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Sprint AIRAVE Overview

As new technologies emerge you may suddenly come to realize just how antiquated your current technology is.  This is precisely what I thought about when I first came across the new Sprint Airave pictured below – a solution that I would absolutely love to have installed right now.

Sprint Airave

The Sprint Airave is a device that connects to your home or office broadband data service and creates an indoor CDMA signal footprint (covering up to 5,000 square feet) for your mobile phone – thus providing you with an enhanced and more reliable coverage within your home or office if your existing wireless coverage is poor or unavailable.

More importantly however the Sprint AIRAVE is much more than just a cool little  “mobile signal booster”.  For starters, with the $15/month AIRAVE Unlimited Voice Plan ($30 for Family) you get the opportunity to make and receive calls on your existing Sprint CDMA phone number from the location where the device is installed without using a single one of your precious and expensive mobile inbound or outbound voice plan minutes (see picture below) – something which in my case would save me a bundle. 

Sprint Airave Phone

Next there is the simple matter of convenience.  Once the AIRAVE device is installed you and up to two more people can basically make and receive ALL your calls from your Sprint Treo or Centro smartphone (or _any_ other Sprint CDMA mobile phone) instead of using your traditional home landline phone.  [Up to 50 cell phones can be registered on an AIRAVE base station but only three callers can simultaneously use it.]

The benefit of no longer using a landline alone is worth a bundle to me as it saves me the hassle of having to regularly manually enter contact numbers into the memory of my “dumb” home or office phone while providing the convenience to quickly dial any number that I want using TAKEphONE from my smartphone (which is always hotsynched and up-to-date with all my Outlook contacts).  There’s also the side benefit that I could now make and receive calls handsfree using my Jawbone Bluetooth Headset for example.

Additionally, all the normal phone functions like voicemail and text messaging continue to work within your AIRAVE coverage area (the data is sent via your broadband line).  Also all calls originating inside the area automatically transfer to the Sprint Nationwide Network once you leave the coverage area but those that start outside do not.

The AIRAVE device also has a “location” limitation as a built-in GPS ensures that the box is active only within a specific geographic area – thus (sadly) preventing people from taking it along with them to Mexico, Berlin or Tokyo to benefit from cheap inbound and outbound calls on their smartphone…

I have unfortunately not yet been able to test the AIRAVE unit because it’s currently only available in select areas of Denver and Indianapolis but based on the cost and functionality that this device offers I would most likely be one of the first people to sign up for it once it becomes available nationwide.  I also wouldn’t mind seeing AT&T and Verizon releasing a similar service…

I’m curious to know what you think: if such a service were available from your mobile carrier today would you be interested in getting it?

Treonauts are always curious to see what’s new


Posted by Andrew on April 17, 2008 at 11:41 AM

Centro Accesories , Treo Accessories

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Comments

1
by Jake | Apr 17, 2008 12:19:13 PM

One big problem with the AIRAVE: as I understand it, it does not support 3g (EVDO). And while your phone is using it, it will be forced down to pre-EVDO data speeds.

Wouldn't be an issue if the Treo's (or your smart phone of choice) had WiFi, but as it were, it's a big show stopper.

2
by Jim Parker | Apr 17, 2008 12:33:38 PM

The Airave supports 1X voice & data, currently does not support 1xEV-DO. The 1X data throughput should be fast as you are not sharing the bandwidth with other users, (as you are on the macro network).

Let me know if you have any questions.

Regards,
Jim Parker
j.parker@samsung.com

3
by Alan | Apr 17, 2008 12:52:53 PM

I have been following the Sprint Airave for a while; when I moved houses in late 06 I found I cannot get Sprint coverage for the first time since I became a customer in 1999. While I am excited about the potential of the airave, I'm not sure I buy into having to pay both for the device and monthly fee just I can have coverage (living in metropolitan where Sprint has coverage throughout). I may considering switching carriers since Verizon and AT&T seem to work fine in my house.

4
by MartyB | Apr 17, 2008 2:00:24 PM

I too had problems with reception in my house, fortunately when I got my new Mogul phone, it had an option to place myself into roaming only mode. This put me on Verizon's network and 5 bars of signal. Just make sure that you have the roaming option on your plan. When you leave your house place youself into automatic or Sprint mode, since Sprints frowns if you roam too much. You may say, well then why don't you move over to Verizon - Sprint is MUCH cheaper in my case.

5
by Matt Dallas | Apr 17, 2008 9:14:18 PM

I think that if Sprint does move forward with this device, it could give Sprint a Huge boost, people would never have reception issues again in areas that they have access to high-speed internet. The primary function is for voice, not data, who would actually prefer using the web on their phone vs their home computer anyways???
There would be no need for home phones, because for the cost and unlimited usage, having an Airave would make more sense than a home line.

6
by David Dunaway | Apr 17, 2008 11:31:44 PM

This would be great for me. I am a small business owner and even though we have an office phone my cell is the primary means of communication. This could greatly cut my cell minutes (3500+/month) I find myself using my cell even when sitting right next to a land line.

7
by Jake | Apr 17, 2008 11:40:54 PM

Fair enough Jim, but EV-DO has other advantages beyond speed.

Most notably, as I understand it, calls will interrupt EV-DO data connections but not 1X data. I get a fair amount of e-mail pushed to my phone and missed a good number of calls back in my Treo 650 days as a result. More so than sheer speed, the avoidance of these missed calls was a big advantage that came with my upgrade to an EV-DO device (755p).

8
by Jim | Apr 20, 2008 12:45:24 PM

Do you HAVE to get the "unlimited calling" plan for $15 in order to use this?

I already have unlimited calling on my cell phone. I do not want to pay another $15 for unlimited calling on the Airave when I do not need it.

Can you use the device without the plan?

9
by Willy | Apr 21, 2008 6:46:08 PM

Let me get this straight: Although I am well within Sprint's service area, I have poor reception at my house, so I have to pay an additional $15 a month to get service that Sprint should be already providing? And unlimited calls? These calls are not using any of Sprint's bandwidth--they are using MY cable bandwidth, which I'M paying for!

10
by Liberty For ALL! | Apr 23, 2008 6:12:38 PM

I don't see why you have to pay for this service?! I should be able to use the phone bandwidth to use however I choose, and this seems like a glorified SIP device that uses the cellular network instead of via cable/dsl/fiber.

Being able to switch to VoIP calls automatically based on proximity over 802.11B/G/N will become standard on smart-phones soon. I think iPhone will lead the way. Look at the Fring.com client for iPhone today, you can make WiFi calls via SIP & Skype TODAY.

Something like this for AT&T would be interesting, that supported HSPA...

11
by Bob | Apr 25, 2008 12:58:30 PM

You only have to pay monthly if you want unlimited calling at home.

If you're happy to use your plan minutes when you're at home, you just have to pay the one-time fee for the Airave device.

12
by tony | May 5, 2008 3:11:30 PM

I WANT IT NOW! This thing is awesome, I also heard rummors that a firmware upgrade will be availble to allow 3G data compatability.
GIVE ME AIRAVE NOW!
This would be so beneficial, signal in my home and office are low and I would love the unlimited usage while connected to it.
SPRINT IS THE BEST, fastest network, and great products. Just hurry up and get it to the public!!!

13
by Brett | May 16, 2008 12:51:44 PM

Actually, first post by Jake is not really accurate, EVDO speed on Airave will be available in late 2008 (Airave s/b available initially in Q3 in most markets).

14
by Shane Hill | May 26, 2008 11:12:04 AM

So how the heck do I get my hands on one of these. The representatives at Sprint (at least the onese at the call centers) have no idea what I'm talking about.

Help!!!
signofthearcher@gmail.com

Thanks in advance!

Shane Hill

15
by Rich G | May 27, 2008 6:02:37 PM

Rumor at SprintUsers is that national rollout of Airave will be either mid- or late-June (2008). It is available now to business users.

16
by Rolando | May 28, 2008 4:02:36 PM

I have a question, and I think it would be very interesting. I have an "unlimited" data plan with a sprint mobile bradband data card plan. I'm using a cradlepoint 3g router in my house with the novatel U727 plugged in it so I have wifi around my house with a sprint data conection card and also, thanks to the cradlepoint router, I have 4 ethernet ports available. Since the airave needs a connection via ethernet; It would be posible to use the airave service using a sprint aircard as a network? If it's possible it would be agreat deal for me, since I have the simply everything plan and I wouldn't care about using excesive minutes and in the same way I will be using sprint's bandwidth since my home network is conected via a sprint data card!!

17
by mike | Jul 31, 2008 1:54:40 PM

Nobody answered Jim, Willy, and Liberty for all??? If you already killed your land-line and have the $99 unlimited plan, why pay extra to use bandwidth that your already paying for???

18
by ikeray | Nov 14, 2008 3:42:43 PM

mike, the reason for the device is poor coverage in the house. my brother has that issue, he has the unlimited plan but has 1 bar reception in his house at best, drops lots of calls mainly because he has a metal roof.

someone mentioned that if you don't mind using your plan minutes you can just pay the 1 time fee of $100 and get the airave to boost your coverage. although, as per sprint's website, its only $5/month fee and $100 one time fee.

19
by ERAMO | Dec 19, 2008 6:45:50 PM

I GOT THE AIRAVE WEDNESDAY 12/17/08.I LIKE IT SO FAR WE HAVE USED 4 SPRINT PHONES ON THIS DEVICE.MY SISTERS @I DON'T HAVE A LANDLINE ANYMORE.WE WILL SEE IF THIS PAYS OFF,ON OUR PHONE BILL,WE HAVE UNLIMITED ON OUR CELLPHONES.SO THIS WILL WORKOUT FOR US,IN THE LONG RUN.GREENVILLE,S.C. FINALLY GOT SOMETHING FIRST, OFF THE MARKET FOR ONCE.THE EQUIPMENT WAS JUST SAY $106.00,WITH TAXES,THIS IS PRETTY REASONABLE.YOU KNOW THEY HAVE TO WORKOUT ALL THE KINKS,IN THE EQUIPMENT.IT
TAKES TIME,FOR THIS,TO HAPPEN ALL AT ONCE.

20
by ERAMO | Dec 19, 2008 6:56:43 PM

I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF I CAN GET POINTS FOR THIS FROM MY POINT.FOR BUYING THIS AIRAVE?

21
by pw | Nov 25, 2009 6:40:13 PM

Not happy with my Airave. It improves voice calls but switches all our phones from 1XEV to 1X and we lose all data connections, got no Blackberry email or web access. Prior to getting the Airave we had a decent data signal but lousy voice connections. Sprint tech support was no help at all. Any suggestions?

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