EVDOinfo Tip Of The Week #44: Overdrive + Pepwave For More Range, Users, and Ethernet Port!

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Wednesday, 03 March 2010

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Use the Pepwave Surf Mini with Sierra Overdrive to add Range, More Users, and an Ethernet port

overdrive and pepwave surf mini

The Sierra Overdrive from Sprint has become a big hit, thanks to its ability to connect to both the 3G and 4G networks and the convenience of having your mobile broadband device also be a WiFi hotspot. Like any device, though, it's not perfect, and Overdrive users have mentioned a few things that they wish the Overdrive had: a wider WiFi range, an ethernet port, and a way to get around the 5-user limit (the Overdrive only allows you to connect five users via WiFi).

The WiFi range on the Overdrive is comparable to a standard "wireless G" router - up to 150 feet. This is plenty of range for most cases, but those who try to use the Overdrive in a large home or office may have a problem with it - especially if cellular signal is not great in certain areas they need it to be. Since the Overdrive does not have an rf/antenna jack to allow for a high gain cellular antenna, all too often the Overdrive has to be located near a window where the cellular signal is best, and that window is not always located in the part of the building where everybody congregates or works. The lack of an ethernet port means that you can't use the Overdrive to provide internet access to a device that doesn't have WiFi (like an IP phone, a DVR, a gaming console, etc), which is very important for many users. And the 5-user limit is a big downer for folks who want to share their 3G or 4G connection with a bunch of devices - it might seem insignificant to some, but imagine if you had a laptop, plus your two kids' laptops, an iPhone, a Nintendo DS... having to take turns with those 5 spots would get old fast!

Enter the Pepwave Surf Mini, a WiFi Bridge/Repeater that solves all three of these problems! The Pepwave Surf can be located at the end of a Overdrive's WiFi range and set up so that it acts as a WiFi Repeater, extending the Overdrive's reach to provide up to double the WiFi range (depending on wall/building construction and interference from competing electronics)! The Pepwave Surf also features a single ethernet LAN port allowing users to hardwire any computer (or other internet-capable device) that features an ethernet port but no WiFi, and it will allow internet connectivity via ethernet and WiFi simultaneously. Finally, it also allows you to get around that pesky 5-user limit. The Pepwave Surf Mini connects to the Overdrive (via WiFi) and counts as one of the 5 users; you can then connect as many devices as you want to the Pepwave! In other words, if you wanted to share the connection from the Overdrive with 10 laptops, rather than having the laptops connect directly to the Overdrive's WiFi network, they would connect to the Pepwave (which is rebroadcasting the signal from the Overdrive). Since the laptops aren't connected to the Overdrive, the Overdrive doesn't count them towards the 5-user limit!

Once it is properly associated with the Overdrive - an easy process that takes just moments - the Pepwave Surf will continuously scan to see if the Overdrive is within range and then locks onto the signal and rebroadcasts it. It's as simple as that! It is arguably the easiest (and most affordable - the Pepwave Surf Mini is just $99.99 at 3Gstore) way to extend your Overdrive's WiFi range, add ethernet capability, and allow more than 5 users to share the signal!

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 04 March 2010 )
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