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> New Rv'er, how do you get internet access on the road?
jmcf46
post Aug 26 2011, 03:04 PM
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Anybody have beginner information on internet access while on the road. I am computer illiterate and am trying to figure out how to get wifi on my laptop each time we stay at a park.
It seems to get it you have to have a password, so where do you get the password? No idea what to do about it.
We bought a view finder 19fk to see how we would like travelling and maybe get a bigger one later on. Still trying to figure out the hot water system and furnace system on it. This one has the propane tanks in a locker in the back of the rv so if we get rearended I won't have to worry
about wifi or anything else for that matter.

Thanks

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chowhound
post Aug 27 2011, 09:46 AM
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By on the road, I assume you mean in a camp ground as opposed to driving. for the cgs that provide wifi, they will provide you with a password at the cg office when you check in. Some charge for it some don't. We use the samsung wireless router (4g) to get on the internet through our cell service (verizon), which can handle up to 5 users. It can be used in the cg or litterally "on the road" wherever you have cell service.

Welcome to the forum, have fun out there
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joez
post Aug 27 2011, 01:25 PM
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There are several ways to access internet while traveling. MacDonald's, Starbucks, and many restaurant chains provide free wifi at their businesses and some travelers will use them to check email, etc. Many campgrounds provide free or pay for service wifi at campsites. These services range from very good to frustratingly poor. Satellite systems (like Datastorm) are available that provide access almost anywhere. They use a dish like satellite tv. Satellite data systems are expensive to install and, I have read, speeds are not real good.

Many (most?) of us use cellular service for internet access. There are "aircards" available from all carriers that use cellular data services. Some of us use smart phones with hot spot capability (act as router to create your own wifi so multiple computers can be online simultaneously). Routers are available that can access aircards and then are used for multiple access. Cost for cell access typically is somewhere around $60 per month give or take and some carriers limit monthly useage. It is also possible to tether a cell phone to a computer and use the phone to access the internet. Be aware that doing so may not be entirely legal or ethical, depending on the carrier, but many do it anyway.

Accessing the internet while traveling is fairly commonplace today, but you need to understand that there is not universal coverage everywhere with cellular or wifi. Your choice of cellular carrier, if you decide to go that way, should be based on whether there is coverage where you plan to be. For instance, we have Verizon, Sprint, and ATT devices (work requires). West of the Mississippi Verizon is hands down better voice and data coverage. However, east of the big river we have found Sprint has better/faster data coverage where we travel. ATT is almost useless for us whenever we are away from major cities. There are major exceptions, however. We recently stayed in rural central IN in an area where Sprint and Verizon were useless. Only ATT had a signal where we were. There are still large areas out west where there is no coverage.

With a little research on your part you can find what is best for you. Good luck.
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JDRobar
post Aug 28 2011, 11:03 AM
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Ah sa... Ah say, EXCELLENT summary Joez!

Like Chowhound, I use Verizon's 4g on a Samsung wireless router. In big cities, it's great. Out in the country side (like Moab UT where I'm at right now) you get 3g. The difference being speed.

If you buy thru COSTCO, the router will cost you $80 with part being refunded two months down the road. There is a two year contract; and, like their mobile phone, you can choose your usage. We have 5 Gig for $50 a month. That will pretty much take care of your daily stuff unless you like to stream movies from netflix. If you are a COSTCO member, go to the phone booth in the store and they can tell you all about the particulars.

One down side is that unlike your current Internet Service Provider, you won't get free email, unless of course you want to use ymail, gmail or some other advertisement laden service (The dang things, ah say, the dang things remind me of cannons - always shooting their mouths off. And, unless you are better with a computer than most at the hen house, forget getting it on your outlook.)

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KentuckyCampin
post Aug 29 2011, 10:55 AM
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If you drive a chevy, you can also get mobile wifi. It is a router that connects to your vehicle and uses the same satellite system as the Onstar. I am thinking about getting this installed in my truck, but the price is pretty high. That way you can surf the net anywhere, anytime, even if you dont have cell reception. We have been to campgrounds that are out in the middle of BFE and there is no cell reception, but I have phone service through my onstar!! And unlike most Fords, it is not bluetooth, but its own phone service!


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RFCN2
post Sep 1 2011, 11:05 PM
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Kentuckycampin - Hmmmm, your comments are news to me with regard to OnStar. I could be wrong but believe OnStar operates through the cell phone system. There is satellite phone service available, but lots of money. It used to be called irridium. But I think they went broke and might be renamed. I have a satellite system for internet through Huges Net, but lag time would make it unusable for phone. Maybe OnStar does emergency through sat and voice through cell phone system. I am not positive but am near certain phone is through cell system.

With regard to novice internet use. Try traveling and just using RV Park wifi for a while. On our just ended six week trip we had pretty good internet from the parks 85% of the time. Almost always it is free. The other alternative that is low cost is to tether a smartphone if you have one.


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Denali
post Sep 3 2011, 10:01 AM
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QUOTE(RFCN2 @ Sep 1 2011, 10:05 PM) *

Kentuckycampin - Hmmmm, your comments are news to me with regard to OnStar. I could be wrong but believe OnStar operates through the cell phone system. There is satellite phone service available, but lots of money.
You're right, RFCN2. Onstar uses a cellular network (Verizon Wireless in the US), not satellites, for communication.

Onstar is also available for any vehicle now. They sell an aftermarket version.

This is the first I have heard of an Onstar-based router for Internet access. Nice idea.


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joez
post Sep 3 2011, 10:17 AM
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QUOTE
If you drive a chevy, you can also get mobile wifi. It is a router that connects to your vehicle and uses the same satellite system as the Onstar.


You do not have to drive a Chevy to get mobile wifi. Any cell aircard, hotspot phone, mifi, or aircard router will provide local wifi wherever a signal is available. Perhaps there is new Onstar technology today that uses satellite, but a few years ago I made a trip with a business associate out west where we had no Onstar for many, many miles - no cell service either.
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KentuckyCampin
post Sep 13 2011, 08:06 PM
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Hmmm, I guess I was under the wrong assumption that Onstar was satellite!! I checked into it and see that the GPS is the only thing using satellite and Onstar does indeed use cell towers to communicate.
As for the internet, it will use a router installed by the dealership for $399 and the cost per month will depend on if you want the 1GB of data ($29) or 5GB ($59). With all of the new phones out there now, it probably would be cheaper to just get a 4G phone and use your laptop's wireless on that. Would be a whole lot cheaper I would think.


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SteveE
post Sep 14 2011, 12:48 PM
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New as well, but here is what I did. Subject to change (since I am not locked into a contract) as I see what other people post here.

WiFi is avalable all over the place if you are willing to use your computer at specific locations (restruants, RV campgrounds, etc) . To get WiFi, all you need is a modern laptop computer, Ipad, or one of the many (low cost) tablets that have WiFi.

If there is no WiFi where you like to travel (i.e.; boondocking or campgronds without), then you will have to use a different solution.

The most popular solution (and cost effective at the present) is to use the cellular phone network. There are many different methods of accessing this network and it will really depend upon how often you will want to use the system (ocassional or year round); what type of phone and data plan you may already have; and if you want to use a laptop, Ipad (or similar), or your phone; to access the internet. (O-Boy, more toys to purchase)

For me, I just see occasional use in our future (as I should be able to stay away from the internet for a few days at a time) since we usually only can take four to seven day long trips (someone has to work to keep the economy running.....) and are most frequently boondocking at that.

So I bought a Verizon pre-paid USB dongle (small USB stick that plugs into a laptop computer) from Walmart (on line) for about $100.00.
I then subscribed to the Verizon pre-paid plan and choose the $50.00 per month for 1Gbyte plan. Set-up is easy, just call the 800 number that comes with the device and they will walk you through it real time.

Yes, there are cheaper ways of going, if you plan to use the system every month.

On our most recient trip (to Moab Utah), we used about 200 Mbytes (1/5th of the months allotment) in one week. Mostly for email (webmail) and some web browsing, about a holf hour every day. Speed is "reasonable", but don't try to download a movie or not only will you find it slow, but you will quickly exhust your data capacity (though you can just pay for more if the movie is that important). I now doubt that I will use the device again for several months as there is still time for fall rafting and backpacking trips. Since I don't plan to use the system every month, I will just renew it when I think I will want it for longer than a few days (most likely for Christmas at my parents home as they ony have dial-up and it drives me nuts). There is no activation fee, so you don't feel pressured to "use it or lose it".

You can also sign up for this at a Verizon store, but it will cost more for the device and I am not a fan of the staff at our local Verizon store (sterotypical "used car salesmen" - my appoligies to any used car sale personal on this forum...but you get the picture).

Remember though, this is not the way to go if one wanted to use it full time (or perhaps more than six months a year) or had higher data demands. However, it is one way to get started, without getting locked into a contract, to see if you like it.

In our part of the country (Northwest), Verizon has all other providers beat in terms of coverage (and I spend a lot of time in the backcontry) for cell coverage. Data coverage is not quite as good but, so far, it has worked where ever I have had voice coverage.

Note, I do NOT work for Verizon or any other cellular provider.

Hope this helps some,
Steve
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mikel
post Oct 1 2011, 07:40 AM
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I have Sprint EVO, gets signals just about anywhere. Can connect 4 wireless devices at one time. or just use the internet on my phone.

mk


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