Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Verizon Wireless Broadband Internet Card: Information and Review

I have been a Verizon wireless broadband internet customer for the past six years. Two years ago I relocated to the Palm Springs area from San Diego. Since then I have experienced a much degraded performance of my wireless internet connection. The wireless phone service seems roughly the same as in San Diego, and is basically fine with few dropped calls or dead areas here.

Out here in the desert, my internet connection is achieved solely through my Verizon EVDO card. I am not satisfied with the performance. For that reason, I have put together this brief review and information package about wireless broadband internet technology and my experiences out here in the desert.

I am using a PC5750 EVDO broadband card. The card fits into the PCMCIA slot in my Toshiba laptop running Vista. These EVDO cards have impressive specs. The advertised bandwidth of my EVDO card is 600-1400kbps download and 500-800kbps upload. These rates are the maximum that the Verizon system will support. The bandwidth typically achievable is dependent on several factors. These include, (1) the distance between the user and the nearest tower, (2) sharing bandwidth with other cell and broadband users nearby, (3) atmospheric conditions, weather, solar activity and the like.

My experience here in the desert has been rather disappointing. Verizon only achieves download speeds in the range of 100-500kbps, upload speeds in the range of 50-100kbps. These numbers are only 10% to 20% of the advertised specs. That is slow. It is 1994 dial-up modem slow. Verizon Broadband gets a grade of D for bandwidth. Now to the problem of dropped internet connections. These occur roughly once per day of usage time. Most of the time when the connection is dropped, it cannot be reestablished from the network control panel. Instead one must shut everything down and reboot. This type of connection loss is a big problem. Any current work I am doing online such as filling out forms and editing blog posts is usually lost when the connection is dropped. Verizon achieves only a grade C-minus on connection reliability. Verizon Broadband’s GPA of D-plus is a very poor grade indeed.

Overall, I would rate the broadband service from Verizon wireless as often unreliable, and a constant source of uncertainty and frustration. It is likely that in the near future I will be switching to a Time Warner Cable service package for internet, telephone, and television. If I do that, I will actually be able to stop all use of Verizon wireless services. I would have preferred to stick with Verizon, but the performance of the Internet service via Broadband card, has been unacceptably inadequate.


  1. have you checked to see if better signal results in any better performance? its easy to do. just drive until signal improves, then retest to see if average speeds improve.

    if better signal = better speed, then you may be able to improve upon your signal beyond what that PC5750's antenna can do. check out for more specifics.

    if better signal = no better speeds... then its very likely to be tower load or issues with the tower itself.

  2. Excellent comment. Generally with digital signals, you either get it all perfectly or you get nothing. That's the way with digital television broadcasts. On the other hand we treasure our signal strenght display, the number of bars. So distance to tower probably plays some role in achievable bandwidth. The number of users sharing the bandwidth is probably more important. And TY for the link to the antenna, I will check it out. -S.O.