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Old 01-27-2008, 10:43 PM   #1
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Default Wi Fi does it work

I was just reading the post about laptop use. I am thinking of getting a laptop to use to check e-mail while on the road. I though we could use Wi fi. I looked into buying a cell with data package, but I would not use it at home much and when we are on the road we would be stuck with paying roaming charges or purchasing a package. Either case, for the amount used it seems alot.

We use Rogers at home for the internet. So I have a couple of questions for those of you who need to communcate with home;

Is Wi fi practical to depend on?

What are the costs of Wi fi?

Is there a better way? i.e. satalite? Is it secure?
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Old 01-28-2008, 01:12 AM   #2
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I'm very interested in this topic also.

I don't know anything about satellite internet. Hopefully someone here has some experience with it.

I've used an AirCard (in Canada - Telus 1x) it's like dialup. Sometimes it is very slow. I've also tethered my Treo cell phone via it's USB cable to my laptop. Nice speed. Both are expensive to have for recreational use.

Data rates in Canada are expensive compared to the US. In the US you can get unlimited data plans. You can do Windows updates etc. and not worry about the cost.

Here's a sample of Rogers Wireless data rates:



I've used wifi in a few RV parks. I usually have to pay per day. Maybe $1 up to $5.

For occasional use wifi is probably the way to go. Not all campgrounds have it so you might have to wait until you're in "town" to send email etc.

Ferzyx's suggestion (in the laptop thread) to use land line dial-up for financial transactions is good.

Let's here from everyone on this. For clarity, please note which Country you are in.
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Old 01-28-2008, 12:20 PM   #3
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Since I live out in the country now, I've had to look for alternative Internet. There is no DSL available where I live. Roger and Bell portable Internet is not available either. I looked into Satelite and I would never get it. The price is outragous. The equipment cost alone is more than $300. There monthly fees seem higher than anything else. There are other fees to setup and maintain the system. Not worth the price for me.

We were going to the library to have high speed Internet. It is one thing that is available for people. Just find a local library and use their Internet. Just remember to log out before you leave the computer. You don't want the next person having access to your stuff because you didn't log off.

I have Rogers cell phone and looked into data plans too. It's too expensive for me. If you're just checking email, it might be worth a small data plan but if you plan on surfing, the cell network in Canada is too expesive although, Paulm was getting free service some how.

WiFi worked well for me when it was available. Most KOA campgrounds have WiFi included. At least the ones I went to.
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Old 01-29-2008, 05:41 AM   #4
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We have ATT DSL at home and as part of the package we get ATT WiFi for "free" wherever it is available.
Besides some of the California State Parks (good for us because we are in CA) and Barnes and Noble and some others, it looks like almost every Mcdonalds has ATT WiFi.
So when we want to get online we just pull into a not too hard to find Mcdonalds parking lot , turn on the laptop and sign in.
It sure isn't as conveniet as an air card if you need to use a computer alot, but as little as we use the computer traveling this works great for us and the price is right.
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Old 01-31-2008, 10:04 PM   #5
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There has to be 'hotspot' for wifi access.

My cell phone has wifi, so I can use wireless connections rather than use minutes from my data package.

Some commercial and government spots - Panera and libraries, for example - affer free wireless hotspots. Some places allow you to pay a fee to use their wireless. You can also 'poach' on someone's wireless. For example, if I drive through an apratment complex, my phone picks up on wireless networks. If the network is unsecured, I could access the internet via this network. I'm not sure of the legality here: most people have unlimited access these days, but if someone is paying for minutes used, you are adding charges to their bill by downloading data - a theft charge.

Wifi won't work if you're driving down the road, but if you have access to wifi hotspots, it works fine.
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Old 02-01-2008, 11:51 PM   #6
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Thanks for the info so far. I will have to continue my research.
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Old 02-04-2008, 04:45 PM   #7
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Friends of ours use Pocketmail. This might be a good solution if you do not already have a laptop computer.

With Pocketmail you purchase a small computer like device from Pocketmail and you pay a monthly subscription. You can pick them up at Flea Markets and yard sales.

You type your messages into the device and then you go to any phone and dial their 800 number, hold the receiver up to the acoustic coupler on the device and it sends your messages. At the same time it downloads any incoming messages. This used to be an excellent idea but pay phones are rapidly disappearing and not all campground offices will allow you to use their phone, even for an 800 number.

I think Pocketmail can be accessed from www.pocketmail.com.

I use a laptop and I find wi-fi in most large campgrounds, all libraries, some Macdonalds, Pandera bread, some towns in their public spaces, and of course Starbucks. I believe that all Starbucks charge but most wi-fi is free.

For the long term I would suggest that a laptop would be the best solution.
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Old 05-14-2008, 11:12 PM   #8
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Default Air Card - it works!

We live in the bush on the West Coast of Canada and I have endured dial-up Internet for more than 20 years (before there was the Internet). Finally had enough and checked out aircards.

Telus (in Canada) had a package which allowed unlimited downloads for $100/month - too expensive. They just changed it to $65 for 1 GB download/month - $10/GB if you exceed your first allotment. So, while still expensive I thought in would be great for travelling as it works anywhere you can pick up Telus cell phone reception and get 400-700 Kbps speeds. I bought a ZTE MY39 (Kyocera) card that fits into the PCMCIA slot on my laptop. My card was $99 with no contract + $65/month. There are a variety of cards available at various prices depending on the contract length. As I wasn't sure it was going to work I chose no contract.

So far - three days now, it has worked wonderfully with great speed (especially compared to dial-up) and I look forward to being able to take it almost anywhere with me and still have an Internet connection.

Right now I have it set up on both mine and my wife's laptops so we can use it on either. Rumour has it that they can be networked wirelessly but I'm still looking into that.

The only concerns I have right now it how much I download a month but I guess we'll see when I get my bill. Guess it works out to about 30 MB a day. By the way, the ZTE MY39 isn't compatible with Vista and a software patch is needed if you are running a dual core laptop.

We'll be heading out on the road soon so I'll update how it does during our travels.
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Old 05-15-2008, 06:40 AM   #9
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If you are just going to check email, you may just want to stop in at a library. It's free.
But I to would like access for other reasons like checking other websites see what is where, campgrounds etc.
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Old 05-15-2008, 03:04 PM   #10
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Default WiFi

Your post prompts me to come aboard as a contributor. I have experience with the tripod-mounted Hughes.Net satellite system. I've been using it for several years now due to the remoteness of home and the convenience of having it on the road anywhere I want it.

Hughes.net basic service costs $59.99 a month for a moderately fast connection that has proven completely adequate for my use in surfing and handling e-mail. Cost of the equipment when I bought it was aabout three times what is posted above. But, to me and my late wife, it was worth it 'cause we had a web site to maintain and other commitments.

Now, both Hughes and Starband have "home" satellite two-way Internet systems available. You can learn more at the forums, including www.datastormusers.com.

It ultimately is a personal decision, but I have found the satellite two-way solution reliable and worth it. I can have Internet connectivity any where I happen to be, even use it off-grid with the little Honda 2000i generator I tow along in that rolling closet behind the van.
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Old 05-15-2008, 03:36 PM   #11
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Just since I finished typing the above, I got the following from Hughes that may also be of interest in your WiFi search. The following is all I know about it.

...HughesNet® Wayport® Membership keep you connected at hotels, airports, Hertz® airport locations and thousands of McDonald's with Wayport’s HotSpot service. With a HughesNet Wayport Membership, you'll get unlimited high-speed access to the Internet, email, and your company's network at thousands of locations across the U.S.

...price is $14.95 a month with no contract necessary.
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Old 05-15-2008, 07:27 PM   #12
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Thanks for the info Vern. We drove across Canada a couple of years ago and found lots of WIFI spots but we were travelling by car then and sleazy motelling it. We have just bought a used Pleasure-Way and would like to repeat the trip, staying in more rustic settings so hope and think the Aircard will do the trick. I also maintain several websites and do other business online so the speed of the Aircard is a real bonus.

At home I've being experimenting with a stationary satellite dish that has a high installation/equipment cost plus $50/month for the 'lightest' package. So far it is just a little better than dial-up and big fluctuations with speed and connection. The feeling right now is that it will go and the Aircard will stay.
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Old 05-15-2008, 08:11 PM   #13
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I can understand. And your part of Canada is among the least well-served by the satellites now carrying Hughes.net.

You can see the various satellite signal strengths (footprints) at this site: http://www.motosat.com/f1footprint.htm

Good luck with the WiFi!!
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Old 05-20-2008, 06:43 PM   #14
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Default WiFi

We are looking into all the internet options as well, and are going with the Air Card PLUS an outside, magnetic -mounted antenna. Check out Wilson electronics (www.wilsonelectronics.com).

Also, netstumbler.com identifies all Wi-Fi within an area.

Good luck.
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Old 05-21-2008, 05:13 PM   #15
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Vern,
I have a question - if WiFi is available at no charge at many places (Hertz,Mcdonald's,etc,,,,), what is the benefit of getting the monthly plan from Hughes? I was thinking maybe it was the high-speed connection, but I'm don't really know.
Thanks
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Old 05-22-2008, 01:39 AM   #16
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We use a Sprint Broadband Datacard for $59.95/mo. At home, I have it mounted in a Kyocera KR-1 Wireless Router and connected to a +10 dB Gain Yagi antenna for ~1.0 Mbps speed while at home. I no longer use cable service since this works so well.

On the road, I just move the router to the RV and use a +3dB omni antenna. The speeds are slower, but usually twice as fast as dialup and sometimes as fast as 700 Kbps. It all depends how close I am to an upgraded cell tower. Sometimes I even get dialup speeds at locations where my T-mobile cell phone has no service...such as the Class B RV Rally in Logan Ohio this past weekend. I could still get email just fine.
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Old 05-22-2008, 12:52 PM   #17
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I had the same thought; why pay? I think, from their ads, that it has to do with speed and band width. And accessability?
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Old 05-23-2008, 03:16 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiki Hut
We use a Sprint Broadband Datacard for $59.95/mo. At home, I have it mounted in a Kyocera KR-1 Wireless Router and connected to a +10 dB Gain Yagi antenna for ~1.0 Mbps speed while at home. I no longer use cable service since this works so well.

On the road, I just move the router to the RV and use a +3dB omni antenna. The speeds are slower, but usually twice as fast as dialup and sometimes as fast as 700 Kbps. It all depends how close I am to an upgraded cell tower. Sometimes I even get dialup speeds at locations where my T-mobile cell phone has no service...such as the Class B RV Rally in Logan Ohio this past weekend. I could still get email just fine.
This seems like a great idea to me. The price is right - only about $10 - $15 more per month than I pay for cable internet............
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Old 06-02-2008, 04:45 PM   #19
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Default Air Card Progress report

Well, I'm into day 20 of using my ZTE MY39 Air Card.

We have never had a TV and I am a bit of a news junkie so I've been able to access lots of news videos which was impossible with dial-up. This means a lot more download data but even so I have only use 400 MB so far, less than half of my 1 GB monthly quota (at $65/month). Speed tests (4) today fluctuated between 996-1145 kbps for downloads and 125-129 kbps for uploads. This is about double the speed I'm achieving with the satellite dish. Again, it works anywhere my cell phone works - 97% of Canada (supposedly) so I'm quite pleased so far - especially after enduring dial-up for so many years.
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Old 06-04-2008, 01:08 AM   #20
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And here I am, one of only two RVs in Black Mesa State Park, OK (the other is a conversion van too -- two sisters enjoying the slow way back from Colorado to Indiana. And I'm catching up on e-mail and surfing the Internet where no cell phone service likely ever will reach. The state park and Lake Etling are down in a little draw formed by a creek. Where? Out here at the veeeerrrrrryyy absolute northwestern tip of Oklahoma, between the Santa Fe Trail's tracks and awesome Black Mesa, a lava flow creaation.

Sshhh, three wild turkeys foraging outside the right window.

It took me all of 20 minutes from park to Internet hand shake. And it costs less than $60 US a month. My way to go, anyway.
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