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Old 11-07-2007, 07:38 PM   #1
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Greetings from VA - Connectivity issue

Greetings from North Virginia!

My husband and I bought a 1993 Legacy 30 in September, and I'd like to work from the road about 50% of the time starting in December if I can be reliably connected to the Internet for six to eight hours a day. I'm thinking of buying a WiFi booster (as suggested on another of the Airforum message boards) to see if that will allow for working from campgrounds offering WiFi...

From the research we've done, it seems that the most reliable alternative would be a satellite dish but I'd like to see if I can get by without incurring that expense right off the bat, since our travel plans for the next few months will include stays in campgrounds versus boondocking...and I tend to prefer starting with the least expensive alternative and spending more if truly necessary

Advice on the connectivity issue would be greatly appreciated!

Lavonne

PS: I look forward to getting to know folks as time goes by!
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Old 11-08-2007, 01:02 AM   #2
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Hi, Lavonne.
Welcome to the forums. There's a tremendous amount of expertise here, and I'm sure you will find a solution. I haven't tried satellite internet, but here's what works for me. Between Wi-Fi and a broadband aircard, I stay connected fairly dependably when on the road. I'm kind of a gadget guy and sometimes use an external antenna for both the Wi-Fi card and the aircard. I find it helps to get outside the two layers of aluminum. In fringe areas I also use a direct connect cellular amplifier with the external antenna, and it helps a great deal. Cellular broadband is becoming so prevalent, most of the time I can get by with only an external antenna without the amplifier. If you use a Wi-Fi card with a connection for an external antenna, there are some highly directional antennas available to help increase signal strength, such as a Cantenna.

WiFi Antennas-Super Cantenna Wireless Booster Antenna


Here's some links to the type of direct connect amp I use:

In-vehicle Cell Phone Signal Booster- Better Cell Phone Reception


This is a link to a wireless system which doesn't need to be physically connected to the computer:

Wireless Cellular Repeater - Wireless Mobile - Better Cell Phone Reception - Cellular Solutions


Both systems can also be used to increase signal strength for cellular phones.


Here is a link to an external antenna:

External Magnet Mount Antenna for Cell Phone - Cellular Solutions

Good luck in your quest for dependable connectivity.
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Old 11-08-2007, 08:52 AM   #3
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research here

There is lots of info. if you use the search function here. And many in the forums community are full timing and are connected. Some, like Rich Luhr and family, are full timers who are working full time on the road. Rich is the editor of Airstream Life and he publishes that while connected. They went the paperless route. I am sure that others like Rich will have good info for you.
Here is the Luhr family blog site:Tour of America
Good luck with your search and your travel plans. Sounds like fun!
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Old 11-08-2007, 11:59 AM   #4
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Hello, Lavonne -

In my travels I have found that if a campground offers wireless, then I haven't needed a booster.

For the times when wireless is not offered, I have a broadband card from Verizon that offers pretty good connections in the dangdest places. Unless you are truly dropping off the end of the earth, then I would have a latop with integral wireless as a first option, then use my broadband card if wireless was not available.

Good luck!

Pat (from East Virginia)
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Old 11-10-2007, 11:40 AM   #5
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SilverRanger, Loudruff, Pmclemore,

Thank you all for the advice and the links. We'll check them out...and I'll report back once I have some "on-the-road connectivity" under my belt

Lavonne
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Old 11-10-2007, 11:47 AM   #6
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If you are considering public WI-FI consider some security. They are open connections. Un-encrypted. You need a VPN tunnel. I use Hotspotvpn when at a cafe or hotel. Yeah I still stay in Hotels. Bummer.
I also have a Verizon Airdata card that I use most of the time. much more secure.
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Old 11-10-2007, 11:54 AM   #7
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Michelle,

Thanks for the VPN tip. I appreciate it!

Lavonne
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Old 11-10-2007, 03:15 PM   #8
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We run our business (moosetags.com) on the road from our Airstream. We spend about 30% of our time in the Airstream. We will use wifi when available, but to make sure that we can get on the Internet all the time, we use Quicklink Mobile Axcess from Alltel. This system works anywhere we can get a cell signal at a very acceptable speed for our business use.

We originally started using this Alltel system about two years ago with an aircard, and the cost was $60/mo for unlimited use. About a year ago, Alltel started offering Acxess via one of our Alltell cell phones for $25/mo for unlimited use. We switched to this connection method and it works just as well as the aircard. We use SuEllyn's phone to connect and forward her calls to my phone while we're on line.

With this system, we can work on line while we're underway. This system also provides the security of dial-up.
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Old 11-11-2007, 01:15 PM   #9
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SuEllyn & Brian,

Thanks for the recommendation and for sharing your experience

Lavonne
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Old 11-11-2007, 05:52 PM   #10
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The only place we haven't been able to get reception from our Verizon aircard was Mexico. But I have found that wifi from alot of the parks is poor to say the least , as well as not secure. Hope this helps ....By -the - way ...we've beenaround the country 2x in last yr.
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Old 11-17-2007, 10:33 AM   #11
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Njoysrvin,

Thanks for sharing your experience. Alas, I found out this week that the streaming data I need to access does not work with laptop aircards (or at least the people who have tried to do so have been unable to do so)...so it looks like I'll be relying on campground Wifi (with some advance 'Plan B' work to find out where the closest WiFi sites are) ... until I decide to spring for a satellite dish on the RV
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Old 11-17-2007, 10:42 AM   #12
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Depeneding on how much data you plan to move they have bandwidth limitations. Satelitte has high latency (delay) and usually a limit of 200 MB per day. Whatever you do if you use Wi-FI hotspots get a VPN program. Wi-Fi hotspots are open and un-encrypted. Your data is visiable to everyone!
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