WiFi

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Chuck Johnson

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Nov 9, 2005
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Please answer a question (s). I have a laptop with a wireless card that I used to get email on the road. Gave it up because it was toooo sloooooow. Can I use this same laptop  within a WiFi net? Is there something else needed? What is the procedure for using it in a free or pay environment? Hate to appear like a complete dummy, but I took a coffee break yesterday and the technology passed me like a dose of Feenamint ! Thanks in advance for your help.
Chuck

Added:
Perhaps the term "wireless" was misleading to some. When I bought a new cell phone, I also bought a Verizon program which permitted me to use my cell phone as the dial up while we were on the road. Software was loaded on the laptop and I connected the cell phone by cable to the laptop. This was not a configuration with a true wireless card and antenna integral to the laptop.  Cheers, Chuck
 

JohnSandyWhite

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Oct 9, 2005
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:) Hi Chuck. I am currently at the Flying 'J' truck stop using a Wifi card. You do have to pay for the access. We have used the Wifi card in house in Longwood, Orlando with good results for Free.  ;)
 

Ned

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It wasn't the wireless link that was slow, it runs at a minimum of 2Mbps which is much faster than dialup. ?You can use your wireless (WiFi, I presume) card with any wireless hot spot, free or pay. ?The procedure will vary with the pay hot spots, but generally you connect to the access point, open your browser and are presented with a page where you can sign up for whatever level of service you want. ?Typically there will be options for hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly. ?You choose a name and password, give them your credit card number, and your online. ?Free hot spots may be unsecured, in which case you just connect to the access point and you're online. ?If the hot spot is using encryption, then you must obtain the key from the owner of the hot spot and enter it when prompted while connecting.

Or are you referring to an aircard? ?That's a cellular serviceand should also run faster than dialup, but only in areas where the high speed service is available. ?
 

Tom

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Ned has given you some good info. You can also read more by clicking the Library button above, selecting Newcomers need to know and clicking About Wireless Networking (WiFi).
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I have a laptop with a wreless card that I used to get email on the road.

What card & what service, Chuck?  "Wireless" covers a lot of territory and some of those cards were sold with a lot of promises and not much else.  I suspect the "wireless card" you had was a cellular radio connection at a very low speed.  There are cellular connections available now that can be quite speedy, though not always and everywhere.  You might just want to get a different service.

As for wi-fi, that's another form of wireless but it's very  short range, measured in feet rather than miles.  You need an 802.11(b or g) compatible PCMCIA card for your laptop and you need to be in range of a wi-fi "hotspot". Some are free and some require payment, usually via a credit card when you access the hotspot the first time.  Wi-fi is fast, though it can slow down when many users share the same network.

 

John From Detroit

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Apr 12, 2005
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Davison Michigan
I am going to take a generic stab here

It sounds to me like your "Wireless card" is a cell phone type PCMCIA card (often limited to 9600, some can go faster,  Mine goes 28.8)

This type of card may well have a connector on it to let you take a voice call,  It requires a subscription to a cellular service such as T-Mobile, Xingular or Vorizon

If that is not what you have.  Stop reading now... If it is read on  (I actually use a cell phone with a data cable to do this)


First: Vorizon has a few (at this time) markets where they do manage to approach broadband speeds using their advanced cellular wireless cards. 
I've looiked into them and at this time there is far too little high-speed though (and we both know how frustrating low-speed is)

TO connect to a Wi-Fi hot-spot, (much faster) you need a Wi-Fi card... This is not the same as a cellualar wireless card,    However depending on your laptop you may not need to run out and buy one... I have 2 laptops here at the moment

1: Thinkpad 600E.  To use it with Wi-Fi I have to plug in a card (I have 2) and configure it

2: Thinkpad R-31  Wi-Fi is built in

Now:  I like my thinkpads... but that 600E is starting to slow down as the anti-virus/malware/spyware/adware/etc stuff takes up more and more of it's time

(The R-31 is much faster (Slow on the R-31 beats Top Speed on the 600E by about 2x)

A good idea might be both Wireless (Cellular) preferbally Vorizon, they do have about the best network.. And Wi-Fi

However if you move about from campground to campground a lot, and don't mind spending oh, say about 100/month plus start up costs

Check with Ron (of ron's internet solutions) here on the forum... He might have an even better idea  (I am going to meet w/him in a couple of months)
 

Sue/Al

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Oct 27, 2005
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We don't use any card?? our notebook PC is wireless intigrated also has built in antenna, when we get near a hotspot the dang things put's us online, sometimes we don't realize we are online, and talk about fast.....you betcha it is, use dial-up at home, sure is fun to have that speed while traveling, we only use Free WiFi, it's everywhere, not difficult to find at all.[br]Date Posted: November 11, 2005, 09:08:34 AMWe don't use any card?? our notebook PC is wireless intigrated also has built in antenna, when we get near a hotspot the dang things put's us online, sometimes we don't realize we are online, and talk about fast.....you betcha it is, use dial-up at home, sure is fun to have that speed while traveling, we only use Free WiFi, it's everywhere, not difficult to find at all. more popping up everyday. we don't pay for anything we can get for Free, that's our Motto since Retirement....LOL
 

koos

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Mar 30, 2005
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Netherlands
Sue/Al said:
we only use Free WiFi, it's everywhere, not difficult to find at all. more popping up everyday. we don't pay for anything we can get for Free, that's our Motto since Retirement....LOL

A lot of people share their Internet connection via wireless on purpose, but some do it inadvertently when they skip the (difficult) chapter on wireless security in the installation manual. There is a lot of discussion whether using such an insecured wireless network without permission is (computer) tresspassing.

A tough issue is how to announce a network as open. Wireless networks have no standard of popping up a message with the acceptable use. Some may redirect you to a welcome page first, that will give you answers. Or if the network name (SSID) is 'OpenWirelessInternet' the idea is clear.

Not trying to scare you, and I think no problem will happen in 99% of the cases, but be aware of that last 1%.
 

Ned

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The risks of running an open wireless network are too great, in my opinion.? One, you have no control over who uses it and what they do with the connection.? If someone uses your internet connection for illegal purposes, the trace will lead back to your computer, not theirs, and you will be the one held liable.? Second, if you haven't taken the steps to secure your computer from outside access, you can expose everything on your system to a clever hacker that finds your open network.? The latter is less likely, but the first is the bigger risk.

If you want to let others use your wireless connection to the internet, then secure it with encryption and give the key to those who you have vetted.? Use something like 'AskForKey' as the SSID to announce your intent.? Wireless security does not have to be difficult, particularly with devices that support WPA, which any current hardware will.? And if you're running Windows XP, you do need to be at service pack 2 level.? Then using WPA is a simple as typing a simple, rememberable, passphrase.? No long string of hexadecimal as you need for WEP.
 

Chuck Johnson

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Nov 9, 2005
Posts
3
Thanks for all the input. Bought a card yesterday and was up and running in about ten minutes. Some serious thoughts on security have been posted. I haven't decoded all the instructions in the security section yet and will pick your collective brains  as soon as I get smart enough to ask the right questions.
Mainly though, I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. Remember those who walk on harm's way in defense of freedom everywhere. This from an old Army Ranger.
Cheers,  Chuck
 

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