Wireless Laptop

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N5IBM

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Joined
Oct 22, 2005
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Location
Orlando, FL
Are there any FREE wireless laptop connections for checking
e-mail in our travels ?

Also, are there any pay services that you find reliable, and where are they located ? ( Truck Stops, etc )

And lastly, if you do banking on your laptop, what is the most secure way to do this ?

Thanks much

 

Tom

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Russell,

Click the Library button above, select Newcomers need to know and click About Wireless Networking (WiFi).

There's also this discussion that might help.

[edit]Oops, originally posted this as a reply to the wrong topic.[/edit]
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Some campgrounds offer free wi-fi and so do some coffee shops, booksores, etc.  It will vary by area and the individual establishment.

Here is one website that lists free wi-fi sites for RVers:  http://hotspots.wirelesstrips.com/

The problem with the fee/subscription services is that there are several of them, so a subscription that gets yoou online in one place may be useles in the next. And pay-as-you-go is usually expensive, often several dollars per day.
 

Jim Dick

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Hi Russell,

Yes, there are some free wireless networks at campgrounds. We're at Two Rivers campground in Nashville at the moment and have a great connection to their new wireless network. I think most Starbuck's coffee houses have a network for which you must pay. Also Flying J has a network which also has a charge. Sometimes you get to park next to friends who have satellite internet and are wireless. :)

Where are you in Orlando? We live at The Great Outdoors in Titusville. Expect to be there by 7 November as long as the hurricanes have passed!!!

 

Ned

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To address your banking question, if you use your browser, be sure the bank web site is using https. ?The browser will have a lock in the status bar (look in the lower right of the window) and it should show as locked if the site is secure. ?Also, all of the URLs in the address bar will start with HTTPS.

This is true of any online financial site, not just your bank. ?Look for the secure lock at your credit card and any online site you do bill paying.
 

blueblood

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Mar 16, 2005
Posts
1,082
N5IBM said:
Are there any FREE wireless laptop connections for checking
e-mail in our travels ?

Also, are there any pay services that you find reliable, and where are they located ? ( Truck Stops, etc )

And lastly, if you do banking on your laptop, what is the most secure way to do this ?

Thanks much
There are many free and pay services as you travel including a number of states who are offering wi-fi access at their rest areas. One can buy a membership in an aggregator like Boingo who ties together many pay services and offers them under one payment system but it's really not necessary if one is somewhat selective in choosing campgrounds and restaurants, etc. For example, one can go into an Atlanta Bread Company store and get free wi-fi. It's a whole different story but you can also use your cell phone or buy a PC air card from one and get service most places.

Banking can not be done securely via wi-fi unless you go through whats called a Virtual Private Network (VPN). The reason is that your pc will broadcast and receive over open space which can be intercepted by someone who has the proper software. Another advantage of an aggregator is that they often use VPN. VPN encrypts the transmission and receive and thus can not be translated. Virtually all banks require that your run 128 bit encryption on your pc browser regardless of whether your via wire or wireless.
 

Ned

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Banking can not be done securely via wi-fi unless you go through whats called a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

Not true.  A VPN is for secure access to a network over an unsecure link, not something the average person ever needs.  As long as the web site you're using is secure (HTTPS), the data is encrypted from the browser to the server.

A WiFi network is no more or less secure than any other network.  Any computer on the network can "sniff" the traffic with the right tools, whether wired or wireless.  As long as you're on a secure (HTTPS) server, you're reasonably safe.

As an aside, POP3 email protocol sends the user name and password in plain text yet very few people use secure POP3 email.  GMail is one of the few email services to offer secure access.
 

blueblood

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Ned said:
Not true.? A VPN is for secure access to a network over an unsecure link, not something the average person ever needs.? As long as the web site you're using is secure (HTTPS), the data is encrypted from the browser to the server.

A WiFi network is no more or less secure than any other network.? Any computer on the network can "sniff" the traffic with the right tools, whether wired or wireless.? As long as you're on a secure (HTTPS) server, you're reasonably safe.

As an aside, POP3 email protocol sends the user name and password in plain text yet very few people use secure POP3 email.? GMail is one of the few email services to offer secure access.

I think this portion of an SF Chronicle article on subject highlights the differing opinions. In addition most responders think of users as being able to turn on encrytion when in fact most public areas are wide open.

Q: Is it OK to log on to my bank account using public computers in an Internet cafe, at the library or somewhere else?

A: "We would strongly recommend against using any sort of public terminal for conducting online banking or bill paying," said Jordana Beebe, spokeswoman for the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a San Diego nonprofit organization.

There are several risks involved. One is that the Web browser may save the pages you've visited in a temporary memory called cache, and someone who comes along later might be able to view those pages. Even more insidious, criminals have installed secret Trojan horse programs on public computers that lurk in the background, invisibly copying users' passwords and e-mailing them to the thief.

Q: What about using a wireless laptop at home or in public?

A: Security experts say that Wi-Fi users can strongly boost data protection on home networks by turning on encryption, closing their network if possible, enabling optional protected-access features and changing the default passwords supplied by their computer manufacturer and network provider.

Other safeguards include changing the Wi-Fi network's identification name and placing the Wi-Fi access point in the middle of a room rather than near doors and windows, which limits the reach of the network. However, experts generally suggest that even those precautions aren't foolproof.

Shared public Wi-Fi networks, such as at cafes and libraries, are considered more vulnerable.

Wireless security is complicated and generally carries risks, said Bank of America e-commerce executive Sanjay Gupta. "I wouldn't bank online if it's a shared network," he said.

Donald Duggan, chief technology officer for Bank of the West, said he doesn't bank over Wi-Fi, even at home, despite his strong confidence otherwise in online banking security. He added, "Most of your general consumers don't have enough knowledge to actually secure a Wi-Fi environment well enough."
 

Ned

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No argument about using public terminals for any kind of financial transactions.  Too many possibilities for fraud.

WiFi encryption has nothing to do with secure web sites.  Most public hot spots will be unencrypted but still can be used for secure web site access.  It's no different than plugging an Ethernet cable into a switch and using someones internet connection.

A personal WiFi network should certainly be secured and many are not.  I've been able to access routers and cable and DSL modems on private WiFi networks because they haven't been secured.  The risk of a wireless network isn't the use of secure web sites, but allowing outside access to the computers on the network.  There are a few simple steps that people can take to secure their computers when using a wireless connection to the internet, but many do not know, or not care enough, to do it.
Even if a wireless network uses encryption, everyone on the network has the key and you still need to secure your own computer.  Again, this has nothing to do with banking on a secure web site, which was the original question.
 

samarai

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Oct 11, 2005
Posts
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This site also lists rv locations that are free as well as hotels/motels.
http://www.wififreespot.com/
Most public libraries also have free wifi and if you have access to military facilities, they have free wifi in their libraries.


 

blueblood

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Ned said:
No argument about using public terminals for any kind of financial transactions.? Too many possibilities for fraud.

WiFi encryption has nothing to do with secure web sites.? Most public hot spots will be unencrypted but still can be used for secure web site access.? It's no different than plugging an Ethernet cable into a switch and using someones internet connection.

A personal WiFi network should certainly be secured and many are not.? I've been able to access routers and cable and DSL modems on private WiFi networks because they haven't been secured.? The risk of a wireless network isn't the use of secure web sites, but allowing outside access to the computers on the network.? There are a few simple steps that people can take to secure their computers when using a wireless connection to the internet, but many do not know, or not care enough, to do it.
Even if a wireless network uses encryption, everyone on the network has the key and you still need to secure your own computer.? Again, this has nothing to do with banking on a secure web site, which was the original question.

I don't want to carry this discussion out ad infinitum but I would add one more thought to my original point. I have been out of loop on wi-fi for about 7 months due to my moving, summer travel and my wife's accident. So before I sent the original response I did a Nexis search on key words like wi-fi banking security , etc. to see if anything new had been released. I found that eliminating the 15 sec sound bite articles one still sees a number of security people recommend that one not rely on SSL (https) and backing it up by going VPN. There is just no way to know if the SSL web site is sending some material in text like passwords, etc. and it does happen.
 

Ned

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If the web site is using SSL, then everything is encrypted.  There is no plain text at all over the link.  You won't find any financial sites using VPN as it requires software on both the client and server ends to work.
 

Jeff

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I had a new twist in WalMart's lot in Spokane Saturday night. I checked my connections and had a peer-to-peer wireless network that was connected to the laptop. I disconnected the connection twice and it immediately reconnected.

Decided I DID NOT need WiFi and disabled the card and used Verizon. ??? ???
 

Ned

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In the Windows wireless network advanced settings, you can uncheck the option to connect to non-preferred networks and that won't happen.  I set all of the preferred networks to manual connection as well so I only connect when I want to and to the network I choose.

The defaults for wireless networking in Windows, as in many other aspects of Windows, are NOT secure and need to be changed by the user to make it usable.
 

Sue/Al

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Oct 27, 2005
Posts
43
Why pay for WiFi? when it's Free all over, and don't bother with list's because they can't keep up anyway...more popping up every day, we just left a campground with Free WiFi, had notebook PC on all day, no problems. You can pull into almost any hotel/motel parking lot and get online in secs. And as far as banking, it's as safe as anything else, your Bank should take care of your Security, if you have XP then you have a Firewall, and you absolutely should have a good Virus Scan program...AVG is great and a Free download, you need this WiFi or not?All Krystal fast food joints have Free WiFi...Secured means they secured a server, and so you pay to use it...Unsecured means they got it Free and so you get it Free...if it is Secured such as McDonalds you need the password and? you pay them to use it, Many BK's offer Free....so where are you going for a hamburger??? they'll get on board soon, if their smart? Flying J...started internet for truck drivers, and they make them pay for showers etc. so for sure they got to pay for WiFi, and so do you.
Many rest stops along major hwys are offering it now too, more everyday....
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Some motel/hotel systems are unavailable to outsiders, either via WEP password or a required login on an "open" system.  Holiday Inns use the latter method, for example.  Others you can often get online from their parking lot. 
 

BruceinFL

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Mar 12, 2005
Posts
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Here's a question on protocol. If you are parked mext to or in the close vicinity of someone who has satellite internet and a wireless connection that needs a password or WEP, is it OK to ask if you can get on? This weekend in the Hurlburt Famcamp the guy next door had one and I hesitated to ask so I used National Access instead. Didn't know if I should have knocked on his door and asked.
 

Tom

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Bruce

I don't know about protocol, but I don't see a problem with asking. Worst case, the guy says no  :(
 

Phil

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BruceinFL said:
Here's a question on protocol. If you are parked mext to or in the close vicinity of someone who has satellite internet and a wireless connection that needs a password or WEP, is it OK to ask if you can get on? This weekend in the Hurlburt Famcamp the guy next door had one and I hesitated to ask so I used National Access instead. Didn't know if I should have knocked on his door and asked.

As long as you are begging for a feebie, why not ask him for money for a hot meal too or maybe for some gas money.
 
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