Sprint PCS "Vision" Wireless Internet
Is it too good to be true?
David Adams wrote a related article about using the Samsung A500 on the Vision network
I guess if you're not interested in viewing images, it's a great deal. Unlimited free higher speed (higher than dial up) internet access when using a Vision phone and a USB connectivity kit to your computer.
I upgraded my Sanyo 4700 to the Sanyo 4900 Vision phone. I can now get twice the minutes, plus an extra phone, plus FREE Unlimited internet access, for the same monthly price I was paying before.
Sprint no longer sells the connectivity kits. They instead direct you to the Sanyo web site where they are usually out of stock. But Sanyo doesn't sell the dialer software so they direct you to FutureDial.com where they sell both the software and the USB phone specific cable. If nothing else, pick up the FutureDial SnapSync software with the cable to create your phone book in Outlook and transfer it to the telephone. The dialer software (SnapDialer) and SnapSync is available as a bundle and worth the extra $10. It doesn't work with Outlook 97 so I had to install Outlook 2000 and it worked perfectly, allowing complete editing before transferring to the address book in the telephone.
I installed the SnapDial software last night and connected at a speed of 115kbps compared to my Earthlink connect speed of 52kbps. Now you might say that the speed listed on the computer isn't accurate, and you're probably correct. After testing with three different types of files, It's clear that the connection through the Vision phone is noticeably faster. But viewing images through a browser shows extreme compression artifacts, screwing up my carefully compressed photos. Being a full time web designer and photographer I don't like this at all. Scroll down below the table to see the comparison images.
E-mail settings
I had to call Sprint Vision technical support (877-228-2257 and ask for tier 2 support) to get these settings and they kept asking me what e-mail program I was using on my laptop, as if it made a difference. The outgoing mail server is smtp.sprintpcs.com and you need to go to your e-mail account on the web site and set up an e-mail password. They don't automatically use the password for your account, even if you've changed it and think that it's being used. I should mention that I don't use my Sprint account for an e-mail address. All my accounts go through my web site, so I didn't configure the incoming e-mail. My e-mail program automatically checks my default e-mail accounts from my web site as the incoming mail server.
The higher speed is only available through the native USB1 port on both my laptop and desktop computer. I have USB2 cards for both computers and the reported time is only 28.8. Twice the time the old Sprint dialer delivered, but much slower than the 115kbps the USB1 port delivers.
I tested by timing the upload and download of three types of files. A 2 megabyte image file, a 228K Microsoft Word document with an embedded picture and a 1.22 megabyte zip file containing a program I had previously downloaded.
  Connected through
Sprint Vision
Connected through
File Size and Type 2 megabytes image file 2 megabytes image file
Upload Time (min:sec) 4:35 10:40
Download (min:sec) 0:20 6:15
File Size When Downloaded 93K 2 megabytes
Download Compression
5% of original file size
equal to original
File Size and Type 228K Word document 228K Word document
Upload Time (min:sec) 0:32 1:37
Download (min:sec) 0:32 0:35
File Size and Type 1.22 megabyte zip file 1.22 megabyte zip file
Upload Time (min:sec) 3:00 6:30
Download (min:sec) 3:14 3:05
Reported speed 115kbps 52kbps
It appears that the image file is NOT CORRUPTED when uploading through the Vision network. Even though viewing in a browser showed 95% compression, the actual full size original file was still on the server and other people could see it properly. That makes the use of the Vision network a viable option, once the limitations are understood.
I'm seeing compression of images between 50% and 95% when viewed using my Vision phone connected to my laptop. Scroll down to look at the example images that were downloaded comparing the Vision phone to Earthlink.

Unwanted compression from Sprint PCS Vision

Looking as it should through Earthlink dial up

Above - screen captures from the FutureDial web site home page
Left - page seen through Sprint Vision
Right - the same page through my Earthlink dial up connection
Below - a photo from my CoolPix 5000 gallery
Left - crop from Sprint Vision download showing unwanted image compression
Right - the same crop from a download through Earthlink dial up

Unwanted compression from Sprint PCS Vision
Compressed photo is only 13K when viewed through Vision

Looking as it should through Earthlink dial up
Original Photo is 31K and looks good through Earthlink

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