Channel Partners

August 31, 2007

3 Min Read
Losing the EVDO Challenge to Satellite Internet

By Dan Baldwin, Sales Director, ATEL Communications Inc.

This past July I submitted a blog posting about how I had pitched a small construction company the idea of using a cellular EVDO router to provide broadband Internet access to three computer users in a construction trailer that couldn’t get DSL or cable Internet access. While the demo didn’t go all that well the customer did say he’d buy the router and the solution if I could find a router that could use his EVDO card that had a USB connection because he said his company wouldn’t pay for a second EVDO card. I probably should have given up on the customer, but I couldn’t resist the challenge (and promised my boss I wouldn’t spend more than 15 minutes a week pursuing the opportunity.) I even set up a Web page at to showcase the the cellular EVDO Internet access solution.

The challenge with the customer’s request is that all the EVDO card routers on the market only accept a standard PCMCIA EVDO card. While “caddies” have been created to adapt the new mini-EVDO cards to the standard EVDO PCMCIA slots on the EVDO routers, I could find no such converter to make it possible to use the customer’s USB EVDO card on any EVDO router.

Last week though, thanks to Kitty at Internet Connectivity Group, I did find Top Global’s new MB6800 router that is purported to accommodate a USB EVDO card. Happy that I would be able to solve the customer’s problem, I gave him a call only to discover that they had elected to go with a WildBlue satellite solution to deliver broadband Internet to his construction trailer. I was floored.

The customer said that he didn’t think that the cellular EVDO bandwidth throughput where his trailer was located was going to be good enough to serve the Internet needs of three people. I asked him if he already had it installed because due to the latency challenges (count to three after every click) associated with satellite Internet access few businesses I knew subscribed to a satellite solution if they could get anything else. (I had used Hughes’ DirectPC in my home office a couple years ago for Internet access while I waited for DSL or cable to arrive. Latency is real!)

I advised him to do a Google search of “wildblue latency” to confirm for himself that latency would be a real issue for him. I also suggested that he take another look at the fixed wireless solution I had originally suggested even before the EVDO demo. (He had previously blanched at the $199 price for even 768k Internet access with SkyRiver, a San Diego fixed wireless provider we represent.)

So I still haven’t sold anything to this small San Diego construction company. But the long, slow (and almost entertaining) case study of how one construction company tries to get Internet access to three users in a remote trailer continues. I’ll keep you posted.

Dan Baldwin is founder of


and director of sales at

ATEL Communications Inc.

Founded in 1985, ATEL is the largest NEC telephone equipment dealer in Southern California. Baldwin works with ATEL’s carrier services division that acts as an in-house telecom master agency to sell network services (including SIP trunks and other specialized IP services) to ATEL’s embedded base of 2,000 phone equipment customers. For more information about ATEL’s carrier services division please visit

. TelecomAssociation is a membership organization founded in 1995 that serves the information & communication needs of its 2,500 members who distribute telecom and related services to businesses.

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