Sprint Ups The Ante With WiMAX-Capable WWAN Routers

The world of mobile broadband routers just got a lot more interesting. With Sprint recently announcing ten new markets in which Clearwire's CLEAR WiMAX will be distributed, the introduction of this device couldn't possibly be more timely. Sprint's Personal Hotspot PHS300S and Cradlepoint's MBR-1000 Broadband Router for business are both being launched today, hot on the heels of the Novatel Wireless MiFi 2200 intelligent mobile hotspot.

Unlike the latter, which supports data transfers as high as 3G, the new duo also supports 4G, or WiMAX. Both devices can tap into Sprint's EV-DO Rev A. network or the expanding Clearwire WiMAX network, whichever is available. From there, the
PHS300S can beam out those mobile data signals to up to four users over 802.11g Wi-Fi; the MBR-1000 does the same basic thing, but it can support up to 32 simultaneous connections over 802.11n. For those still fuzzy on what this box does, think of it this way. The router connects to Sprint's 3G or 4G network (via a mobile broadband device that you insert), and your Wi-Fi capable machine simply sees a nearby Wi-Fi point. Once you connect, you receive a ticket to the information superhighway just like you would when connecting to any other WLAN router, but rather than it tapping into your home broadband connection, this one relies on Sprint's mobile data network(s).

Used in combination with Sprint mobile broadband devices, like the 3G/4G USB Modem U300, these Mobile Broadband Routers can simultaneously connect Wi-Fi-enabled smartphones, laptops, MP3 players, cameras, gaming devices and other Wi-Fi-enabled devices to the Sprint 3G and 4G networks. Both units are available for use with any Sprint 3G or 4G data plan ranging from $39.99 to $79.99 per month, while the routers themselves will cost $159.99 (PHS300S) and $249.99 (MBR-1000).

The first and only national carrier to offer 4G wireless services, Sprint currently offers 4G in Baltimore and will launch 4G in Portland, Atlanta and Las Vegas in August. Sprint 4G provides average downlink speeds of 3-6 Mbps and peak downlink speeds of over 10 Mbps, three to five times faster than today’s 3G service from any carrier (based on average download speeds).

The following markets are included on the list to experience Sprint 4G in 2009: Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Portland and Seattle. Also available for customers nationwide is the Sprint 3G/4G USB Modem U300, which provides the best of both worlds - the fast 3G speeds and lightning-fast 4G speeds wherever 4G is available.