tech stuff.

Sierra Wireless mobile broadband modem differences

with one comment

As I was recently signing up for Sprint’s mobile broadband solution, I was presented with the choice between the Sierra Wireless USB 598 modem and the older Sierra Wireless Compass 597 USB. I couldn’t find any explanation of the differences between them, so here’s what I’ve found so far:

  • The 598 is prettier with bright, attractive LEDs.
  • The 598 supports higher capacity micro-SD cards
  • The 598 comes with a longer USB extension cable and a laptop clip to attach the modem to the top of your laptop screen.  (I miss this quite a bit, surprisingly)
  • The 598 has a power saving mode that turns off the modem when the Sprint Smartview application isn’t running (OS X)
  • I can’t get the USB disk feature to work at all with a 2GB micro-SD card on my 597, though I suppose mine could be broken

In the end I went with the 597 because of the out-of-the-box Ubuntu support in 8.10, but the 598 is better for non-Linux use.  Of course, I get the impression that Sprint won’t be carrying the 597 for much longer, so the point may be moot…

So far I’ve gotten excellent customer support from Sprint.  I’m really not used to such kind, helpful and competent assistance from a mobile company, so I felt like I should mention it.

    Written by Lee Verberne

    2009-03-01 at 16:27

    Posted in Linux

    One Response

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    1. The 598u really lights up much brighter than any prior 3G modem. Some folks can’t stand it for nighttime use.
      Photos and more “review” at


      2009-03-01 at 17:37

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