Built-in GPS for Novatel U720 S720 EX720

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Sunday, 11 February 2007

Built-in GPS for Novatel U720, S720, and EX720 by Sprint

If you install the latest Sprint Connection Manager and you are using one of the following mobile broadband cards:


Update April 6, 2007


It is possible to use your Novatel U720, S720, EX720 with GoogleEarth or Microsoft Streets & Trips in realtime, using the built-in GPS of your EVDO modem.  If you purchase your mobile broadband card and service from us, we will gladly provide support on how to get this working.


You can use the built-in GPS functionality and the first taste of free Sprint support for the GPS. The GPS that is built-in to the Novatel products supports getting your location via two methods.  When there is a clear shot of the sky, the built-in GPS functions like a regular GPS receiver and use the satellites in orbit to determine your exact location.  When you are indoors or do not have a clear view of the sky, the GPS will switch to using Sprint's network to determine the location.  By using triangulation and multiple Sprint towers, your device can determine the location.

If you do not have a clear view of the sky and you have WiFi enabled, you will see a message that indicates that the Sprint Mobile Broadband Network is being used to acquire your location (this is NOT GPS): 

Sample Image


If you are using the Sprint Mobile Broadband Network to acquire your location (vs. GPS), Sprint will only allow you to do a lookup every 30 minutes (this value may change in the future or be quicker for a paid service).  If you look in the bottom right of the window, there is a date/time next to Acquired, that is the date/time your location was obtained from Sprint.  It will not change for another 30 minutes, even if you are driving around.


When your Novatel device has a clear shot of the sky it will work like a regular GPS and be very accurate (within feet).  When using the Sprint Mobile Broadband network, it may be accurate or could be a mile off from your real location.  In the screen shot belowm, the GPS indicator is around 1 mile too far north.  However, a normal GPS wouldn't even work, since we were indoors.  If I am looking for the nearest gas station, this still works great.

Sample Image

Important Tip

When using the Sprint network to determine the location, the 1xRTT network is used.  If you have your connection card locked into EVDO Only, GPS will NOT work.  Be sure to set your card back to Automatic. 

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Since, Sprint doesn't offer a Sprint Connection Manager for Mac, there is currently no way for Mac users to access the built-in GPS.  Also, without a Mac Sprint Connection Manager, Mac users cannot:

  • activate EVDO devices
  • upgrade PRL (needed to see new towers)
  • upgrade firmare
  • see signal strength
  • see network used (1xRTT vs EVDO Rev 0 vs EVDO Rev A) 

We hope that Sprint will support Mac users soon.

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Last Updated ( Friday, 06 April 2007 )
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