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Old 08-23-2005, 06:32 PM   #1
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Wi-Fi

I'm going to be on the road a lot over the next month between Washington D.C., and Miami. Does anyone have any experience with accessing the internet with Wi-Fi cards and a laptop? I have an aircard but the connections are painfully slow and unpredictable. I understand some campgrounds, airports, hotels, etc. have this available. Any recommendations regarding hardware would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks.
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Old 08-23-2005, 06:45 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by SilverRanger
I'm going to be on the road a lot over the next month between Washington D.C., and Miami. Does anyone have any experience with accessing the internet with Wi-Fi cards and a laptop? I have an aircard but the connections are painfully slow and unpredictable. I understand some campgrounds, airports, hotels, etc. have this available. Any recommendations regarding hardware would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks.
Just want to clear up a question I have on your nomenclature, The "Aircard" is for a link with a provider like Sprint or Verizon...?
WiFi is 802.11B or G this type of connection takes a different card from your "Aircard" you will need a true Wi-Fi card. Linksys, Netgear, D-Link are some brands, all about $30 to $50 for the card.
Try and take a look at this http://www.wififreespot.com/ they list free WiFi connections and there are many pay as you go sites.
I used the Linksys G card works well and has good reach.
All and all it is fast and usually works well.
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Old 08-23-2005, 07:18 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info and the link , Gary. I'll check it out. My aircard is a Sierra 555D wireless modem through Verizon, and is one small step above slow dial-up servivce in terms of speed and reliability. I'm aware that I will have to get a different card for Wi-Fi. I was looking at some today that were both 802.11G and 802.11B compatible in the $60-$70 range. I read somewhere else that it would be best to get one with good range and external antenna capability because I will be shrouded in aluminum much of the time.

I appreciate your help.
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Old 08-23-2005, 07:26 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by SilverRanger
Thanks for the info and the link , Gary. I'll check it out. My aircard is a Sierra 555D wireless modem through Verizon, and is one small step above slow dial-up servivce in terms of speed and reliability. I'm aware that I will have to get a different card for Wi-Fi. I was looking at some today that were both 802.11G and 802.11B compatible in the $60-$70 range. I read somewhere else that it would be best to get one with good range and external antenna capability because I will be shrouded in aluminum much of the time.

I appreciate your help.
Just a quick FYI, G is better than B, it transfers data quite a bit faster, I have a Netgear G card for my laptop. I also have a wireless router at home, I can be anywhere in the house, and play on the laptop. I got it on sale, the router, and the card, for $90, and then got a $30 mail in rebate.
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Old 08-23-2005, 07:47 PM   #5
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Yes, but also know that G won't be any better then B when it comes to internet access. The speed increase is only useful if you are doing computer to computer file transfers or media streaming.

Also, get a card that is compatible with a program called NetStumbler. Kiddies use it for finding wireless network is what is called 'wardriving'. You can use it to find unsecured wireless networks in public places, and it gives you a signal strength graph to help you find the perfect signal.
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Old 08-23-2005, 07:59 PM   #6
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WiFi

I am full time and I used the hotels and starbucks till starbucks went too $10.00 a day good only at the store you paid and the major hotels are now giving pass words to there guest, so that is out.
I gave up and installed Internetinmotion. Great system, but don't call Netgear for help, they locked up my computor and system, then said " You get new computor" and hung up!!!
Tom and Charlie got me back up after 4 hours of figuring out what Net Gear had done at no charge!! Great guys.

Don Primrose
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Old 08-23-2005, 09:26 PM   #7
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McDonald's has WiFi for about $3.00 for 2 hours, Krystals has FREE WiFi. Panara's is also FREE but to me (first time with public WiFi) Panara's was a bit clumsy although I had some custom settings in my browser and am using Firefox. YMMV. There are service providers that are like pre-paid calling cards. You pay for so many minutes/hours/whatever and it works where they are the service provider regardless of the host owner (any way that's the way I read it). Might look at www.jiwire.com for more hotspots. The more we help you connect, the more we can chat with you! Safe travels!
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Old 08-23-2005, 10:41 PM   #8
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We have used flying J and TA truckstops wifi... charges aren't too bad for tenty four hours or longer... can sit in the parking lot, connect, feed in payment info, and do your thing. Don't even have to go inside to take care of it! It was safe, painles, easy to use. No problem!
Now if WalMart would come up with this sytem......
And when we stayed near Cape Kennedy this spring, one of the first things we were told was about the free wifi in the park! Which we used and enjoyed.
The KOA was another story.... I felt it was vastly overpriced for the number of hours offered... especiall since Vido had collected our exorbitent lot rent at the gate!!!

Elizabeth in Iowa
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Old 08-24-2005, 12:05 AM   #9
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I used Panera's WiFi while on the road at International...great food too!

Another spot not yet mentioned, quite a few public libraries have it. I could sit outside the library and log on after hours from the parking lot in Springfield. Also, more and more campgrounds are starting to have access as well.

Don't ask me the technical stuff...G vs B, etc. I have a Toshiba Satellite laptop and 'whatever' connection came with it. All I know is I turn on my computer and it works...same as at home, yes you may have to log on differently, but no biggie.

Shari
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Old 08-24-2005, 06:40 AM   #10
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I use a Mac iBook with Airport and have had no trouble picking up internet at all of the places already mentioned (Starbucks, Borders, McD's) as well as free and paid services at KOA's and private campgrounds. Add to the list of freebies such as public libraries, churches, universities, and even some public schools. I've had pretty good luck sitting in parking lots of some of these places and logging on for free. Ultimately, though, I am probably going to buy Internet in Motion which I have been researching.
Good luck!
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Old 08-24-2005, 07:30 AM   #11
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One of the moderators on RVNet.com keeps a .pdf list of parks with wifi; he updates is often, might be handy to save or print shortly before you leave.
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Old 08-24-2005, 08:02 AM   #12
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Thanks for the link to the list. I've already saved it. Through the responses and by following the links, I believe I may have enough information to make an informed decision. I even found some neat little gadgets that detect wi-fi hotspots for about $50-$60, such as the Canary Digital Wireless Hotspotter, and this one:

http://www.pcconnection.com/ProductDetail?Sku=5946276
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Old 08-24-2005, 10:40 AM   #13
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Just curious about the speed on your Sierra Aircard. What speeds are you seeing outside of Broadband areas? I'm using a Sierra 580 Aircard on Verizon Broadband/Nationwide Access network. Where Broadband is available my speeds seem to run between 400 and 600 kbps. The only experience I have outside of Broadband areas (nationwide access) is at our cabin in the mountains of Arizona. Speeds there run pretty consistently at about 120 kbps -- still not FAST but better than dial-up. I did ad an external antenna to make sure signal strength was good.
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Old 08-25-2005, 01:56 PM   #14
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Dave,
I checked this morning on the way to work and I was clocking a furious 154 kbps. The speed may have something to do with my VPN. No broadband is available in my area yet.
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