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Reviewed: Verizon Wireless VZAccess Manager with the PC 5220 Card

Back in April I posted this review: Reviewed: Verizon Wireless Broadband Access with the AirPrime PC 5220 card.  This review has gotten a lot of feedback over that last few months.  Now is a good time to consolidate some of the feedback and evaluate the VZAccess Manager.



This manager is essentially a dashboard that allows you to select which wireless networks you wish to logon to.  You can logon to Verizon Wireless’ NationalAccess and BroadbandAccess networks as well as other 802.11 type wireless connections.  This is about all I use it for.  I never really cared for apps that try to tie together email, internet, etc.  They just never seem to get it right.



The two main benefits of using the VZAccess Manager are:



-The Venturi Client.  This compression system has boosted my bandwidth significantly.  The FAQ’s state 30-40% better performance than the standard compression.  I think it is a pretty accurate statement.



-The increased signal strength.  My signal strength has more than doubled since I began using this manager.  I’m not exactly sure how this works, but I am able to verify it by closing the VZAccess Manager and opening up the Mobile Connection Manager that comes with the card.  It is a noticeable difference.



I highly recommend switching to the VZAccess Manager.  It is free and can be downloaded either from the corporate site (requires you to enter your phone #), or from here under the Critical Software Updates section.



Do not uninstall the Mobile Connection Manager!  The drivers are required for the VZAccess Manager to operate your card.



PCI PCMICA for the desktop




I also use my card with my tower at home.  I use the Koutech PCI to PCMCIA Controller Card that I purchased from www.newegg.com.  The 5220 card requires 3.3 volts to run.  This controller runs at either 3.3 or 5 volts and works great.



Antennas:




Here are the two parts that I have purchased (in delivery) to boost my signal strength:



Adapter Cable: http://www.yourwirelesssource.com/PhoneAccessoryDetail.asp?SKU=421575&Phone=VERIZON+PC5220


The Multi Whip CellAntenna Magnetic Mount:
http://cellantenna.com/Antennas/magneticmount.htm



I will review both of these when they arrive.



Ping times:



Low ping times are important.  I average about 350 ms.  Verizon Wireless tech support has stated an average ping time of 234 ms.  I would consider anything under a 400-500 ms ok for VPN connections, gaming, etc.  I have yet to try Battle Field 1942 out over this connection, but I soon will.  Paul won’t stop hounding me to play.


*The frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page that I put together can be found here:*


http://codebetter.com/blogs/mark.digiovanni/archive/2005/01/29.aspx




–Mark


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35 Responses to Reviewed: Verizon Wireless VZAccess Manager with the PC 5220 Card

  1. chris says:

    I am trying to use remote desktop connection for vista and the remote machine is useing VZaccess card usb720. I try and ping the machine that machine and it times out. How do I get a pingable IP address for these cards

  2. mike says:

    http://vzw.smithmicro.com/Download/Default.aspx

    incase you need verizon software (manager), PS “the reason the manager is better” it looks for the strongest freq. in the cell you are in.

  3. Mike says:

    If you want to share the “internet” connection between laptops you could try sharing the internet connection (laptop with wireless card, “master”) between the others (“slave”, I think the XP PRO allows 5 users max). simply follow your connection wizard in XP. You will have to set up a wireless LAN first to get all the computers talking to each other.

    Speed will decrease as more users use the PC card, of course. probably only good for checking e-mail with all 5 users on.

    If your crazy enough or really need it or you want to see a dramatic difference use a YAGI antenna (in your freq range), regardless of where you are. Mount it on a directional platform, rotate slowly for max signal, acts like a sat dish.

    I can pull video from over 10 miles away with a YAGI antenna, with a transmitter umping out only 300mW. Cell phones range from 300mW – 600mW

  4. Teri says:

    Rafael,
    I use the 5220 aircard all the time with the Wilson amplifier and antenna. (I’m a full-time RV’er – I have no choice) The part number for the cable you want is 359917. You can buy it on eBay and you can get it on Amazon.

    FOR KAT-
    The card times out if you don’t get or send data within a certain amount of time. I’ve tried the others too and they all do the same thing. Verizon seems to have the longest time before you do dormant. If you’ll just find a web cam that refreshes every 10-15 seconds and set that as your home page, It should cure the problem. :)

  5. Rafael Orta says:

    Hi I have a Qualcom aircard 5220 with the Verizon service, I use to have the antenna from CellAntena and the adapter they sell (CAD143). However somebody at work stole my antena with the adapter. I was able to purchase a new antenna however the adapter is out of stock in cellAntena. I read here that most of you bought the adapter from

    http://www.yourwirelesssource.com/PhoneAccessoryDetail.asp?SKU=421575&Phone=VERIZON+PC5220

    However when I go to the link it shows that is only compatible with the following phones:

    “Antenna adapter cable with FME male connector for LG L1100, L1150, L1200, L1400, C1300, C2000, G4015, G4020, VX4650, VX4700 and others. Compatible with the models listed below.”

    I called them and an as_ h___e in that suppose to be the expert in
    customer rep told me that they do not sell adapters for cards but for phones.

    Has somebody used the antenna below

    “Manufactured by Wilson Cellular
    Model Number (Part Number): 359919 (359919)

    Antenna adapter cable with FME male connector for LG L1100, L1150, L1200, L1400, C1300, C2000, G4015, G4020, VX4650, VX4700 and others. Compatible with the models listed below. ”

    for a Verizon PC5220 Aircard by Qualcomm?

    Thanks in advance

    Rafael Orta

  6. Kat Robertson says:

    I have the Verizon wireless VZAcess Manager and the PC 5220 air card and it’s been a nightmare experience for me. The card only works correctly for me when I am in a broadband access area. Unfortunately, I live out in the country and only get the National Access area and the card does not work well in those areas.

    It CONSTANTLY times out when I am trying to connect to a ‘website or says it cannot find a server’ or when I am on a website, ever link or interaction I do it times out. This is true no matter whether I use firefox or internet explorer. As far as I am concerned this card is worthless. I am thinking of trying their PC 5740 card (think that’s the newer card).

    Ohhh yeah, I’ve talked with technical support numerous times and they were less than helpful, including telling me to totally uninstall Venturi because it was known to conflict with alot of software programs, and they are CLUELESS as to what the problem is with the timing out and want to just send me refurbished PC 5220 aircard.

    Do you think getting an antennae would be of any help for this?

  7. Robert carlson says:

    I have installed a Ricoh R5C485 PCI to PCMCIA Controller Card, but it willnot except my PC 5220.

    The Lucent USB open Host Controller will not belcome active because it tells me that I don’t have enough resourse and would have to delet a device to make room, will I tried that and I get the same answers. I have tried to reinstall the Lucent driver but that didn’t do any good.

    Any have any ideals

    Maybe a new controller card?

    other@oneplaceonly.com

  8. Mike says:

    For those that are having problems with VPN, make sure that Venturi is removed or turned off. It gets in the way of VPN. Also, for those doing the SuperCharged EVDO (directions free at our web site), do not upgrade to the latest PC5220 Firmware that was just released, as you will lose this capability.

    We have create a couple of web sites to help the EVDO community, they are:

    http://www.EVDOinfo.com
    http://www.EVDOforums.com

    Hopefully, you will find them helpful, informative, honest and accurate!

  9. Brandon Kem says:

    I’ve been attempting to create a VPN across 4 laptops to sync databases for business and running into nothing but dead ends. I noticed that you stated the airprime / verizon aircard works good for VPN’s. Can you lend some direction to how you did it? I would really appreciate it.
    Sincerely,
    Brandon Kem

  10. Bob says:

    RE: working the voice phone and the card on one antenna with a ‘splitter': DON’T TRY IT: remember these are really two way radios; they both receive and transmit. Feeding a transmitter (say the voice phone) directly into a receiver (say the 5220 card, or vice versa) by connecting their antenna leads might blow the receiver immediately. And the two will interfere with each other even if it doesn’t do damage.

    Bob

  11. Bob says:

    I have been using the 5220 now for several weeks in the DC / Baltimore and trying out various external antenna combinations ranging from magnet mount up to 9-element beam. I am now convinced the ‘Signal Strength’ indication is a lot more or less than the radio RF strength. Example: Seeing ‘54%’ in the house, on the internal card antenna, also on the mag mount. Put the mag mount over 15 feet up outside; still ‘54%’or very slightly different. Put computer in (big, tall) car with magmount, tour multi-block area, up hill and down, still ‘54%’. This included intentionally cycling the card connect/disconnect to force a current strength indication. All of this is within one mile of the DC Beltway and near Rt. 50. Pass NASA Goddard northbound; over hilltop; signal goes to 100% and stays solid. This shows that potential help of external antenna is likely to be highly site specific; the 9-element beam (set for the 800 MHz side) can typically get 2 more bars than internal antenna, even indoors, but signal strength is still very limited in this neighborhood despite proximity to major roads. At signal strength 50% service does work but with long pauses (some of these are the remote servers). Bob DC Maryland suburbs 2/1/05

  12. Mark says:

    John,

    Please visit the FAQ page. I’ve listed how to do this here:

    http://codebetter.com/blogs/mark.digiovanni/archive/2005/01/29.aspx

    –Mark

  13. john says:

    IS THERE A WAY TO CONNECT 2 LAPTOPS WITH ONE WIRELESS BROADBANDACCESS SUBSCRIPTION WITH VERIZON? BASICALLY IF WE CAN USE ONE PC 5220 CARD OR SOMEHOW CONNECT THE 2ND LAPTOP WITH A WIFI CARD? ANY POSSSIBILITIES? I WANT THE SERVICE, BUT I WANT IT BOTH ON MY & MY WIFE’S LAPTOP….THANX FOR ALL THE HELP!

  14. Gerry says:

    Mark,

    Thanks for recommending VZAccess Manager.

    I was using the software that came with the card and this is an improvement.

    I have the tried the Antenna that is being sold on EVDO-coverage.com, don’t buy it! I have bought that antenna and there is not or not a lot of differnce!

    Besides you can buy the antenna direct form the manufacturer for $39.- http://www.antennas.com/arcProduct.html

    EVDO-coverge.com is charging $269.- HELLO!

    That brings me to my next point, is that firmware that they are trying to sell you a bit too expensive?

    Besides, where did it come from? I bet you that it left the Verizon lab thru the backdoor. I believe that verizon should provide it to us for free as legitimate users of the 5220 card!

    Or does anybody have a link where one can download it to evaluate?

    Thanks, keep up this great site.

  15. Bill says:

    I just upgraded to the pc 5220 card and didn’t realize that you needed USB 2.0 to get it to work. Is that true? I’m running a Thinkpad T23, WinXP pro with SP2.

    Thanks,

  16. Mark says:

    Tim,

    I use this combo all the time. I never drop my connection. The only thing I would say is the adapter cable that connects your card to the antenna is delicate. Be careful not to bend the cable near the metal crimps at the ends. Mine is starting to fray because I thought it was indestructible. :) I think this the same for any cable actually. I put some electrical tape on it and its fine now.

    I’m probably going to get the suction cup antenna soon. I want to give that a try.

    –Mark

  17. Tim says:

    Just visited CellAntenna.com. Has anybody tried using the In-Building Repeateers to resolve the signal strength problems of the PC5220? It is more expensive but it eliminates wires.

  18. Tim says:

    Mark, what is your experience with the combo your recommended above?

  19. Monte says:

    Do you know what the rate he was showing is. Mine is hovering between 750 to 850 which is way worse than my dialup modem. I to play WOW.

  20. Mark says:

    Yes, my brother successfully played World or Warcraft (http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/) online for about three days strait during his Thanksgiving visit. He had no problems with a fluctuating signal between 12-48%

    –Mark

  21. Monte says:

    Has anybody tried gaming on this? I am getting unacceple ping times. Aound 850ms.

  22. 5220 User says:

    There are a lot of outrageous performance claims and outrageous markups on the edo coverage site.

    Do your research, everyhing he is selling is marked up from retail!!

    Many unsubstantiated and false performance claims as well.

    Buyer be ware!

  23. Jon says:

    Thanks, Mark! Yes, the antenna came from cellantenna. I posted my questions there too. Thanks for your recommendations above on the antenna/connector combo. It was well worth the $49 + connector and I like having mulitple antennas lengths to choose from. -Jon

  24. Mark says:

    Hi Jon,

    I do not have an answer for you. Send an email to the people who you purchased the antenna from (www.cellantenna.com?) and see what they say. They of all people should have an answer for you.

    –Mark

  25. Jon says:

    SITUATION: I purchased the antenna/pigtail combo that Mark posted on 08/08/2004. Doubled my signal stength(3bars to 6bars). I have the PC5220 and a LG-VX4500. I’d like to connect both devices to the antenna at the same time using a splitter.

    QUESTIONS: What are the drawbacks, if any, of doing this? I assume that the splitter connection will loose some db gain, but don’t know how significant the loss will be. Anyone tried this? Can anyone recommend a make/model of splitter I should try?

    Thanks!

  26. JoeB says:

    Robert]s site says you can get 4MB???

  27. Jon says:

    Venturi Client 2.3 does not support IPSEC/L2TP. Version 3.1 will support it and is due to be released in 4-6 weeks as a free download from Verizon.

  28. Jack Roak says:

    I was looking at the Robert Kim site and his prices seem a bit high, has anyone bought or tested any of his devices? What is the difference in his "supercharged" card and the standard card from Seirra Wireless? There seems to be a lot of fluff and wouldn’t want anyone to get ripped off. I also noticed that someone else posted that his attenna was a Radio Shack standard item with a label stuck over it?

  29. driver from EVDO-coverage does NOT work on PC's says:

    driver from evdo coverage does not work

  30. Rohn Carlson says:

    I just bought the same antenna setup as Mark above (thanks for the suggestion) and it makes a HUGE difference inside and out. I get 60 – 100% signal most of the time now. I don’t like having to cart all of the cable and big antenna around so I am looking for a small whip like the Aircard 555 has. This card worked so much better out of the box. Sadly its not broadband.

  31. Mark says:

    Hi Kathy,

    I have the following antenna setup:

    http://www.yourwirelesssource.com/PhoneAccessoryDetail.asp?SKU=421575&Phone=VERIZON+PC5220

    -and-

    http://cellantenna.com/Antennas/magneticmount.htm

    It works well. I never drop my connection anymore. I live out in the country. Without this external antenna, my online experience stinks. :)

    –Mark

  32. Kathy Pollert says:

    Has anyone else tried the external antenna? I was just preparing to order one to try to boost my signal strength. Is it worthwhile?

  33. Greg Poe says:

    Mark,

    I’ve tried a cellantenna product and one offered by Robert Kim but see no signal-strength nor link-bandwidth improvement — even in marginal signal-strength situations. Is the RF connection on the 5220 really operational? Is there perhaps an internal switch that is software activated?

    Thanks.

  34. robert kim says:

    http://evdo-coverage.blogspot.com has an ongoing list of technical release on how to max your evdo power

  35. robert kim says:

    Mark,

    thanks a bunch… let me know if you need anyting..

    <a href="http://evdo-coverage.com">For Verizon Wireless Nationwide Internet </a><a href="http://evdo-coverage.blogspot.com">Access</a&gt;

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