Working With the Sprint Overdrive 4G

Overdrive Mac

I am working away in the local coffee shop but not partaking of the Wi-Fi, at least not the store’s. I brought my own Wi-Fi in the shape of the little Sprint Overdrive 3G/4G modem. I have been evaluating the Overdrive for a few days and this morning I did something crazy — I went to a Sprint store and bought one. I never could get the evaluation unit to connect to the Sprint 4G network near me, and reached the point I was confident the unit was defective. So I got my own to replace my Verizon MiFi and its measly 3G connectivity.

I have been on the Sprint 4G network for all of two hours and it is as good as I thought it would be. The speed with my MacBook is outstanding, I am seeing around 3 Mbps downloads and almost 1 Mbps uploads. This speed is being served to both my MacBook and my iPad over the Overdrive’s Wi-Fi routing capability, and with one exception it is working great.

I can tell that working on a laptop over 4G is almost as good as my high-speed connection at home. Once connected things pop, and it doesn’t feel like a mobile solution at all. It is game changing, frankly.

The Overdrive is configurable using any web browser over the internal Wi-Fi connection. I am going to experiment with this configuration as I am seeing a problem with the iPad maintaining a connection to the modem for very long. I have seen others reporting this problem online, and my gut feeling is it is due to the Overdrive handling multiple Wi-Fi protocols. By default it auto-switches between 802.11 b and g (no draft-n, unfortunately), and my gut tells me this switching is what is giving the iPad problems staying connected. I am going to force the Overdrive to work in 802.11g only and see how that works.

The Overdrive automatically connects to the Sprint 4G network when it is detected, and drops down to the 3G (EVDO) network when 4G is not available. This makes it a total replacement for the MiFi, with the additional benefit of 4G. Throw in the unlimited data on 4G and it is a no-brainer.

Right this moment I have my MacBook, iPad and iPhone 3G all connected to Sprint 4G using the Overdrive, and life is good. I love mobile tech.

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