Sierra Wireless 598U AirCard – First Look

Sierra Wireless 598 USB Modem (Sprint) Let’s cut the chit chat.

You’re interested in the Sierra Wireless 598U or you wouldn’t be here.

Most likely, you’ve got some questions like:

  • Will I have excellent coverage where I am and when I travel?
  • How does it look like?
  • Will it be fast enough for sufing the web and my downloading?
  • How does it work?
  • Will it work with my laptop without major hassles?
  • Who’s got the best deal?

I understand where you’re coming from.

These questions are completely normal for anyone shopping to get a broadband card. We’ll cover those bases and other insider information here. After you’re armed to the teeth, you’ll know if this is the card for you.

If I don’t cover all the bases, don’t get the card. Instead, do me a favor. Drop me a line at the end of the page and let me know why you didn’t. That way I can make it better.

Let’s get to it.

Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Details
  3. Image Gallery
  4. Manufacturer’s Description
  5. Manual
  6. Product Specifications
  7. Where To Get It

1.

What’s Good:

The Sierra Wireless 598U is very compact with a 32GB expandable microSD slot. Throw in some GPS and a belt clip and you’ve got the next broadband card by Sprint.

What’s Bad:

Why does it have to stick out to the side? It’s just an accident waiting to happen.

Price:
$199.99
Make $50
(at time of review)

Provider:

Sprint"

Reviewed on: 02/13/09

2.
598U side viewAt first a glance, you’ll notice that the Sierra Wireless 598U is pretty compact. As a matter of fact, it’s just a big shorter than a business card and about as wide as most flash drives.

You’ll also notice what I first thought of as a belt clip (silly broadband card reviewer) that allows the 598U to clip to the top of your laptop, monitor or other slim object you have nearby to get better signal.

This isn’t a bad move for a USB Aircard considering that they usually stick out the side of laptops waiting for something bad to happen to them. This actually keeps it out the way a bit. As for the ‘geek’ factor? Not way up there but it’ll definitely garner the oh-so-coveted “what’s that?” from the mobile broadband uninitiated.

Speaking of attention grabbing, the 598U also features two LED lights that convey the status of the device. That’s not so bad. What’s a bit over the top is the Sprint Logo that lights up in the dark. I can see YouTube spoof commercials where people use it for a replacement flashlight to shine under their chin around a campfire.

Aesthetics aside, the Sierra Wireless 598U is EVDO Revision A. In other words, to answer the “how fast is it question”, the official answer is:

With a Sprint Mobile Broadband Card, you get average download speeds of 600-1400 Kbps, peaking at 3.1 Mbps, and 350-500 Kbps average upload speeds, peaking at 1.8 Mbps.Similar to DSL, and about ten times faster than using a dial-up modem”

Wireless Broadband Exposed (Readers)Of course, real world results vary. I cover this in great detail in Lesson 8 of the free Mobile Broadband Buyer’s Guide. Definitely a must read for anyone seriously considering getting or replacing their current mobile broadband.

The 598U comes with some good features that are becoming standard in USB broadband cards (particularly from Sierra Wireless). It has a 32 GB microSD slot that goes above and beyond what most flash drives offer. It’s practically an iPod/emergency backup solution.

In addition to this, it comes packaged with Sierra Wireless’ TruInstall . What this means is that no CD should be required for installation. In the past, one would still need a Sprint CD to install the actual software to activate the device on the network. This led some of our readers to ask “Do I need a CD for the CD-less installation?”. Didn’t exactly earn manufacturers cool points. Not so anymore.

The Sprint Smartview software comes already packaged on the device and should prompt you for installation upon plugging the card in. When you couple this with Sprint’s “One-Touch” activation, you get your aircard up and running in no time.

Sprint Smartview Connection Manager

One other particularly handy feature I’ve found is the support of “Suspend” and “Resume” after not using your laptop. If you put your laptop into sleep, or hibernation and ‘wake’ it up, the device will automagically re-connect for a seemingly always on connection. If you had this built-in to your laptop, you wouldn’t even know you were ‘dialing up’ to connect to the network. It’s pretty smooth.

Domestic Coverage

The Sierra Wireless 598U runs on Sprint’s Mobile Broadband network. After some reviewing that I covered in Lesson 10 of Mobile Broadband Buyer’s Guide, you’ll see how Sprint has the largest mobile broadband network.

With Mobile Broadband coverage from Sprint, you can harness the power of the nation’s largest mobile broadband network. Reaching over 230 million people (with roaming-included areas), service is available in 218 major metro markets and 1,002 airports coast-to-coast”

It’s definitely a plus for any road warrior (RVing, trucking, or otherwise). If you’re airport hopping from city to city, you’ll definitely be covered. Having tested this along 1001 miles of interstate myself, it’s definitely solid.

While on the topic of coverage, let me touch quickly on another feature. The 598U has built-in GPS (that you can use for free). While it’s not the premium turn-by-turn directions stuff, it definitely has it’s uses.

Let’s say you just flew into a city to visit the in-laws. You’re really not enjoying them and feel the need to hop in the rent-a-car to breathe at a local Starbucks. You may not necessarily want to tell them you need to get away to a Starbucks (when there’s coffee sitting in the kitchen). So, you whip out your GPS enabled 598U, it finds your location and maps the nearest Starbucks with directions for you.

Case closed, feelings spared and your spouse still loves you.

Do I have your interest? Here’s where to get it. I’ve thrown in a couple snapshots below for you as well. Hover over them for a bigger picture.

3.
598U598U598U598U598U

4.

The Sierra Wireless 598U is an all in one connection device with a microSD slot capable of 32GB creating not only a wireless high-speed data access device, but also a storage drive. It provides a wireless connection for your desktop and laptop.

The Sierra Wireless 598U is designed to operate on CDMA supporting Sprint EV-DO Rev. A mobile broadband service. The Average download speeds are 600 Kbps-1.4 Mbps with peak speeds of 3.1 Mbps. Average upload speeds are 350-500 Kbps with peak speeds of 1.8 Mbps.

Backwards compatible to CDMA EV-D0 Rev. 0 and 1xRTT in areas where Sprint EV-DO Rev. A coverage is not available. The Sierra Wireless 598U is also GPS Enabled and supports Sprint Location Services for Sprint Mobile Broadband users.

You can use this to find nearby restaurants, gas stations, banks, and mopre without entering their current location. With easy Sprint SmartView Installation there is no CD required to install the Sierra Wireless 598U on Windows or Mac operating systems.

Sierra Wireless 598 USB Modem (Sprint)

  • Download speed up to 3.1 Mbps
  • Familiar USB connection
  • Small, durable, fixed design
  • microSD memory slot up to 32GB
  • Compatible with Windows Vista and XP or Mac OS X or higher
  • Sprint SmartViewSM software on the device
  • TRU-Install automatic software installation

Included Accessories

  • Laptop clip with USB connection cable
  • Getting started guide
  • Sprint SmartView software
  • Pre-Loaded user guide

5.
From the Manufacturer

Download Manual in PDF

6.
From the Manufacturer

Data Card Type USB
Removable Memory Card – Type Not Available
Voice Frequencies 850/1900
Operating System Not Applicable
Headset Jack Type N/A
Data Frequencies 850/1900
Phone Size Small
Antenna Type Internal
Color Display No
Dimensions (H x W x D) 3.1 x 0.9 x 0.4 in
Weight (w/standard battery) 0.7 oz
External Volume Control No
Hearing Aid Compliance Not Available
Language Options N/A
Vibrating Alert No
External LCD No
Service / Support 1 Year Warranty

7.

There are two kinds of people that visit this page.

Buy Now

The 1st person that knows that this is the card they want and they’re doing their due diligence. If that’s you, I hope I’ve done that for you. If I have, then you can pick up Sierra Wireless 598U and make $50.

If I haven’t covered everything, let me know what’s missing.

Wirelesss Broadband ExposedThe 2nd person that reads this page is considering this card but has not made up their mind yet. If that’s you, there are two things you need to do:

I. Sign up for the free “Mobile Broadband Buyer’s Guide

It’s like your pre-marital counselor and prenuptial agreement all in one. It’ll save you from any future heartache and checkbook punches that might come your way.

It’s been designed to explain in four short, detailed lessons what most people don’t know about Mobile Broadband.

II. Check out the Broadband Card Comparison

You’ll get a good feel for what to look for in a Broadband Card. It’s designed to compliment the Wireless Broadband Exposed course so that you’ve got the right card and the right plan at the right price without any fear.

Related Reading: Contact Me

Mobile Broadband Buyer’s Guide (The Free Online E-Course)

The Top 4 Places to Get An Aircard

2010 Broadband Card Comparison

Wireless Broadband Service Comparison

What is Mobile Broadband? Tech Talk Demystified

International Wireless Broadband – AT&T Tops the Chart

Need more info? Check out the rest of the mobile broadband reviews.

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1 Comment

  1. Holly says:


    I’m trying to find out whether the 598U can serve several laptops at once. We have a group of staff that travels to outreach clinics where sometimes they need a wireless modem. Someone said this one aircard will serve several people (up to 8?) at once, but that uses up the allotted air time faster? Can you explain?


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