Traveling WiFi

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Hexdump
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Traveling WiFi

Post by Hexdump » Sun Mar 22, 2015 1:23 pm

We will be on vacation for about 6 weeks and might not be at a spot that has Wifi access.
We have ATT as our provider and I see that they have mobile devices named Velocity, Unite, Unite Pro.
They sell for $50.00-150.00 or 0.99 with a 2 year contract.
I have also used my IPhone 5 as a tethering device and connected my IPad through it.

Our data plan is for 1gb and we rarely exceed it but I expect that we would exceed it if we do a lot of tethering.
ATT charges an extra $10.00 per GB so that is kinda cheap.
I don't know if the mobile devices provide data to go along with the device. I will need to read about that .

So, would the pocket device afford many benefits over tethering ? Would it be faster or other stuff ?

What have y'all done when traveling and wifi was not available for an extended period ?

ResearchMed
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Re: Traveling WiFi

Post by ResearchMed » Sun Mar 22, 2015 1:29 pm

Hexdump wrote:We will be on vacation for about 6 weeks and might not be at a spot that has Wifi access.
We have ATT as our provider and I see that they have mobile devices named Velocity, Unite, Unite Pro.
They sell for $50.00-150.00 or 0.99 with a 2 year contract.
I have also used my IPhone 5 as a tethering device and connected my IPad through it.

Our data plan is for 1gb and we rarely exceed it but I expect that we would exceed it if we do a lot of tethering.
ATT charges an extra $10.00 per GB so that is kinda cheap.
I don't know if the mobile devices provide data to go along with the device. I will need to read about that .

So, would the pocket device afford many benefits over tethering ? Would it be faster or other stuff ?

What have y'all done when traveling and wifi was not available for an extended period ?
We've used the AT&T "Unite" hotspot a lot while traveling in the USA, and it works very well.
(We even use it at home occasionally, if one of us is streaming something and eating up all the bandwidth; otherwise, there's no problem with several devices connected to our WiFi.)

DH deals with this, but for some reason, I think it piggybacks and shares his iPhone tethering.
So we use the Unite hotspot because he's usually got his iPhone with him, so it does me no good unless we are both in the hotel.
So it's just easier to use the hotspot regularly.
(Note: I am NOT certain about the shared billing.)

The device works very well, strong signal thus far, and it shows days and amount used and remaining, so you can tell how you are doing, or if you need to bump it up that month.

RM
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Mel Lindauer
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Re: Traveling WiFi

Post by Mel Lindauer » Sun Mar 22, 2015 1:49 pm

I use the older version of Internet on the Go, a prepaid mifi device that was available at Walmart and other convenient places without a contract.
Best Regards - Mel | | Semper Fi

vesalius
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Re: Traveling WiFi

Post by vesalius » Sun Mar 22, 2015 2:34 pm

If you have not checked in the last 6 months to a year, check with AT&T on your phones data plans. They made several changes that could give you you double or even quadruple the data for the same price as an older plan.

I would continue with the tethering for a couple of months and see how much if any extra data you might need then upgrade you data plan accordingly. That will likely be the cheapest and easiest route for you.

killjoy2012
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Re: Traveling WiFi

Post by killjoy2012 » Sun Mar 22, 2015 2:51 pm

If you live in the US and your concern is traveling in the US, I would just up the data allowance on your cell phone and tether through wifi (hotspot).

iPhone 5 and above support 4G/LTE (fastest cellular data), iPhone 4 is only 3G... so I would only see a technical benefit of buying a separate device (mifi, unite, etc.) if your phone is older. But then in that case, you might as well just upgrade your phone.

If your travel is international, that's a whole different ballgame. I would probably look for an unlocked 4G GSM phone and buy a local SIM card once in region, or look at the T-Mobile international "free" roaming they offer (although from my personal experience, their coverage is spotty and slow).

retiredjg
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Re: Traveling WiFi

Post by retiredjg » Sun Mar 22, 2015 2:57 pm

For only 6 weeks, I'd use the tether and just pay for extra gigs. Use wifi at coffee shops and MacDonald's parking lots for free when you can.

I used a mobile "hotspot" for the year I was RV'ing and it worked out well. There was no contract, but it cost $79 a month and is now $99 a month through Verizon. If they are giving you the device for $.99, you can be sure the data for 2 years will not be cheap. It's like when they give you a cheap phone - you end up paying for it in the long run. I wouldn't do that for 6 weeks.

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Aptenodytes
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Re: Traveling WiFi

Post by Aptenodytes » Sun Mar 22, 2015 3:00 pm

Part of the answer depends on how many devices would be using the signal at once, and how much bandwidth they will be using.

If it is one or two devices, doing low-bandwidth things like email and web surfing, I would just tether via your phone.

If it is more devices,or you are doing higher bandwidth things such as streaming video, I would get one of the stand-alone hotspots. I would check multiple providers -- I don't think there are necessarily any cost advantages to buying the hotspot from the same provider you link your phone to.

My employer rents unlimited-data devices out for $30/month, to support off-site connectivity needs. Perhaps check with your employer; if you are doing any remote work you might be able to get lucky.

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avenger
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Re: Traveling WiFi

Post by avenger » Sun Mar 22, 2015 7:30 pm

Option #1: AT&T has wifi hotspots in urban areas that AT&T users can use.

Option # 2: Do you have a cable/internet subscription that has hotspots?

If yes, are you traveling to a city, or a remote area?

For example, we live in Chicago and have an xfinity cable/internet subscription. They crowdsource wifi hotspots and make them available to customers wherever they are available (almost anywhere in the city I've been able to connect).

Option #3: If no to the above two options, I agree about using tethering with your iPhone. I use that too when the above two options aren't available.
cheers ... -Mark | "Our life is frittered away with detail. Simplify. Simplify." -Henry David Thoreau | [3 fund portfolio: VTI, VXUS, SV fund (yield 3.01%)]

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Toons
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Re: Traveling WiFi

Post by Toons » Sun Mar 22, 2015 7:43 pm

I use a Straight Talk no-contract mobile hotspot when traveling. :happy

http://www.straighttalk.com/wps/portal/ ... es/hotspot
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lthenderson
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Re: Traveling WiFi

Post by lthenderson » Mon Mar 23, 2015 1:06 pm

If you are traveling in the U.S., just pay for extra gigs as needed and find wifi hotspots to do your heavy surfing. These days, hotspots seem to be everywhere I can't think of a single time I've had to buy more data. I just go to a public place that has them, ask the password and away I go. You probably know this but never go to a password protected site where you have to enter your personal information when using public wifi. Always save that stuff for using up your data.

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Mel Lindauer
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Re: Traveling WiFi

Post by Mel Lindauer » Mon Mar 23, 2015 1:58 pm

It's possible that your cable or phone supplier has hot spots around the country. For example, my phone provider (AT&T) and my cable supplier (Bright House Network) both have hundreds of thousands of free access sites around the country.
Best Regards - Mel | | Semper Fi

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Hexdump
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Re: Traveling WiFi

Post by Hexdump » Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:11 am

Mel Lindauer wrote:It's possible that your cable or phone supplier has hot spots around the country. For example, my phone provider (AT&T) and my cable supplier (Bright House Network) both have hundreds of thousands of free access sites around the country.
That's interesting Mel and was something that I vaguely knew about but never looked at seriously. It looks like I will be located slightly out of the range of 2 of the ATT sites.
Which leads me to my next question.
Are there devices that can extend the range on the "listener" side, preferably one that is able to support 4 connections ?

Oops, what I have been reading talk about using an external, USB wifi and I can't use those on my IPad and IPhones. So, I am looking for devices specific to Apple products

retiredjg
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Re: Traveling WiFi

Post by retiredjg » Tue Mar 24, 2015 4:25 pm

Check out this internet book for $9.95. Right side of the page. http://www.technomadia.com/blog/ It is recent and might help.

Boosters are available. I don't know if that will work for your system. Check out wifiranger .

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Mel Lindauer
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Re: Traveling WiFi

Post by Mel Lindauer » Tue Mar 24, 2015 4:48 pm

Hexdump wrote:
Mel Lindauer wrote:It's possible that your cable or phone supplier has hot spots around the country. For example, my phone provider (AT&T) and my cable supplier (Bright House Network) both have hundreds of thousands of free access sites around the country.
That's interesting Mel and was something that I vaguely knew about but never looked at seriously. It looks like I will be located slightly out of the range of 2 of the ATT sites.
Which leads me to my next question.
Are there devices that can extend the range on the "listener" side, preferably one that is able to support 4 connections ?

Oops, what I have been reading talk about using an external, USB wifi and I can't use those on my IPad and IPhones. So, I am looking for devices specific to Apple products
The device I posted about above (Internet on the Go) doesn't require a USB connection (it's a stand-alone device), so it works with Apple products. I use it with my iPad, my Android phone and even my home computer when the cable wifi goes down. It can connect to up to four devices at the same time.

There's a one-time purchase price of $80 for the device and then you add time via pre-paid cards. No contract required. The device and cards are available at Walmart.
Best Regards - Mel | | Semper Fi

Lynette
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Re: Traveling WiFi

Post by Lynette » Tue Mar 24, 2015 4:56 pm

Mel, I have one like yours - I think it uses Sprnt's 3G network. I don't know if they are still available without a monthly fee - one version I know charged $4.95 a month. Its perfectly adequate for occasional usage.

I used mine at work today to show my colleagues my new Acer Chromebook. I intend to use it for financial transactions - so far, I think it is great - no virus protection like my other Windows devices

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Mel Lindauer
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Re: Traveling WiFi

Post by Mel Lindauer » Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:07 pm

Lynette wrote:Mel, I have one like yours - I think it uses Sprnt's 3G network. I don't know if they are still available without a monthly fee - one version I know charged $4.95 a month. Its perfectly adequate for occasional usage.

I used mine at work today to show my colleagues my new Acer Chromebook. I intend to use it for financial transactions - so far, I think it is great - no virus protection like my other Windows devices
Yes, the one Walmart's showing now is different than the one I got a couple of years ago. The only requirement to keep mine activated is to use it occasionally (I think it's once every six months but it could be once a year).
Best Regards - Mel | | Semper Fi

2comma
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Re: Traveling WiFi

Post by 2comma » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:14 pm

Hexdump wrote:
Mel Lindauer wrote:It's possible that your cable or phone supplier has hot spots around the country. For example, my phone provider (AT&T) and my cable supplier (Bright House Network) both have hundreds of thousands of free access sites around the country.
That's interesting Mel and was something that I vaguely knew about but never looked at seriously. It looks like I will be located slightly out of the range of 2 of the ATT sites.
Which leads me to my next question.
Are there devices that can extend the range on the "listener" side, preferably one that is able to support 4 connections ?

Oops, what I have been reading talk about using an external, USB wifi and I can't use those on my IPad and IPhones. So, I am looking for devices specific to Apple products
Hex,

I bought an Alpha long-range wireless usb adapter for use when sailing and I can tell you if you have a clear line of sight the range can be amazing. If you want to use it with multiple devices/Ipads and such it can be plugged into a wifi router. There are probably combo devices, I just haven't looked. The advantage over a mifi device would be that you aren't paying for data, the disadvantages are you'll need the password and you'll need to be in range. If that would work for all of your needs it is worth looking into.

If I was going to use cellular data a lot I personally would prefer a mifi type of device over tethering just for the convenience of not having to setup the phone each time and keeping it charged up. I think some of the carriers are also charging a little extra for "tethering plans". The big downside to cellular data is cost so you'll want to keep tabs on your usage. A lot of things can be going on that consume data (anti-virus updates, cloud storage, updates...) so some people try to turn that all off until they get to somewhere with free data. I just bought a Unite Pro wifi device ($99 unlocked in case I want to switch carriers about $69 locked to ATT) and I'm impressed with it. I'll be using it on a no contract go-phone plan as I'll be using it once or twice a year for 2 weeks at a time. The plan will expire after 90 days if I don't add more time, which I won't, but to reactivate there is no charge except to buy a new sim which is cheap.
If I am stupid I will pay.

mlipps
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Re: Traveling WiFi

Post by mlipps » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:33 pm

You might look into Freedom Pop if you'll be in a city. I've had my hotspot for 3 years now; device cost $100 but is free every month unless I don't use it, in which case there is an inactivity fee of $1. They run promos often for refurbished devices. The free plan is 500mb but you can add "friends" and get an extra 50mb per "friend". There are lists online of emails you can add to get " friends"; you can find them by googling...anyway, the service works great if you get one of the newer LTE compatible devices. Actually the wimax works great too, but basically only in Chicago and a limited no of other cities.

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