Sprint 4G: Daily train commute and Alaskan remote office

Summary:As I continue with my Sprint 4G Series of blog posts I took the Overdrive out and about and in the video below you can see a typical commute on the Sounder train and offsite work at a shipyard in Ketchikan, Alaska.

As I continue with my Sprint 4G Series of blog posts I took the Overdrive out and about and in the video below you can see a typical commute on the Sounder train and offsite work at a shipyard in Ketchikan, Alaska. There is limited 4G connectivity during my train commute with the tracks running on the backside of several towns running from Puyallup to Seattle, but 3G connectivity works pretty well. I am also kicking off a long term project in Alaska and found the Sprint Overdrive to work well with a 3G connection, including using the GPS capability of the Overdrive with my Apple iPad.

Train commute on the Sounder

I ride the Sounder train about 45 minutes each way to and from work and it is a very comfortable ride. There is free WiFi on the train, but I honestly have found it to be extremely slow and not that reliable. In the past I have been using my phones to connect my netback or laptop and over the past few weeks I have been using the Overdrive to power the connection to my iPad, Zune, and Windows notebook. The train tracks run a bit off the beaten path at times, but I have experienced a pretty solid 3G connection with a 4G connection about 20% to 25% of the time.

I find that I can use the Overdrive to connect both to and from work without recharging, which is an hour and half of battery time. I find that you cannot go too much longer than that though as the Overdrive has quite a bit less battery runtime than the MiFi device.

The iPad has been my primary device to connect with over the past couple of weeks and one bothersome issue is that the iPad prompts for the WPA security code every 15 minutes or so. I am not sure why the iPad keeps losing the security code, but at least I have a fairly solid connection during my commute to work with email, use Twitter, surf the Internet, update applications, and use various 3rd party apps.

3G connectivity in Alaska

I have been making trips to Alaska and as you can see in the video above, I recently went to Ketchikan to setup our shipyard office on a one day business trip. As a result, I took along my iPad, Bluetooth Stowaway keyboard, and the Sprint Overdrive to get some work done on the go. I was able to obtain a solid 3G signal in Ketchikan and stay in touch with the office via email.

I also wanted to test out the GPS capability of the Overdrive with my iPad and discovered that the GPS receiver worked well at obtaining a GPS fix, but the Google Maps application on the iPad would not use this fix. However, I was able to use the Overdrive browser-based interface to take that GPS fix and find local coffee places with Google Maps in the web browser. Since the iPad WiFi does not have an integrated GPS receiver this capability in the Overdrive may be quite useful for iPad owners.

Topics: iPad, Hardware, Mobility, Telcos, Wi-Fi

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

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