Sprint adding EV-DO to next femtocell

in News, EVDO, Sprint, 3G, CDMA, Femtocell

April 7, 2010 - Sprint is getting ready to sell a new, faster version of its Airave device, according to documents filed with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. It's switching to a new hardware vendor, adding a radio for the EV-DO (Evolution-Data Optimized) 3G service and including a port for landline VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) service, according to the documents at the FCC that were originally uncovered by Engadget.

The current Airave only provides coverage on Sprint's CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) 1x network, with speeds around 150K bps (bits per second) or less. To get on the EV-DO network, which delivers several times that performance, Airave users have to rely on Sprint's regular outdoor network. Yet these customers are unlikely to have good access to the main network, because achieving better coverage at home is the key reason for installing a femtocell in the first place.

Femtocells are cellular radios, about the size of a Wi-Fi router, that can be installed in homes and offices and connected to fixed-line broadband connections for access to wired networks. They can improve subscribers' indoor coverage while saving the mobile operator money on cell towers, wired backhaul links and other expensive network infrastructure. Carriers offer them with a variety of prices and service plans.

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