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Author Topic: WiFi on the road  (Read 893 times)
GoPhoenix
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« on: May 07, 2012, 09:46:15 am »

We usually stay at commercial campgrounds so I can access WiFi.  I run three websites for charity organizations, gratis.  One website requires changes several times a week.  I like to read our local newspaper online daily when traveling as well as internet news and financial websites.  Also, internet banking.  Were currently traveling about 90-100 days out the year, usually weeks at a stretch.  We love state/federal campgrounds, but generally avoid them because of lack of internet access.  We have a Verizon cell phone not a smart phone.  My wife has an iPad.

Soif we want MiFi and switch to a smart phone, preferably Verizon, whats the cost for all this?  Do you have to pay the MiFi cost for the months you dont use it?  Does it work in Canada?  Assume cost-wise you cant just stay connected most of the time as Im accustomed to doing?  Interested in what folks are doing without me have to reinvent the wheel just for me.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 10:02:26 am by gophoenix » Logged

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Barry-Sue
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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2012, 11:41:25 am »

We use our Verizon cell phone and Verizon's Mobile Broadband feature.  The cell phone is "tethered" (a Verizon term for being connected by a cable) to the computer and acts as a modem.  The Mobile Broadband feature can be turned on and off as required (no contract or activation fee) and is prorated on a daily bases if not activated for an entire month.  Depending upon your cell phone you may have to turn on Data Package and Mobile Broadband features or just the Mobile Broadband feature.

Our phone (we have an older model - not a smart phone) requires both the Data Package and Mobile Broadband feature and costs $50 per month for 2 GB.  Prorated it averages about $1.60 per day.  The 2GB meets our needs for email, update downloads and general surfing.  We do not do any video.  We generally use about 1GB a month.  They have different plans and many times will offer 4GB for the price of 2.  We have service everywhere we have telephone service.  Speeds are comparable to our cable service at home.  So far we have been very pleased with this arrangement.  As a matter of fact we will be turning it on this week as we are leaving for our trip to Washington DC.

We've never checked into the rates for Canada.  We like staying at the federal/state parks as well and as long as we have a cell signal we have internet access.  If you call verizon they will check your phone to see if it is capable for the Data Package and Mobile Broadband feature.  We had to buy the cable for our phone to use for the connection to the PC but it was only $5.00 through verizon.  We've been doing this for the last 5 years. 

Barry
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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2012, 12:02:36 pm »

If you're primarily interested in accessing text on the web and email on servers such as yahoo or hotmail, you may already have a "free" way of doing so.  If you have a Kindle with 3G capability as well as wifi, you can use the "experimental" browser feature to access the internet pretty much anywhere in the world with no charge, since Amazon provides you the service so you can shop for books everywhere.  Sounds too good to be true, but my wife managed to check her email in the middle of the Pacific Ocean when the ship's internet connections were not available.  Some day I'm sure Amazon will plug this hole if they get too much static from their 3G provider, but it works as of now.  Takes a little fiddling to get it configured, but it's FREE.  Something to think about.  By the way, on the Kindle Fire, which has color and graphics, they don't offer the 3G option (too much bandwidth??)

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« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2012, 12:38:40 pm »

Like Barry, we also tether our older Verizon non-smart phone, it works great, Barry did a great job describing how it works.  I really like that I can turn the feature on and off for a trip and be charged only for the actual days used.  Also, I feel a little more secure using our cell phone verses the WIFI at some campgrounds.

Bob
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GoPhoenix
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« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2012, 09:17:06 am »

Thanks for the info on tethering and all the detail.  Sounds like the solution!  Ill be heading to the Verizon store.  A big helpful vote for you.   Smile
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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2012, 08:16:53 am »

One thing I forgot to mention is that if you are a military veteran you can get a nice discount from verizon on all of your service.  Just show them your DD214.  The phone was in my wife's name and we switched it to mine to get a better discoount then what she was getting through AAA. 

Barry
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« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2012, 01:47:49 pm »

I might be a little late for this conversation as you might have purchased something already.  We have our own "MIFI" from   AT&T which is basically our own portable wireless router.  It allows us to connect up to  5 computers at the same time  and can use 5gb of data whether it be video or not. We can also do video messaging.   It can run at 3g or 4g depending on your location.  It works in USA and Canada provided there is cell service.  It only costs 50.00 per month.  You could even get this and drop your internet service at home and probably would have basically no increase in bills to you.   It is a stand alone unit that is about the size of a wallet and runs off batteries or plugged in.   I even used it when the hurricane came through and land based internet was down.  It is a pretty neat unit.   

Safe travels.

DJM
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JackD
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« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2012, 04:35:21 pm »

FWIW, I also have a Verizon wireless hot spot that will accommodate up to 5 devices - laptop, ipad, etc., and it works wherever the Verizon 3g or 4g signal is.  If we're in an area where there is no wifi, we use the hot spot, and both can be on our laptops or ipads at the same time.  the only "hook" is that Verizon service is limited in Canada, but we're taking ours there this summer and try anyway.  I'll know more in Sept.!!!

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« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2012, 06:39:39 pm »

what is the monthly costs of the Verizon hot spot device?
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JackD
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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2012, 04:21:32 pm »

$59.95 - ($60) per month for the unit that will accommodate 5 things - I think you can get a usb port stick for $50, but you're limited to one device at a time-- yes, a bit expensive - remember when we had a $10 phone bill???
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« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2012, 05:05:27 pm »

yes Jack... a bit pricey when compared to our $10 phone bills of yesteryear.  I retired from Verizon, so maybe I was the cause of some of this!   Grin
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« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2012, 09:17:34 am »

AHA.....!!!  However, I have to admit phone service/usage/communication is a heck of a lot better than those days!! I still remember searching for Holiday Inns & 7-11s to find a bank of phones instead of the cell!!! I guess we all should say thanks...and --- I would think you'd get a discount on a hot spot!!!
Jack
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« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2012, 05:09:05 pm »

yes I remember the long bank of pay-phones especially in tourist area's here.

No hot spot discounts for me as I worked for the VZ wire side of the house. (they do give me a discount on the landline however).

I think the Kindle (like the one I got for Christmas), is the best way on the cheap. (has to be the 3G enabled type)
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« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2012, 06:12:38 pm »

Which Kindle is it?
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