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Author Topic: The bus and the internet...??  (Read 3585 times)
Danny
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« on: April 29, 2007, 09:15:58 PM »

Technology questions - how do you travel and stay contacted on the internet?  What options are out there?

Thanks,
Danny
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« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2007, 09:32:54 PM »

Danny,

I use a Verizon "card" that plugs into my laptop.  It works off the cell (phone) system.  Has worked everywhere my cell does.  Cost $60.00 a month.  I use it all the time... Sent this message with it.

Worked in Tombstone, Az.  this weekend.     Smiley

Bill
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« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2007, 10:14:35 PM »

Bill,
How much air time does that $60 include?
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Dallas
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« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2007, 02:46:05 AM »

Danny,

We use Cingular with unlimited data, 550 anytime minutes/mo. weekends and nights after 7PM free and 2 LG CU500 data capable phones for about $130 per month.

The service has been pretty good over all with speeds up to 2.5mbps but normally we connect at somewhere between 115K and 325Kbps.

Right now we are in a bad spot for service and I'm only getting one bar, and am connected at 80Kbps, which really sucks! Unless I think about the old days with my blazing fast 14.4 dialup modem!

We connect to the computer with a USB cable and hang the phone out the window.

Dallas
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« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2007, 05:02:11 AM »

I use Verizon wireless which means a second phone account, however it's data only and is unlimited as far as air time is concerned.  I haven't really had any problems I can't live with as long as I'm near an Interstate because that's where the cell towers are.

There are times I have a problem getting a connection, for example around 7-8 in the morning when all the gals on the way to work have their cell phones in their ears.  I truly believe that Data connections aren't the highest priority and so I get kicked off in favor of connecting the Soccer Mom's....or the gals drying their fingernails....or those sipping their Starbuck's on the way to the office.

I've laid out the asbestos suit 'cause I expect either Cat or Christy will have a few choice words about my picking on the ladies.  I calls 'em the way I sees 'em.

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« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2007, 05:24:59 AM »

We use the USB cable to connect out cell phone to the computer. Our cell phones are through Alltel and so far we have not been anywhere we could not get online (although a few spots were slower). We recently upgraded Paula's phone which was about 2 years old. Her new phone has a new technology which allows us to get a much higher speed connection, so the phone you use can make a difference. Our plan gives us unlimited high speed internet connection for an extra $24.95/month.  Jack
PS: We found this past weekend that we can be online and talking on the phone at the same time, although it does slow down a little.
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« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2007, 05:43:57 AM »

Verizon Wireless Card, $60 per month, Unlimited useage..

It works everywhere, even while I drive down the road, in tunnels, on ferry's, etc.

Good Luck
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« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2007, 06:10:07 AM »

Verizon Wireless Card, $60 per month, Unlimited useage..

It works everywhere, even while I drive down the road, in tunnels, on ferry's, etc.

How far west have you been with the Verizon card? 

There are still areas here in Minnesota and Wisconsin that have no digital cell service or only just enough service to put the phone into digital mode, but not enough service to do anything besides text messaging.  (Yes, my phone still does analog unlike a lot of newer cell phones.)

I really would like to get the Verizon service, but can't justify the cost since I have high speed at home and am not traveling enough yet.

Brian Elfert
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« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2007, 07:39:23 AM »

    I use Sprint and am very happy with  it. But the plan I have is no longer available. For marginal service areas I have an external antenna, you can also buy amplified antennas. Not all cell phones will accept an external antenna, you might check befor buying a phone. If you want to spend time in remote areas a satellite setup is necessary.
  Most librarys and Universitys will let you use a computer, usually limited to 1 hour on a first come first served basis.
 I know what Bob means about those women on cell phones! Had one yakkin away and cut right in front of me. I dropped my coffee and egg mcmuffin trying to get out of her way. Grin
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« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2007, 07:47:21 AM »

Verizon Wireless Card, $60 per month, Unlimited useage..

It works everywhere, even while I drive down the road, in tunnels, on ferry's, etc.

How far west have you been with the Verizon card? 

There are still areas here in Minnesota and Wisconsin that have no digital cell service or only just enough service to put the phone into digital mode, but not enough service to do anything besides text messaging.  (Yes, my phone still does analog unlike a lot of newer cell phones.)

I really would like to get the Verizon service, but can't justify the cost since I have high speed at home and am not traveling enough yet.

Brian Elfert

Hi Brian,

West, I have only been to Columbus OH so far, and with great service.
From NY state to Naples Fl.  and everywhere in between. No problems ever getting online.

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« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2007, 07:59:31 AM »

Sprint EVDO, RevA, Novatel U720 + Blackberry EvDO

700 - 1,100 kbps d/l typ., 400 - 500 kbps u/l typical.

Most anywhere except the boonies - but when I'm finally ready for that, all new technology will be out there!

Much info at evdoinfo.com, evdoforums.com, internetbycellphone yahoo group, internetbydatacard yahoo groups.

HTH!
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« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2007, 10:52:35 AM »

You should be able to go online and see where Verizon's coverage area is.

As fas as West, Phoenix is my present location, and it's working fine.

Bill
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« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2007, 11:14:47 AM »

We use a Hughes Datastorm Sat system. We drycamp in the boonies a lot and out of cell range, use Voip or MSN for calling the kids. We love it, great speeds and connected in 5 mins form deploying the dish. $68 per month
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belfert
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« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2007, 11:21:33 AM »

You should be able to go online and see where Verizon's coverage area is.

As fas as West, Phoenix is my present location, and it's working fine.

You're in a major metro area so it darn well better work.  Does it still work if you drive say 100 mles out on the Interstate and then drive another 40 or 50 miles off the Interstate and out into the desert?

Nick has had his work everywhere because he has mostly been in the highly populated eastern side of the USA.  I still would like to have Verizon's service, but I know it won't work in some of the remote areas I go to at times.  Once I leave I-80 near Reno, Nevada, all cell phone service ends about 15 or 20 miles off the Interstate.
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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2007, 01:57:28 PM »

Here is the low down on verizon wireless coverage..

Nick-
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« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2007, 08:04:23 PM »

I use Verizon, VZACCESS, I'm like Belfert, I don't travel enough to justify the cost of a large lengthy contract. The VZACCESS works through your phone, and you only pay for it as you need it. When we traveled to Arcadia this year I brought my lap top, the verizon phone (has to be recent issue) and I had no problem getting access, although it was only about 100-150KBS.

The best part is, because I have one of their larger packages (needed for work) I was able to call them up and have Verizon activate the internet package for the trip, then I cancelled it when I got back. I think it only ran me about $10-$15 other than the time used. No need for a year or two package at $60 a month or more.

It worked very well for me to keep in touch with work checking emails ect. I could surf the net reasonably well, BUT, there is no way you would want it if you were going to be down loading large files. 

Jim
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belfert
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« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2007, 08:21:23 PM »

What is VZaccess?  I've never heard of it.  I've heard of Broadband Access and National Access, but not VZaccess.

It sounds like you had National Access at Arcadia.  Broadband isn't in a lot of markets yet.  Heck, only 2/3s of the Minneapolis metro area has it to date.  My phone has National Access, but I think I would pay per minute the same as phone calls and it would add up fast unless I only did offline email.
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captain ron
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« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2007, 08:25:19 PM »

Verizon sucks in Wi, northern Mi, and parts of Belferts state. I'm in a broadband area right now.
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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2007, 05:27:28 AM »

What is VZaccess?  I've never heard of it.  I've heard of Broadband Access and National Access, but not VZaccess.

It sounds like you had National Access at Arcadia.  Broadband isn't in a lot of markets yet.  Heck, only 2/3s of the Minneapolis metro area has it to date.  My phone has National Access, but I think I would pay per minute the same as phone calls and it would add up fast unless I only did offline email.

Hi Brian,

VZaccess is is Verizon's name for their software to access the network.
Nick-
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« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2007, 05:43:48 AM »

Verizon sucks in Wi, northern Mi, and parts of Belferts state. I'm in a broadband area right now.

My Verizon phone works pretty darn good just about anywhere I've been in Minnesota (Except wilderness areas where I don't expect to have service), but I don't know about the Internet.

There are some areas where GSM phones work better.  I think they are putting GSM coverage in more rural areas since most GSM phones have no analog fallback.
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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #20 on: May 01, 2007, 05:47:59 AM »

Verizon sucks in Wi, northern Mi, and parts of Belferts state. I'm in a broadband area right now.

My Verizon phone works pretty darn good just about anywhere I've been in Minnesota (Except wilderness areas where I don't expect to have service), but I don't know about the Internet.

There are some areas where GSM phones work better.  I think they are putting GSM coverage in more rural areas since most GSM phones have no analog fallback.


Hi Brian,

If this helps, My verizon card tends to have the same signal strength as my cell phone.
They advertize that anywhere your cell phone works, the card will too.

Nick-
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« Reply #21 on: May 01, 2007, 06:16:01 AM »

I have Hughesnet on a tripod and a Verizon aircard.  Downside to the tripod is that you can't use it underway and it's not practical to set up if you stop for an hour in the rest area.  Upside is the speed and the fact that is works anywhere.

The aircard works anywhere there is cell service, which is most of the US.  In or around larger population areas you can get true broadband.  Other areas you will be only slightly better than dial-up speeds.  Upside to the aircard is that it works underway and there is no setup to use it.  I took the bus out yesterday and didn't feel like hooking up the dish so I'm on the aircard now. 

The advantage to the new aircards it that they are USB and can be used with any computer.  If you live in a broadband area, plug the aircard into your home PC for broadband service, then when you travel, plug it into your laptop.  Even if you are not in a broadband area, the aircard service is still faster than dial-up.  Just doesn't make sense to have wired internet anymore.  I have no wired services anymore.  satellite TV, satellite internet, cell phone, aircard and satellite radio.  I can go anywhere in the US and everything still works.

Ross
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« Reply #22 on: May 01, 2007, 06:47:39 AM »

Ross, is that satellite dish both send and receive?  Or do you also have to be connected via the aircard for sending.  The reason I ask is that I have been interested in getting a tripod based satellite system and would want send/receive.  But it seems that the send/receive systems mandate professional, fixed point installation until you get up to the bigger investements for a MobiSat system.
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« Reply #23 on: May 01, 2007, 07:09:36 AM »

Ross, is that satellite dish both send and receive?  Or do you also have to be connected via the aircard for sending.  The reason I ask is that I have been interested in getting a tripod based satellite system and would want send/receive.  But it seems that the send/receive systems mandate professional, fixed point installation until you get up to the bigger investements for a MobiSat system.

HTR,
Ross's system both sends and receives! It is definetly a very high tech set up, and it takes him just a bit to get it set up just right. But once he's dialed in it works great, when he was here he set it up and I was able to use his system wireless from the laptop here at the house! (back before I moved the DSL from the shop to the house!) It's been a while but if I remeber correctly Ross said that you have to set it for receiving, and then set it for transmitting! Which is why he points out it's not practical to set up for a short rest stop. FWIW BK  Grin
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« Reply #24 on: May 01, 2007, 12:57:26 PM »

Hughesnet is send and recieve.  No phone line required.  It's the same service as the Data Storm, except it's not an automatic rooftop unit.  I bought the whole setup from Scott Whitney (Dustyfoot.com).  It takes 15 minutes on average to set up using the tools that Scott provides with the package.

Here's the thing with satellite internet....Hughes will tell you that it is illegal for you, the homeowner, to point your dish.  That is not true.  The FCC rules simply say that professional installation is recommended, not required.  The FCC does say that the dish has to be 5' off the ground.  The Dustyfoot tripod and others of the same design comply.  Other systems using construction tripods do not comply.  I doubt you would get hastled either way, but your chances are less if you comply with FCC rules.   

Ross 
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« Reply #25 on: May 01, 2007, 06:10:18 PM »

We traveled out west to Washington, Oregon, California, Utah, etc. last summer and most of the time had no problem receiving a Sprint signal.  We use the Sprint EVDO aircard that plugs into the USB port.

Kirby & Linda
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« Reply #26 on: May 01, 2007, 06:22:26 PM »

Nick your last statement is misleading Your card will work only if your phone says "Verizon Wireless" when you open it up, which means your in a verizon digital area.
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« Reply #27 on: May 01, 2007, 06:54:03 PM »

Interesting, nobody has brought up WiFi. I cannot say much about it, becuse I have only been useing it for 2 months at one place.
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« Reply #28 on: May 01, 2007, 07:05:45 PM »

I have Wifi cards in my computers.  But the campground must have WiFi for it to be of use.  Most commercial campgrounds/resorts have WiFi I suppose, but many parks don't.  I plan to be spending time in State/National Parks and COE campgrounds in the coming months.
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« Reply #29 on: May 01, 2007, 07:08:10 PM »

JJRbus .. WiFi at most parks is not that good. We had used it before we got our Datastorm and found it to be frustrating at time and typically had to be at the office to get a strong enough to get on line
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« Reply #30 on: May 01, 2007, 07:54:39 PM »

I just got the cure for weak WiFi signals...a repeater ( of sorts )

With a little technical tinkering and knowing what you are doing you can hang this on a push up pole
to get a better signal in weak area and make it usable.

http://www.wlanparts.com/product/NOC-3220PLUS

High Power stuff. I plan on having about 3 of them one day, with one on a portable pole in the bus, That
way if I find a signal I can boost it to usable levels local to the repeater. The others will be on my secret Wlan
system covering a valley 100% ....( Plans Plans Plans )  Cool Cool
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« Reply #31 on: May 01, 2007, 08:00:41 PM »

JJRbus .. WiFi at most parks is not that good. We had used it before we got our Datastorm and found it to be frustrating at time and typically had to be at the office to get a strong enough to get on line
A lot of motels and parks think they can just go down to Best Buy and get a single home user grade WiFi access point/router, set it up and advertise WiFi at their location.  To do it right, they need to set up repeaters at various locations throughout the park.

The computer I am using right now is in a different room than my router.  The router and this computer are about 25' apart and there are two standard sheetrock walls to go through and I am showing a signal strength of about 70%.  The neighbor's house is pretty close and I get a reading of only 10-20% from theirs.  It would be pointless even trying to connect at 100' through a tree and one or two RV's.
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« Reply #32 on: May 01, 2007, 08:10:16 PM »

Back to VCACCESS, The way it was explained to me was that there is no card, The phone acts as your modem hooking you up to the internet. There are no charges by the minute other than using your minutes up.
 
Again the only fee was a monthly or daily one for the internet access plan, and because I have over 1,000 minutes between mine and my wife's phone, I was eligible to just have it set up.

In fact, I took the laptop to Verizon because I am challenged when it comes to these things, and they downloaded the program right there it took about 10 minutes.
 
I was able to access the internet from every location that I tried on the way to Florida and back from Wisconsin, although again at only 100-150 kbs, but more than enough to keep in touch with email and the net.

Jim
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« Reply #33 on: May 02, 2007, 04:57:01 AM »

I connect my Treo to my laptop for service. I have the unlimited data plan on the Treo (from Verizon) and it works pretty well on the East Coast. I can justify the expense because I use it in the business as well. It consistently connects at 170K to 192K. I use PDAnet software instead of Verizon's. After we sell our house, I am planning on installing a dish on the bus for Hughes net or data stream.

One word of caution on using WIFI. The administrator of the WIFI network can see and record your data. Even if it is encrypted, it can be broken. I would NEVER use someone else's network to access anything sensitive (bank transfers, CC payments). In addition, as already stated, a lot of the WIFI operators don't really know what they  are doing & leave their systems open to hackers which leaves the users open to hackers.

Just 'cause I'm paranoid don't meant they are not out to get me.... Grin  Grin

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« Reply #34 on: May 02, 2007, 06:40:12 AM »

Back to VCACCESS, The way it was explained to me was that there is no card, The phone acts as your modem hooking you up to the internet. There are no charges by the minute other than using your minutes up.
 

VCACCESS can use any internet enabled device to connect to the internet.  Some cell phones with a patch cord qualify.  The aircard is another one.  I tried just connecting the cell phone.  Speed was terrible and service was unreliable.  The aircard in the same area is far better and much faster.

The problem with Wifi is that more and more people are starting to secure thier networks.  Every now and then I can find an unsecure network on a back road or a hotel parking lot, but I sure wouldn't rely on it for an internet connection.  I read somewhere that some major metro areas are putting in free city wide WiFi.  If you happen to be near on of these citys, I guess you'de be in good shape.  Maybe it wasn't free.  Could be like the airports where you have to pay for a block of internet time with a CC#.  Either way, it's not a go anywhere internet solution.

Ross
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« Reply #35 on: May 02, 2007, 11:07:46 AM »

 I agree Ross, the WiFi is not the best way to go. I stay out of the boondocks so the Sprint Vision plan works very well for me. I am experimenting with WiFi to see how useful it is. I am hoping it will supplement the cell phone. All I had to buy is an adapter and a 15ft USB cable so it is not a great investment.  This may be the next thing I play with.
                                http://dustydragon.com/wifi.htm
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« Reply #36 on: May 02, 2007, 07:34:26 PM »

Thanks "spinning" Jim for the link.
I will keep that in my file.

Sojourn for Christ, Jerry
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« Reply #37 on: May 03, 2007, 05:46:49 AM »

Here is one more for you Jerry

                 http://www.turnpoint.net/wireless/has.html
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