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Author Topic: Wireless Internet  (Read 6846 times)

bigskymt

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Wireless Internet
« on: September 21, 2009, 10:02:43 PM »
I'm wondering what would be the best service for my needs. On the occasion that we travel more then a few days we need internet service in the Western US, primarily for E-Mails so speed is not a concern. We have relied on internet cafes or friends houses in the past but parking or special trips is a problem.
Can anyone suggest reliable internet service for our laptop??
We have Verizon Cell Phones
A wireless card with a monthly service fee seems like a costly option and I've heard they are not reliable in many mountain areas.

Thanks, any help is greatly appreciated








Alaskansnowbirds

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2009, 10:28:53 PM »
If you are only going to use it occasionally then I would go to a Verizon store (not a Verizon dealer but a Verizon owned store) and see if the phone you have can be tethered to your laptop. If it can then ask them about the Mobile Broadband Connect feature. This in NOT a data plan. You will need to get a cable to tether your phone to the laptop or if your laptop and phone both have bluetooth you can connect them that way.

The Mobile Broadband Connect feature can be turned on and off when ever you need it (you have to call 611 to do that). I think it is $39 or $49 a month but they only charge you for the days you have it turned on. When you turn it on the the full amount will be charged to your bill then if you don't have it turned on for the full month the bill will be adjusted the next month.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2009, 10:30:32 PM by Alaskansnowbirds »
Don & Peg
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FrontrangeRVer

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2009, 10:49:02 PM »
Don's post above is spot on.

Since we are on Verizon for our voice plan, we were able to get on the "Tethering" feature for $30/month extra, and now I can tether my Dare phone to our laptop for 3-G speeds, and can start/stop that "feature" at will....so in another words, I could start the tethering, and stop it....for about $1/day.
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seilerbird

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2009, 07:51:00 AM »
Verizon has two air card data plans. The inexpensive on is around $30 and it would do if all you wanted was email.

1joester2

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2009, 08:16:46 AM »
Right, wrong, or whatever, what we have done in the past is ask larger hotels if we can borrow their internet. We always look at the restaurant menu, and if it's appealing, I will ask the desk if I can use the internet to check my mail if I eat in the restaurant.

I've never been told "NO".

Joe
Common sense to many of us is, unfortunately, the higher education some strive to attain.

Joe and Carol
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bigskymt

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2009, 08:57:18 AM »
Thanks for the great answers. We will be upgrading our cells this year so a good time to make everything compatable. An air card that can be turned off/on might also be a good plan.
I've done the hotel lobby internet before, most desk clerks seem unconcerned who uses their PCs.       terry

FrontrangeRVer

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2009, 09:03:59 AM »
Just FYI...the aircard requires you to sign up for a 2 year plan, cant be turned on and off (maybe once a month for $35 fee I think), and is $59.95/month for minimum of 24 months.

Like I said earlier, you can go the "tethered" route and pay half, turn it off and on at will, and it's a month to month FEATURE (not a plan).

There is a big difference in the two. ;)
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mfolsom

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2009, 09:12:57 AM »
If you have more than one PC or don't want to have a cell phone hanging off the USB port you might look at the Mifi options from your carrier.  Here is a Verizon option.  http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/mobilebroadband/?page=products_mifi from their web site. 

I just purchased a Cradle Point device that can use a cell phone, tethered or a USB broadband modem. http://www.accessorygeeks.com/cradle-point-antenna-ctr350.html#  I've only had it since yesterday evening but it seems to work good at the house.  I already had the USB broadband modem to use in it. Now DW and I can both use it at the same time from our respective notebooks.

Good luck in your search.
The happy campers are Mark, Bonnie & Maverick
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DonTom

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2009, 10:04:17 AM »
I am now using the Verizon Wireless network. It works great. Very few dead spots. I have yet to find a place where it won't work here in AB. Canada, but it's expensive to use from Canada when from the USA (as I am doing now).

I have the sixty US bucks per month plan otherwise. But pay more for "roaming" while in Canada.

-Don- (boondocked at the Hinton, AB  Wal-Mart)
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LindaH

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2009, 12:49:18 PM »
Just FYI...the aircard requires you to sign up for a 2 year plan, cant be turned on and off (maybe once a month for $35 fee I think), and is $59.95/month for minimum of 24 months.
That's not the case, at least with Verizon.  You CAN get a month-to-month plan using an air card.  The only catch is that you have to pay full price for the air card (somewhere in the $200 range), rather than getting it free with a 2-year contract.

However, for someone who only wants or needs Internet access occasionally rather than 24/7, tethering a phone to a laptop is the way to go.
LindaH
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bigskymt

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2009, 03:30:07 PM »
A couple years ago I ran into a guy on a jobsite that had an adaptor to connect his laptop to his cell. It was only a dial-up connection but he swore it worked great for e-mails and I.M. with his family when he was out of town. He had Verizon and did most of his on-line after hours or weekend with his unlimited nights/weekends plan.
I'm leaning toward Verizon as they have the best coverage in the western U.S.
I'm really trying to get educated before I make a costly mistake with a two year commitment.

BernieD

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2009, 06:20:50 PM »
We got a Verizon air card and CradlePoint router last winter, with a 2 year contract it cost about $100 for the package. This gives us broadband speeds where available and both my wife and I can be online at the same time. It worked fine; faster in some location, slower in others, throughout the country. We criss-crossed the midwest and eastern part of the country and only had 1 nite out of 189 without any service. Our Sprint cell phone can give us 56k speed to Marlene's computer (the software doesn't work with my Vista OS) and had a good signal in that one location. I got excellent wi-fi there. So we were never without the whole trip, even under trees ;).

Now that we are home, I suspended service at a one time cost of $15 and the system will be off for about 3 months until we hit the road again in January. There are no charges in between or to reinstate. While the service is off, my 2 year commitment is extended for a compensating time.
Bernie & Marlene Dobrin
Home is Goodyear, AZ
Missing our Travel Supreme

FrontrangeRVer

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2009, 06:34:08 PM »
That's not the case, at least with Verizon.  You CAN get a month-to-month plan using an air card.  The only catch is that you have to pay full price for the air card (somewhere in the $200 range), rather than getting it free with a 2-year contract.


And it's my understanding that Verizon will charge you a $35 fee to stop and start it, and only once or twice a year....otherwise, it's $59.95/month for 5 GB usage
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Tom

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2009, 07:54:18 PM »
Quote from: BernieD
... I suspended service at a one time cost of $15 and the system will be off for about 3 months until we hit the road again in January. There are no charges in between or to reinstate.

Bernie, Just curious ...

I have a VZ air card (in addition to my T-mobile air card) and plan to buy a Cradlepoint router for the VZ card (not as a package). I'm wondering if I could turn the VZ card on and off several times a year for $15/time, or is there a limit to the number of times this can be done?

Meanwhile, I'm a little confused by Mark's comment:

Quote from: FrontrangeRVer
Verizon will charge you a $35 fee to stop and start it, and only once or twice a year

Maybe I'm mis-reading or misunderstanding something?

TIA.
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BernieD

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2009, 02:00:10 PM »
I have a VZ air card (in addition to my T-mobile air card) and plan to buy a Cradlepoint router for the VZ card (not as a package). I'm wondering if I could turn the VZ card on and off several times a year for $15/time, or is there a limit to the number of times this can be done?


Tom

I know that they will do it twice a year, not sure about 3-4 times. I've been battling that issue with DirecTV for a couple of years now.
Bernie & Marlene Dobrin
Home is Goodyear, AZ
Missing our Travel Supreme

Tom

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2009, 05:17:39 PM »
Thanks Bernie. Since I also use it while we're afloat, maybe it's not such a big issue.
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FrontrangeRVer

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2009, 05:20:59 PM »
Tom, you should check with Verizon on the stop/start with the VZ aircard.  They told me it's $35 per stop/start, and you can only do it once or twice a year.  The reason being...it's a "Plan", and not a "Feature" like the tethering is.  Tethering is free per stop/start, and you can do it as much as you want.
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Tom

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2009, 05:38:50 PM »
Thanks Mark. Good point re a plan vs a feature. I'll call VZ, but I also think I probably won't change it. If we're not in the coach, we're on our boat once or more a month.

OTOH I must say that I've had my share of problems with the USB VZ air card. Going through first-tier support usually results in the equivalent of "is your computer plugged in and turned on? If so, please reboot your computer". Last time I called, I got a real technical person who started out the conversation with "you've obviously tried this and this, now let's try this". What a difference! The result of that call was a replacement air card that was on our doorstep when we arrived home, and a month to return the old one.

The new card worked fine, but was again intermittent last time we were afloat.

I usually have to resort to my (much slower) T-mobile EDGE card, but it's proved to be very reliable and has super coverage in the US, Canada (big $$$), and Europe. Last time we stayed at our oldest son's house in Wales (UK), I couldn't get a T-mobile signal for 3 days. Then I remembered that his house is built of 28" thick stone. I took the laptop into the garden, and voilla! I was online.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2009, 05:46:57 PM by Tom »
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AlexSian

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2009, 09:05:04 AM »
Thanks for the great answers. We will be upgrading our cells this year so a good time to make everything compatable.

this article maintains information about which verizon/sprint/att phones are tetherable, and other related information: http://j.mp/tetherable
no longer working for 3G store

bigskymt

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2009, 04:10:38 PM »
We went to a Verizon owned store today and were told we have two options a $50/mo. aircard or $50/mo. tether plan. Both are two year contract....Sometimes I hate Verizon!!!
I later called Verizon customer service and they advised of the $30/mo. tethering option. Our next step once we return to sales tax free, MT. is to upgrade all the phones. Tethering sounds like our best option.
Thanks to all for the good advice.

John From Detroit

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #20 on: September 25, 2009, 07:39:12 PM »
As I sit here connected to the internet via Verizon 2-way Satellite ......

I can do a bit better than you BigSkyMt.

I do not "Sometimes"hate Verizon

I've hated them since before they became Verizon, and not one thing they have done since has improved my opinion of them one iota.
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Just Lou

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2009, 08:19:41 PM »
As I sit here connected to the internet via Verizon 2-way Satellite ......
I do not "Sometimes"hate Verizon........
I've hated them since.......

John, since you were able to post here, it would seem your VERIZON connection is quite functional.  Could you enlighten us on your reasons for such long term hatred of Verizon?
'97 Bounder 34V (F53 w/tag), '99 Honda Accord EX

DonTom

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2009, 08:35:14 PM »
As I sit here connected to the internet via Verizon 2-way Satellite ......

I can do a bit better than you BigSkyMt.

I do not "Sometimes"hate Verizon

I've hated them since before they became Verizon, and not one thing they have done since has improved my opinion of them one iota.

If you hate them so much, why do you use them? I have no complaints WRT V/W. Their stuff seems to have better range than anybody else and rarely do I need to deal with them.

However, there is one exception. PAYG USA V/W cell phones will not work in Canada, so we had to buy a cheap Canada PAYG cell phones for the month we're here, which of course, will not work in the USA. Had to use a fake Canada address to get it activated. Seems the only time we need a cell is when far from home. We find more use for the $60.00 per month 3G internet, which works well but costs more when used here in Canada.

-Don- (in Surrey, BC)
-Don-   AA6GA

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bigskymt

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2009, 07:39:27 PM »
Today we went to Best Buy thinking we would get an independant opinion before we faced Verizon. They told us almost any phone will work with tethering. First we need a data plan: $30/month, then we need a tethering plan, another $30/month. The data plan is a two year contract, the tethering can be turned off/on at will.
OR, we can get the "cheap" air card which has mysteriously increased from $30 to $40/month overnight.
OR, we can get a prepaid aircard for $1.50/day.
Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated, we are almost ready to abandon the internet plan.
Thanks

Just Lou

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2009, 08:13:03 PM »
Today we went to Best Buy thinking we would get an independant opinion before we faced Verizon. They told us almost any phone will work with tethering. First we need a data plan: $30/month, then we need a tethering plan, another $30/month. The data plan is a two year contract, the tethering can be turned off/on at will.  OR, we can get the "cheap" air card which has mysteriously increased from $30 to $40/month overnight. bOR, we can get a prepaid aircard for $1.50/day.

Why would you think that the "Geeks" at Best Buy would know more about the subject of tethering than Verizon ???

 BTW - most NEW phones may be tether capable, but that hardly covers "most any phone".  With VZ you don't need a data plan, you do need a voice plan to add the tether feature.  There are several DATA plans with various  charges and contractual obligations. 

Even if you choose Sprint, or some other provider, I would deal directly with them, and not a third party reseller.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2009, 08:23:27 PM by Lou (onaquest) »
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Alaskansnowbirds

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #25 on: September 27, 2009, 09:02:02 PM »
Forget the Geeks at Best Buy.

As I said in a previous post.

Go to a Verizon store. Ask them about the Mobile Broadband Connect feature. This is NOT a data plan. You will need to get a cable to tether your phone to the laptop or if your laptop and phone both have bluetooth you can connect them that way.

The Mobile Broadband Connect feature can be turned on and off when ever you need it (you have to call 611 to do that). I think it is $39 or $49 a month but they only charge you for the days you have it turned on. When you turn it on the the full amount will be charged to your bill then if you don't have it turned on for the full month the bill will be adjusted the next month.
Don & Peg
Alaska/Arizona
Currently located here.
Weather at Camp Verde, AZ.

bigskymt

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #26 on: September 27, 2009, 10:07:52 PM »
I tried BestBuy thinking I might get an honest answer from someone with no alliances to any carrier. Verizon customer service can't seem to give a definitive answer that is recognized by a verizon store. I asked about the mobile broadband connect feature (I'm sure I forgot those precise words) and was told I need a data plan and tethering option.
Sprint has NO coverage in MT, ATT is only slightly better.
The latest from Verizon is I need a Blackberry with $30/month internet plan. This will allow me internet access and for another $30/month I can connect to my laptop.

Ned

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #27 on: September 28, 2009, 07:02:48 AM »
Don has given you accurate information and Alex has pointed you to a list of phones that can be tethered.  As much as Verizon Wireless would like you to believe you need a data plan, it's not the only option.  When you call VZW customer, they will be able to activate the Mobile Broadband Connect feature on your phone, and deactivate it when you call again.  The store personnel may not even know about the feature, or if they do, they don't make any commission on it so they will try to sell you the data plan.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
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Alyce123

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #28 on: October 18, 2009, 05:28:35 PM »
I just bought a Palm Pre, and though I love it, I was annoyed to discover that Sprint will not allow Sprint users to tether this phone.  Really annoying since I can access my email on the phone, as well as the web... but can't use it with my laptop!!

KJPerry

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Re: Wireless Internet
« Reply #29 on: October 18, 2009, 05:42:05 PM »
Just to add another option that I've found works for me is Verizon's DayPass. While you have to purchase the modem ($160 from Verizon; I'm sure cheaper if used or bought elsewhere), the plan is $15 for a 24-hour period with no contract. This can be a great option if you only have the need for occasional broadband access. Usually I can find Wifi spots, etc. But when they are not available, for $15.00 I can connect for 24 hours.

Kevin Perry
2007 Journey