The forward link possesses many features that are specific to EV-DO, having been optimised for data transmission, particularly in the downlink direction. Average continuous rates of 600 kbps per sector are possible. This is a six fold increase over CDMA2000 1X and is provided largely by the ability of 1xEV-DO to negotiate increased data rates for individual ATs because only one user is served at a time.

The forward link is always transmitted at full power and uses a data rate control scheme rather than the power control scheme used with 1X, and the data is time division multiplexed so that only one AT is served at a time.

In order to be able to receive data, each EV-DO AT measures signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) on the forward link pilot every slot, i.e. 1.667 ms. Based on the information this provides the AT sends a data rate request to the base station. The AN receives requests from a variety of ATs, and decisions have to be made regarding which ATs are to be served next. The AN endeavours to achieve the best data transfer, and this is done by serving those ATs offering a good signal to noise ratio. This is achieved at the expense of users at some distance from the AN’s antenna.

Accurate time synchronisation is required between the EV-DO Access Nodes. To achieve this time information is taken from the Global Positioning System as this is able to provide an exceedingly accurate time signal.