What is EVDO and How Does It Work?

by Aeyne Schriber on March 20, 2012 in 3G

EVDO is a protocol that is used to establish high speed broadband connectivity to your PC or mobile device to obtain an always-on connection which is capable of working at speeds close to those of a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) connection.  EVDO provides high speed wireless broadband regardless if you are traveling on the road in your car or RV, via a public transportation source, or any location where there is limited Internet connectivity.

EVDO Defined

EVDO stands for Evolution Data Optimized and is commonly referred to by other abbreviations which include 1xEV-DO and EV-DO.  This type of Internet connection is capable of delivering data rate transfer speeds of anywhere from 500K (kilobytes) up to 800K while you create your own individual hotspot.  EVDO began as a rarely used type of technology but as more individuals and organizations recognized its value of providing Internet access from any location, EVDO became a front runner for a lot of businesses and organizations that have a staff of remote workers.  EVDO connections have also become commonplace for those individuals who desire to get things done while on the road.

Many EVDO providers have been equipping laptops and other portable devices with what is known as an EVDO card to enable individuals to create their own hotspot and workers to access Virtual Private Networks from almost any location.  To establish a hotspot you simply install the software which is typically provided by your wireless carrier and then insert the EVDO card into your device.  Once you insert the card it launches the utility and then connects you to the Internet.  It’s that simple.

How EVDO Works

EVDO is derived from a standard which is known as 1xRTT which stands for Single-Carrier Radio Transmission Technology.  This standard is actually built on 2G technology which is only one step above a dial-up connection.  However, the reasoning is that second generation (2G) technology is available in any location where you have cell phone connectivity.  The reason this is important is 1xRTT which works on 2G has been in existence longer than EVDO. This means that if you are traveling and are in a remote location you can still obtain a 2G connection if EVDO is unavailable.  Although this results in accessing the Internet with a slower connection it is better than no connectivity at all.

EVDO is basically a 3G technology which means that you must have coverage by your cell phone carrier in the location where you want to use your EVDO card.  This is where 1xRTT can be useful if you are not located near a tower that is transmitting a 3G wireless signal.  When you do have access to a tower with a wireless signal EVDO connections have proven to be very fast and reliable with speeds as high as 1400Kbps (kilobytes per second) if you are in the right location.

EVDO is offered in a variety of formats including a USB device, PCMCIA card, or ExpressCard which can be inserted into your portable device or, they can be used with a 3G router so others can share the connection with you.  EVDO is typically offered through your cell phone carrier when you subscribe to the service.

EVDO Coverage

If you are wondering about EVDO coverage in your area you can learn more about EVDO connectivity by clicking here.  EVDO is available in many metropolitan areas throughout the world with the amount of coverage improving as 3G and 4G connections become more widely available.  If you are in one of these areas the coverage is typically very generous however, in other locations where there is not an abundance of cell phone towers your EVDO connection may be intermittent or non-existent.

Boosting an EVDO Signal

If you are in an area that allows you to implement EVDO but you are experiencing an intermittent signal, it is possible to boost the signal using an EVDO antenna.  This is a special antenna which increases the strength of the signal when you apply the antenna to your EVDO card or device.  An EVDO antenna is extremely portable and works by simply connecting it into the port which is typically provided on your EVDO card or device.

Advantages of EVDO

The main advantage of using EVDO is you basically have a connection that is always on with minimum hassles when it comes to roaming to other networks.  This is a primary benefit over a WiFi connection where you are only connected when you are within range of an Internet access point.  Other advantages include:

  • Signal:  An EVDO signal is capable of being transmitted on the same communication lines as cell phones without any interference.  You are also not limited to a certain amount of footage from the cell tower or a public WiFi spot.
  • Broader Range of Service:  If you are in an area that does not have a high speed broadband connection via Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) or cable, an EVDO connection may be a possibility for you as an alternative high speed Internet broadband connection.
  • Corporate VPN:  If you are remote worker or you conduct business while on the road, EVDO provides you with a way to access your company’s Virtual Private Network using you cell phone and a signal that offers secure encryption.

EVDO provides you with high speed capacity at a much lower cost while allowing you to access applications in real-time from virtually any location.  This means that you can enjoy applications such as TV programs and other multimedia which require a connection capable of providing real-time.  Additionally, many of the mobile devices are being manufactured by OEMs with EVDO preinstalled on the device.

One disadvantage might be when you are traveling abroad.  It is important to map your route in advance to see if you are going to be in locations which offer EVDO connectivity.  Also, if it is possible to connect using EVDO you should check with your cell phone carrier in advance to discover what their rates are when you travel internationally.  Although your carrier may offer a global plan this type of plan can sometimes be cost prohibitive.

EVDO utilizes the exact same frequencies as current CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) which is also used by a broad range of radio communications.  This is a key component in reducing the costs associated with an EVDO connection.  If you travel abroad it is important to pay attention to the standard that is being used in the location you are visiting.  If the location is operating on High Speed Downlink Packet Access or HSDPA you mobile device may not be supported on this type of network depending upon the services provided by your cell phone carrier.

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