Sprint is totally and utterly incompetent.

2003-10-27 23:53

So, the most stunning thing about this is the sheer bulk quantity of massive, total, incompetence. I can’t imagine how they managed to end up with so many people with totally different claims.

I have been told, in the past week:

1. Of course you can use Vision phones as modems, but only with Windows.

2. You have to buy the cable at Radio Shack.

3. No Vision phones can support a serial cable. (The Treo can, apparently?)

4. No Vision phones come with USB cables. (The Treo does.)

5. The Treo 300 is a 2G device.

6. If you want to use a phone as a modem, there’s no technical support, but you’re allowed.

7. There’s technical support, but you aren’t supposed to do it.

8. Bandwith is charged at $0.02/kB for all Vision usage.

9. There are no additional charges on Vision usage.

10. Vision usage is charged $0.39/minute.

11. It is physically impossible for the computer to generate per-minute usage charges on a Vision phone.

12. You get $0.39/minute charges for dialing external systems from a Vision Phone, and can only connect at 14.4.

13. If you buy a Wireless Web plan, you don’t get charged the $0.39/minute.

14. You can’t buy a Wireless Web plan for a Vision phone.

15. You can buy a Wireless Web plan for a Vision phone, but only if you don’t buy a Vision plan.

16. Bandwidth is free, but if you use more than X, you will be stopped.

17. Bandwidth is free up to some point, after which you have to pay extra.

18. You can’t buy modem service plans for phones, because they’re competing with the PC cards.

19. Only the PC cards work.

20. The Vision phones only work with Windows. The driver is proprietary.

21. The Vision phones work with everything. They use the standard USB modem driver.

21. There is no such thing as a USB serial port.

22. The Treo 600 isn’t released yet.

23. The Treo 600 is sold out.

What appears to be actually true:

  • The Treo 600 is available.
  • The Treo 600 uses the same protocol as other Visor handhelds did for USB connectivity, but is not compatible with older HotSync software – you have to use a “current” palm desktop.
  • The Treo 600, using notifymail’s “wmodem”, works just great as a modem.
  • No one can tell me at all what my billing will look like.
  • If I connect it to my laptop, I get a PPP connection, but I get asked for a name and password by the proxy server if I try to load a web page.

My guess is that this will be the name and password I found in System Preferences, and that I’ll need to get the password from the Sprint service people, somehow, to get through the proxy server. I don’t care that much, as long as I can get ssh working. :)

It seems to me that the PC card “wireless modem” devices are probably the root of the problem; in some way, they must be billed differently, and Sprint can’t figure out a way to bill for data usage consistently.

This is an immense, painful, stupidity. I know a lot of people would LOVE to give them money for data access, and would be happy to agree to reasonable bandwidth usage caps. Verizon sells that service; $40/month gets you some number of MB of traffic, $80/month gets you more. Why can’t Sprint sell this same service?

For the curious, the Treo 600 works fine with NetBSD, and works with Linux too. The Treo 300 does NOT work. I did need a very small patch to NetBSD; it took all of 10 minutes to do, and I’ve submitted the patch to the development team.

And, BTW, I’ve spent more than two hours today alone on hold with Sprint trying to get the non-answers and contradictions listed above. These people DESPERATELY need to get some basic training and accurate information out to the account reps. And they also need to figure out how, given a product people want badly, which they are ALREADY PROVIDING, to collect money. Idiots. They could probably charge $10/month or more extra for “use Vision with your laptop” and get paid, and that would certainly be enough to cover way more bandwidth than I actually need. (I used my old phone to dial up for maybe 15-20 hours in one week about twice a year; I don’t want much more than that out of Vision.)

Peter Seebach

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Comments

  1. Go to http://www.junefabrics.com/palmnet/index.php
    You definately can use your treo as a modem and as long as you have a vision plan your cool. It taps into Sprints 3G network and you don't pay a dime more. You just have to set your phone up as a modem by downloading a driver for the treo 600 to your pc. Then you create a new connection using the number #777 as the dial up number. Leave the password and user ID blank. The drivers are out there, just dig a little deeper and you shall prevail

    — Eric · 2003-11-12 10:35 · #

  2. I'm using a Treo 300/Serial cable and FreeBSD to post this. I'm using #777 // to connect and I'm not prompted for username/password to get webpages.

    -- Chris

    — Chris Hilton · 2003-12-07 11:16 · #

  3. 1) Purchase a serial hotsync cable.
    I got mine here (http://www.expansys.com/product.asp?code=110644) for £14.

    2) Connect your PC to your Treo using the serial cable, test this by hotsyncing, if you get an error something like "port is not available" you are probably already using the port for something else (modem, activesync [PPC] etc.)

    3) Place your Treo in tethered mode. You can dial #*83843733 on the handset, but I prefer to use this (http://www.butterfeet.org/treo600/) free download (offered by Mallum in another thread on this forum) as you don't keep having to soft reset.
    BTW: I have found both methods to be very unstable when treo is not connected to a serial port.

    4) Install a new modem "control panel> printers and other hardware> phone and modem options> modems> add" select "pick from a list"> "next" then select "Standard 33600" > "next" (56k modems use different AT commands so don't pick that!) then select your com port > "finish".
    Now select the modem you have just installed and click "properties" then "modem" and set the max speed to "115200" (this is important it will only work at this speed!!!). At this point you can try the "Query Modem" button on the "Diagnostics" tab you should get back a list of commands and responses.
    Warning do *NOT* put anything in the "Extra Initialization commands" box. I have seen advice to put commands like: AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","orangeinternet" in here. Don't this could overwrite the connection settings on your phone!!!!

    5) Now create a new network connection. Navigate to "Network Connections" (easiest way is to just right click "my network places" and select "properties"). Click "Create a new connection" > "next" > select "Connect to the Internet" > "next" > "Set-up my connection manually" > "next" > "Connect using a dial-up modem" > "next" > type in any name you like e.g. "Orange Treo" > "next" > in phone number type "*99***1#" > "next" where 1 refers to the CID of the connection profile you want to use (the default setting on my orange phone was 1 - all your connection profiles are listed under "Prefs">"Network" on your Treo, no CID displayed though I'm guessing top is 1???). Moving on... leave all password and user name fields blank. Leave "use this u/name and p/w" checked, uncheck "make this my default connection" > "next" > tick "add a shortcut to my desktop" if you want one > "finish". If the dialler window pops up close it by clicking "cancel".
    Now... right click on your newly created connection and select "properties". click "configure" and check that the "maximum speed" is "115200". Also, ensure "Enable hardware flow control" is ticked, you can also tick "Enable modem error control" and "Enable modem compression" but it will work without these last two. > "OK". On the general tab "use dialling rules" should be un-checked. Options tab "Display Progress" Checked, "Prompt for user name and PW" un-checked, "Include windows logon domain" un-checked, "prompt for phone no" un-cecked. Security tab select "Typical" and "Allow unsecured password" and nothing else. Networking tab "type of dial-up server" is "PPP", click "settings" check all three boxes" > "OK" (note: do not switch off TCP/IP header compression, as some US networks require) > "OK" to close.

    6) Now double click on your connection icon to dial

    — Astro_Warp · 2005-09-19 10:52 · #

 
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