Sierra Wireless USB 598 With GPS for Verizon Wireless ODI

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Friday, 18 September 2009

The USB598 for Verizon is no longer available. Click here for currently available Verizon devices

Sierra Wireless USB 598 3G EVDO Rev-A USB Modem

The Sierra Wireless USB 598 on top of a standard business card.

The Sierra Wireless USB 598 is a 3G EVDO Rev-A USB modem currently available for use on the Sprint Mobile Broadband network as the Sprint 598U. has been testing a version of the USB 598 that has been certified for use with Verizon Wireless' 3G / EVDO Mobile Broadband network through Verizon Wireless' "Open Development Initiative" or "ODI".

"We are pleased that the Sierra Wireless USB 598 is compatible with the Verizon Wireless network after going through the Verizon Wireless open development program, said Dan Schieler, senior vice president, Worldwide Sales for Sierra Wireless. "The Sierra Wireless USB 598 offers fast, reliable wireless connectivity from a notebook computer to simplify life on-the-go for mobile professionals and digital nomads.

"Verizon Wireless is committed to encouraging innovation and expanding the choices for mobile broadband customers, said Tony Lewis, vice president of open development at Verizon Wireless. "Adding the Sierra Wireless USB 598 to the wide range of devices that are compatible with the Verizon Wireless network provides a new option for accessing the most reliable wireless 3G data network in the country.

Our exclusive testing has confirmed that Sierra Wireless' "Watcher" software used to manage the connection to the Verizon Wireless network, allows the Sierra Wireless USB598 to be the first dedicated mobile broadband data device on the Verizon Wireless network that provides any GPS functionality, and on the Mac OSX platform it also enables SMS text messaging which was once exclusive to the windows version of VZAccess Manager. As a result, we'll recommend the Sierra Wireless USB 598 to those customers who want Verizon Wireless mobile broadband service with GPS and/or SMS features. For those companies that have mandate in place to only buy Sierra Wireless modems, its also the only available Rev-A USB modem thats made by Sierra Wireless and currently available. (The 595U has long since been discontinued)

Sierra Wireless 'Watcher' software enables GPS on Verizon Wireless
Sierra Wireless 'Watcher' software enables GPS on Verizon Wireless
Mobile BroadBand network and SMS messaging on Mac OSX

(click here for larger screenshot)

When the GPS panel is displayed and the modem can detect satellites, the current Latitude, Longitude and Altitude will continuously update. Clicking on the "Map It" button will open a web browser window to a Google Maps page showing the current location. Nothing like this has ever been available with a Verizon Wireless data device.

Text messaging using VZAccess Manager has been available for Windows users for some time, but the only way Mac OSX users will be able to send and/or receive text messages will be through a Sierra Wireless USB 598 when controlled by the Sierra Wireless Watcher application. The interface allows for sending and receiving text messages as well as reviewing and replying to recent messages. Click here for larger screenshot of the Watcher user interface for GPS and SMS.

The USB 598 ships with no software CD because everything you need for Mac or Windows is in on board memory and Sierra Wireless' "Tru-Install" feature auto-installs the software you need upon insertion, greatly simplifying the process to get your device operating on the Verizon Wireless mobile broadband network. The USB 598 requires Mac OSX version 10.4.11 or later (including 10.6 Snow Leopard), or Windows XP/2000/Vista. Very recently, the USB 598 was certified as one of the first USB modems that is "compatible with Windows 7".

In addition to on-board software, the USB598 ships with a printed quick-start guide, short USB extension cable, laptop clip, lanyard and soft carrying pouch. As with most new USB modems, the Sierra Wireless USB 598 features a microSD flash memory slot that can store up to 32GB of photos, videos, music and any other digital files.

L-R: the contents of the Sierra Wireless USB 598 package

The laptop clip and USB cable that ship with the USB 598 modem allow a user to locate the modem on an upright lid of a notebook computer so that it is able to receive better signal, and is out of danger from accidental hits the device might take if it were sticking out of a USB port.

The USB 598 modem ships with Sierra Wireless' 'Watcher' application
to manage connections and comes with a notebook clip and USB cable

Two LED lights provides connection status and a red and white graphic lights up when powered on. Thankfully, the software allows you to turn off the lights, but it turns off all the lights not just the logo. With the connection status lights turned off, you really won't have any visual cues about connection or traffic.

At 3.1" (H) x 0.9" (W) x 0.44" (D) the USB 598 is much smaller than the 595U that was once sold by Verizon Wireless. The photo below compares the USB 598 with the older 595U as well as Verizon Wireless' older USB727 and curent USB760.

L-R: 595u, USB 598, USB760 and USB727

The USB 598 does a good job of capturing cellular signal with its built-in antenna and for those times when a user travels into an area with weak cellular signal, there is an RF/antenna jack on the side of the modem that allows for high-gain antennas to improve signal. 3Gstore has a complete selection of antennas for the USB 598 modem.

3Gstore has the adapter cable (shown above) to allow for high gain antennas for the USB 598

Our customers always ask when any new 3G device comes out is, "... just how fast is it? We've always maintained that all devices built to the "Revision A specification" are going to be as fast as all other devices built to similar spec, just as long as they receive the same signal to the same cell tower. Our tests with the Sierra Wireless USB 598 on the Verizon Wireless mobile broadband network once again reinforce that opinion as results were very similar to previous testing done from the same testbench in Dallas, TX:

Sierra Wireless USB 598 Modem -- Features

  • Tru-Install: No CD required for software installation on Windows or Mac Operating Systems.
  • Sierra Wireless' Watcher Application enables GPS and SMS on Mac and Windows.
  • Certified as "Compatible with Windows 7"
  • Tru-Flow: Patent-pending architecture for data traffic management to ensure a consistent mobile broadband experience .
  • microSD™ memory expansion slot supports up to 32GB
  • Rev. A Capable: Wireless download speed up to 3.1 Mbps and upload to 1.8 Mbps
  • Built-in antenna
  • External Antenna Connector (3Gstore has several antennas for the USB 598 )

By design, mobile broaband devices like the Sierra Wireless USB 598 modem provide internet connectivity to the computer it is attached to. Many users will want to share the internet connectivity with multiple computers and even with WiFi-enabled devices like the iPod Touch, or gaming consoles like the Nintendo Wii or Playstation 3 -- for those customers, the best solution is to use a 3G router like those from Cradlepoint.

Thankfully, all of the Cradlepoint routers including the popular CTR500 and MBR1000 already support the USB 598 including Cradlepoint's amazing GPS feature that allows all authorized computers/clients to do realtime tracking of the USB modem in the router. For maximum portability, choose the CTR500 (shown below). For the most wifi range to and from the router and more versatility (because of its additional ethernet ports, two USB ports and expresscard slot) -- choose the MBR1000. You'll find information about all the Cradlepoint routers at our Router Selection Guide.

The USB 598 works great with Cradlepoint CTR500 and MBR1000 is now selling the Sierra Wireless USB 598 for $229.99 and can arrange for activation onto the Verizon Wireless network through a preferred fulfillment agent.

More importantly, customers receive superior customer and tech support from Mobile Broadband Experts that actually use and test these devices on a regular basis!

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 01 April 2010 )
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