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Old 07-24-2012, 08:25 PM   #1
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Mobile wifi?

New TT soon to be owner here: Any advice as to what folks use to generate a mobile wifi signal to run my laptop? I currently have a PC, it has an internal antenna, I have a 3GS iPhone (stoically waiting for the 5 to come out!). I really only want my laptop up and running... When I'm on the road, I take video, make movies, and like to upload them to YouTube. Read email, surf internet.. etc... not TONS of time usage.. but the usual, I guess..
I've heard you can buy a mobile unit that plugs into your laptop, OR, generate the wifi signal via your phone...
Any tips or specific products that have worked well, advice? Oh, and I have AT&T as my iPhone carrier, currently.
Thanks!
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Old 07-24-2012, 08:49 PM   #2
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Do a search on wireless internet on this site - there's a thread with just the information you are looking for. Lots of info there
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Old 07-24-2012, 08:53 PM   #3
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tried quite a few.

Many parks have wifi and your laptop can connect. I assume you want mobile broadband.

Over the years we have tried many devices and solutions. I try to keep a cellphone on one carrier and a mobile broadband device on a different one so that we always have a means to connect.

Currently, I have an ATT mifi for mobile broadband (5 GB/month plan) and a Sprint Android phone (unlimited data plan) that can be configured as a mobile hot spot. So one or the other usually allows me to set up a wifi hotspot.

I also have a Cradlepoint router that I can tether both devices to and it will use both of them, balance the load and provides just one wifi connection. We do not use it much but is quite convenient to keep running in the Airstream while driving. That way we always have wifi in the truck while traveling.

Devices that have external antenna connections are best IMHO, if you can find them. The double aluminum shell of our airstream does cut down on the cellular signal so I mounted an antenna on the refrigerator vent cap. When I bought it, the ATT mifi (Elevate model - very fast on 4g LTE) was the only one with external antenna connections. The external antenna is great! But you can add it later if needed.

I am not familiar with apple phones but you can probably buy a data plan/hotspot option for it from your carrier, or jailbreak it. If you do download a lot of movies, be aware that many carriers have data limits on the mobile broadband devices.

I buy from the 3GStore. They are familiar with RVs, have great support and reasonable prices.
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Old 07-24-2012, 09:30 PM   #4
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My wife and I both work out of the house, so last week we tried working from the trailer - worked pretty well! We used the Varizon Mifi 4510L unit, which supports up to 5 devices. We both worked all week, each with extensive web and email usage. Because this was our first time, I monitored our use during the week, which turned out to be about 2 gig, out of a 5 gig per month plan. If we were full timing, we would need to increase our plan obviously.

We were near Boston so service was very good, no issues. In fact, during the drive home we needed to wire some money to our daughter, so we literally pulled into a rest area, turned on the Mifi and fired away! Very handy. Now, if only we can get the money back as easily...
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Old 07-24-2012, 11:30 PM   #5
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I have iPhones through AT&T and a midi through Verizon. In federal Verizon has better coverage in rural area. It hooks up to 5 devices and they are doing a rebate right now so its only $50. Just got it as I lost my USB one. Love it so far.

I will be switching phones back to Verizon soon now they have the iPhone. I would like the Samsung galaxy as its a better phone but it's just to big.
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Old 07-25-2012, 12:33 AM   #6
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See related posts that describe our mobile broadband setup:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f451...ml#post1164047

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f317...ml#post1157676

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f523...ml#post1167932

Note: I recently disconnected our CenturyLink DSL line and purchased the Cyfre "Rockies" Extreme (cellular) Amplifier and Mobile Accessory (magnetic-mount external antenna and power cable) Kit; and I will be testing the amplifier and antenna with the MiFi 4510L during an upcoming roadtrip.
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Old 07-25-2012, 06:47 AM   #7
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I use my droid 4 for most everything on the road. When i need to use my laptop I can either usb tether or create a hotspot with an app on the phone.
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Old 07-25-2012, 07:12 AM   #8
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I connect the laptop via my iPhone personal hotspot. It works well for me. With your video work data usage may be a cost factor.
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Old 07-25-2012, 07:24 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin245
I connect the laptop via my iPhone personal hotspot. It works well for me. With your video work data usage may be a cost factor.
How much does it cost to do this?
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Old 07-25-2012, 07:45 AM   #10
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I currently pay $20, per month for 2GB on an iPhone 4. I don't download huge files so this amount works well for me. There are other plans available.

Here's how it works:

http://www.macworld.com/article/1158...t_verizon.html
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Old 07-25-2012, 08:02 AM   #11
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OK, so I'm not too up to speed on all the technology becaus I just am not even close to the time in my life where I 1/2 - 3/4 time in my AS yet. I do tether my lapto to my BB with my assigned work equipment.

Does anyone use or know about Autonet? You can run 10 devices on it...range of 150 feet (IIRC). Is it cost prohibitive? I don't see any mention of it except with some of my commercial customers.
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Old 07-25-2012, 08:46 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
Does anyone use or know about Autonet? You can run 10 devices on it...range of 150 feet (IIRC). Is it cost prohibitive? I don't see any mention of it except with some of my commercial customers.
If you are talking about the Carfi, I took a quck look. It is a combination device. It includes wireless broadband device (i.e. same as a data card you get form Sprint etc. ) and a wifi router. Together they creates a wireless internet connection via a wireless carrier of your choice and a wifi signal for the computers. You have to add on a data plan from a carrier to make it work.

You could achieve the same thing by plugging your BB into a 12v wifi router. It would be cheaper and more flexible in that if you want to get a new carrier of trade your BB for say an Android, that has tethering , you can. Here are some

A mifi router like the ATT Elevate looks like it will do eveything the CarFi will do and is smaller cheaper and more portable.
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Old 07-25-2012, 08:54 AM   #13
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Yes, I understand that, but between the wife and I, we have a blu-ray which is WiFi and streams Netflex, a laptop, an Ipad, a Kindle....and who knows what down the road. Again, right now I just tether and skip the netflix etc. But when were traveling extensively, I don't think tethering will do it. But technology changes rapidly, who knows by then?

edit: WAIT! I re-read...tell me about the 12V router for BB.
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Old 07-25-2012, 08:55 AM   #14
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I've read the original post and some of the replies. Basically, I want to point out a couple of things. You're "mixing metaphors". I'll explain.

Do you want internet access while on the road (highway or campground)? If so, then you want access via mobile broadband. That isn't WiFi.

WiFi is a local area connectivity solution. It is shorthand for wireless fidelity and was designed to replace wired connections to a router which, in turn, was connected to the internet.

If you're interested in the iPhone 5 (rumored for September release) then I'd consider upgrading to the plan that allows you to share the internet connection with other devices like a laptop. This is commonly called making it a mobile hotspot. Once the iPhone gets a data connection you'd turn on the capability (Settings) and access your iPhone's wireless signal from your computer.

If you didn't want this capability full time then I'd suggest getting a pay-as-you-go plan from Verizon to use with one of their MiFi Jetpacks. They have a variety of data plans on a month-by-month basis. Why Verizon? Because they've been doing it longer and offer the service as does Sprint. Sprint, however, doesn't have the coverage nationwide that Verizon does.

Now, if you want pure WiFi access while at a campground (most don't charge) then you'd need to ask on checkin about wireless internet access. Some require a password to access the wireless signal and some don't. The only "gotcha" about that is your location within the campground and within your unit. Trees with rain, other units, distance, and number of users at one time all effect the performance you'll experience.
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