Mar 232009

For the most part, I have been very satisfied with our Verizon USB 720 air card, which we use in a Cradlepoint MBR 1000 Router. We enhance our signal with a Wilson Trucker cellular antenna and Wilson signal amplifier. We have used this system for almost two years now and have found it to be far superior for our needs over the Hughes Net dish we used for years before that.  Except for only a couple of occasions, way out in the boonies of West Texas, we have always been able to get online. 

But yesterday I was ready to throw the whole darned thing into the nearest dumpster!

We been sitting in the same spot here in Apache Junction for a week, and our download signal speeds have averaged from 1500 to 2200 kbps, with upload speeds of 145 to 220 kbps. (By comparison, about the best download speeds we ever recorded with the Hughes Net system was in the neighborhood of 750 kbps.) But about noon yesterday everything came to a screeching halt. Suddenly I could not get online at all, and when I finally did, opening any website or checking my e-mail took forever. More often than not, the system would time out before it would open a website.

We have experienced temporary slowdowns from time to time, but they are usually short term, no more than a few minutes usually. But until about 10 p.m. yesterday we were just dead in the water.

Terry picks up our router’s WiFi signal to get online, and she was just as slow. I took the air card out of the router and tried it in both of our laptops and in a USB port on my desktop, and even though we had five bars of signal strength, service was moving at the speed of sludge. The one speed test I was able to run showed a download speed of only 54 kbps! Updating the router firmware through Verizon’s Access manger did not help.

I don’t know what the heck was wrong, but then late in the evening, for whatever reason, suddenly the card was back up to normal speeds. I ran a check at and we were back up to 1955 kbps download speed. Very weird. I don’t know what the problem was, or what fixed it. I hate computer gremlins.

While I was grumbling about the air card and beating my head against a stone wall trying to get online. Miss Terry was making up a batch of her homemade pizza dough, and about 5 p.m. we went over to her parents’ house and had our own pizza party.

Since I couldn’t get any work done online, I drowned my sorrows in piping hot cheese, spicy pepperoni, zesty sauce, and a crust to die for. I’m never going to lose weight.

Thought For The Day – Real listening is a willingness to let the other person change you.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  13 Responses to “Verizon Air Card Crash”

  1. Nick,

    I do not think it was your aircard that crashed! Yesterday around 3 PM EDT I also lost all Internet connection. I took the USB 720 out of the router and put it in the computer and tried VZAM. It also showed five bars but would not connect. It gave me an access denied error return right after doing a prl update. Like you and Terry we went off to some friends and when we came back a few hours later everything was working again. So I believe that Verizon had some kind of major system anomaly.

  2. Happens to me on Verizon every couple of weeks. And I can almost *see* the cell tower, so it’s not reception.

    Seems to take a long time to look up sites (you get a lot of “looking up” and “waiting for” msgs in the browser.) But the transfer rate even when it gets going can really stink too. I see more like 12K when mine goes bad! I have no reason why, but it’s in their system, not yours.

  3. Nick,

    It wasn’t your system as we had the same problem here in OK City from about 1pm until at least 8pm. I called Verizon, talked to a customer service person, couldn’t get through to troubleshooting.

    We had several different error messages, but the same error code.

    Really frustrating as customer service had no clue about what was going on.

  4. Nick, I’ve read about Miss Terry’s marvelous pizza dough before on your blog and wondered, would she share the recipe with us? Many times we are in areas without a good pizza place and I’d really like to be able to make our own.


  5. Yep, happened to us too!!! Sometimes it will help to reboot the MBR 1000, but not always. It also happened the day before, but not for as long a duration….


  6. Nick – You might call Verizon and ask for a credit for the outage. I’ve received credit from Comcast when they have an outage. Mmmm, pizza, the ultimate comfort food (well, chocolate works, too). – John

  7. Nick, we at at Retama (Mission, TX) and the same thing happened to me!!!

    I’m not sure it was Verizon, either, because I switched over to the RV Park WiFi and it was the same thing…..although that could be a coincidence. What are the odds…..

  8. Please share the dough, pizza that is! I have been collecting recipes from campers to put in a book I am putting together. Ask MIss Terry if she would please share.

  9. We’re in Scottsdale and the same thing happened yesterday. I did all the stuff you did with the same results. Pretty annoying to say the least, but then I remember when stuff like that happened with the Hughes Dish quite a number of times. I was going to call Verizon, but decided it wasn’t that important. I wish one of your readers had called so we had the answer, but…

  10. I had the same loss of signals over the weekend in Pleasanton, CA. I thought it was interesting that my gmail access (using Outlook) worked so I could send and receive messages while websites stalled and failed to load. The grandkids, who normally fight over using my laptop, opted for mom’s laptop running on because Grandma’s computer was too slow for their game playing. All is well this morning.
    – Judy

  11. Nick,

    I believe there was a major internet backbone interruption yesterday. That’s why it affected everyone, AirCards, WiFi, DSL, etc.

    That’s also why you were showing a 5 bar connection, but no data was flowing. Your connection with the cell tower was fine.

    Other possible problems can be that Webservers are down. Web and Email (thru Windows Mail, Outlook, Outlook Express) are different data paths. You can have one work and not the other.

    If you suddenly have problems with your connection, and everything seems OK on your end, and you haven’t changed anything, it’s usually not YOU!

    Stay safe and we’ll see you in Ohio and Yuma!

    Greg and Jan White

  12. We had the same issue yesterday afternoon and early evening here in Dulzura, California. Both with my AT&T aircard and the Wi-Fi system here at the MDS camp. My outlook mail DID work…
    Sounds like there were major gremlins in the ether yesterday…

  13. I had no problems yesterday here in Dothan, Al. My card worked great. But, last week it worked none at all. I was in Monroe La. Could get all the bars but so slow I could not use it so I hooked onto my brother’s sytem while we were there. The 3g store tried to help me but we could never get it to work. I just figured there was no Verizon and I was trying to roam on another network that did not like me at all. As soon as we got out of Monroe it was back to normal. I was no happy camper losing a week of my Verizon. That was the first week long problem that we have ever had and hope to have no more of them.

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