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Slow Air Card Internet Service

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Hey, I’m a dinosaur. I still have my USB720 air card that I purchased over 7 years ago and I would still be using my Cradlepoint CTR350 router but it died a few years ago and I had to go with a CTR35 replacement. As long as I stay with 3G service, why upgrade? Since I have an unlimited data plan, I didn’t want to upgrade to 4G for fear of losing this plan. So, my first question – is there any way I can upgrade my air card without changing my data plan and losing my unlimited data?


The reason I ask is that, about 2 weeks ago, my Internet download speeds dropped down to about 150K bit/sec. I have tried it with the air card plugged into my router and also with the air card plugged into my laptop using VZ Access Manager. In the past, I have always had speeds of 500K to 1,000K bit/sec except on rare occasions when I was in a roaming area or way out in the boondocks. Sometimes my speeds were higher. I am a fulltime RVer and travel around the country, so I can’t blame this problem on one of the cell phone towers – I’ve been in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and 3 cities in Tennessee and the problem exists at each location. I have talked to Verizon tech support twice. The first guy suggested that I upgrade to a Pantech UML290. That unit can be used in my current router. He assures me that I can upgrade to this new air card without changing my data plan (and losing my unlimited data) if I purchase the new air card at full price. The 3Gstore sells a refurbished unit for $80.


The second tech wasn’t sure about this and he said to upgrade to the latest version of VZ Access Manager and then upgrade the firmware in my air card. I did these things and nothing changed.


A secondary problem, which I have never seen before, is an error message I get the first 2 times I try to connect my air card using VZ Access Manager:


“Connection failed – the remote connection was denied because

the user name and password combination you provided is not

recognized, or the selected authentication protocol is not permitted

on the remote access server.”


But on the third and subsequent attempts, the air card connects without displaying this error message.


On the topic of unlimited data, my wife and I each have a laptop and we normally use about 5G bps each month. But last month, we used almost 10G and for 10 days of that billing cycle, we used the Wi-Fi service of the RV Park where we were staying. Last November, we used over 15G. We look at the occasional YouTube video but that is the extent of our streaming. We don’t download movies or any other activity that would use a lot of bandwidth. I have no idea how I used 15G of data.




I have been reading about Verizon doing away with 3G to make room for LTE. After being in the western U.S. for the past 18 months, have I now entered an area (Midwest) where 3G is no longer available? Or is Verizon using a sneaky, underhanded method to get me to do something that will allow them to take away my unlimited data?

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A while back there was some talk on the forums about Verizon throttling heavy data users with unlimited 3G data plans when a given tower was really busy. I think something like 5 Gb per month was considered heavy data use.

After we quit full timing last spring and settled down in our stick and brick we started getting the kind of slowdowns you mentioned. I had the same air card you do and used an MBR95 router. I had never had those kind of slowdowns before in our years of using 720 card. I believe that it was due to throttling but don't know to prove it.


Since we are now in a fixed location and have the motor home up for sale I got 44 Mbps internet via Charter cable. Less money - $40 per month for a year and then increasing to $60 per month. Still using the Cradlepoint MBR95 connected to the cable modem via Ethernet cable.

Clay(WA5NMR), Lee(Wife), Katie & Kelli (cats)
Full timed for eleven years in our 2004 Winnebago Sightseer 35N Workhorse chassis. Snowbirds for 1 year. Now settled down in western CO.
Honda Accord toad.

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When we switched to 4G a year and a half ago, we did it because we noticed that 3G had slowed down everywhere we went. As the 3G towers were being converted over to 4G, there was no effort to maintain the 3G strength. 4G was the important factor.


As for retaining unlimited plans, I am surprised that the companies are allowing any remaining plans. The only companies offering "unlimited plans" are because the plans are not unlimited, they don't have caps, they just constrain you.


Nothing lasts forever, with the sack phones, they just cut off analog phones one day.

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When you have a 3G mifi (usb or hotspot) account and you upgrade to 4G, you lose your unlimited. If you are going from a 3G phone account to a 4G phone, you don't lose your unlimited.

Everybody wanna hear the truth, but everybody tell a lie.  Everybody wanna go to Heaven, but nobody want to die.  Albert King


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Unfortunately, Verizon does throttle the 3G unlimited plans when in congested networks. Since you're back in civilization, that is probably what you are experiencing now being back in congested areas.


Verizon is also repurposing 3G spectrum for LTE.


And, unfortunately, getting an unlimited LTE plan is now much more difficult with Verizon. As of November they no longer allow assumption of liability, but there are some limited opportunities to 'rent' lines from others.


Verizon this month did however bring back 10GB and 15GB promotional data, and apparently there's a 10GB bonus data deal for new Texas based customers you might be able to snag - should you feel it time to ditch the unlimited plans and move to 'More Everything'. If you're only using 10-15GB of data a month - those might be worthwhile options to consider for you.


- Cherie

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have a USB727/CradlePoint 500. Perfect since '08. Last 6 months at times it is like dial up speeds. In the last 60 days my data usage has almost doubled, while my actual use is the same.


I question if Verizon has changed the way they count data. Really considering if I need to drop Verizon and look at ATT?



Fulltimming since 2000. Now 3/4 timming
2012 Ram Laramie CC, DRW, 2014 3150RL Montana
Sent via Verizon USB727 from somewhere.

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  • 1 month later...

I spoke to two Verizon tech support guys and they could offer no explanation for the slow speed. One suggested that I purchase the UML290 air card (4G device) at full retail price and I should be able to switch my unlimited data plan to this new card. So, I ordered one from the 3GStore. I also ordered The Mobile Internet Handbook and read it, especially the section on Unlimited Data Plans. When the new air card arrived, I went to the local Verizon Wireless store (not an authorized reseller) and they told me that I would have to upgrade my data plan to 4G and that would void my unlimited data plan.


The Verizon salesperson offered me a new JetPack for $1, a 15 Gb data plan, and two iPhones with unlimited talk and text for $140/month. I am currently paying $125/month for a lousy 3G air card connection and two simple cell phones (not smartphones) with 450 minutes. Should I accept this offer or hang on to my unlimited data plan and continue to try to find a solution to my slow Internet speed?

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