationary communication that has a downlink speed greater than 2Mbps (megabits per second). The objective of IMT-2000 and thus the goal of EVDO was to produce a standard for high-speed data transfer using cellular technology.
There are two currently available forms of EVDO standards. The Release 0 networks and the Revision A networks. EVDO Release 0 can drive information on EVDO ports at speeds up to 2.4Mbps and upload data a rate of 153Kbps (kilobits per second). While as the newer version of EVDO, the Revision A increases the optimum speed to 3.1Mbps for downlink and an uplink speed of 1.8Mbps. CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) cellular carriers are the most compatible with EVDO which is systemized by Sprint and Verizon Wireless, the two most popular CDMA carriers in the United States.
One of the benefits of EVDO and other cellular technologies is the ability to roam seamlessly between connection points. An EVDO connection should keep you connected to the Internet even if you are traveling in a car. However, because EVDO service is not currently available in all locations throughout the United States, you may lose an EVDO connection while traveling or drop back to the slower 1xRTT (1 times Radio Transmission Technology) service, which is limited to 144Kbps.
EVDO is available for both mobile phones and laptops. Some smartphones, such as the Palm Treo 700p ($399.99 with a two-year contract; www.palm.com), come with built-in DUN (dial-up networking), which lets you use the EVDO connection on your phone as a modem for your laptop, thereby giving you high-speed Internet access on your notebook. Another benefit to EVDO is its speed in comparison to previous technologies. Sprint claims that its Mobile Broadband service offers average wireless data speeds of 400 to 700Kbps with peak rates up to 2Mbps. Verizon claims its BroadbandAccess service offers average speeds of 400 to 700Kbps. Because EVDO signals travel over cellular lines, EVDO provides the opportunity for areas without cable-modem or DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) high-speed Internet to receive Internet access. In some cases, this is the best way to provide broadband Internet access to these rural areas. Although most people do not find it cost effective to use an EVDO connection as a primary connection in rural areas, it is a good option for travelers requiring an Internet connection wherever they go.
EVDO also provides data authentication and protection, which gives users the ability to securely access a corporate VPN (virtual private network) anywhere they can receive a cellular signal. Because EVDO isn’t an open network like Wi-Fi, you’re less susceptible to security breaches. Probably one of the largest detriments to any type of cellular Internet connection is its cost. In fact, EVDO will generally add at least $60 to your monthly cellular bill. Verizon Wireless offers BroadbandAccess for $59.99 per month, with a two-year customer agreement and qualifying voice plan. Users who would prefer to connect their laptop directly to the Internet using BroadbandAccess will also need an EVDO PC card, which starts at $49.99 with a two-year agreement. Sprint’s Mobile Broadband EVDO service costs about the same as Verizon’s BroadbandAccess. At press time, Sprint was offering unlimited Mobile Broadband service for $59.99 per month with a two-year wireless agreement, and a compatible PC card for $49.99 with similar qualifications.
To connect to an EVDO network, you’ll need a compatible phone or PC card. With the phone or card in hand, install the software that will tell your notebook how to use the phone or PC card as a modem. The software will vary depending on the service provider and type of phone or card you are using, so follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation. After the installation is complete, you should be able to connect your phone or plug the PC card in to your notebook, initialize the connection, and begin surfing the Internet. Depending on the software and security restrictions with your carrier, you may need to enter a user name and password in order to use your EVDO service on your laptop. In some cases, using a cellular phone as a modem for your computer may disable the ability to place or receive calls on your phone. Be aware of this if you are expecting an important call.