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Old 09-25-2013, 11:10 AM   #15
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We have both a VirginMobile and Verizon MiFi card. There are places where one will work and other won't. Seems to be a better solution than using my iPhone as a hotspot for regular work. iPhone hotspot only for emergency or quick checking of a small file or site.
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Old 10-14-2013, 06:21 PM   #16
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Anyone else have any input on this topic? I am considering getting a MIFI device and trying it month to month. Will I need an external antenna as well?
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:46 PM   #17
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I use a Pantec 290 Verizon Aircard kind of like a MIFI only USB so one connection at a time.

I have never needed an external antenna and Verizon 4G seems to be just about everywhere. 5G for $50 and $10 a Gig after 5 so it would get expensive to download movie data.

I have been told that Sprint will slow you down if you use to much data even with an unlimited plan.

There is another plan Millicom 20G for $60 and works on Sprint and Verizon networks.

The least expensive but reliability will be depending on the RV park is the campground WIFI and it is not available in most government parks.
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Old 10-14-2013, 09:17 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crabbey1 View Post
Anyone else have any input on this topic? I am considering getting a MIFI device and trying it month to month. Will I need an external antenna as well?
Just bought a Verizon JetPack MHS291 4G LTE. I upgraded from a Verizon MiFi 2000 3G. We have a family data plan. 8GB....$90....ouch. The monthly device fee is $20.

The MHS291 is the only Verizon JetPack that has an antenna input. You have to buy the antenna directly from Verizon on-line. I should have it tomorrow.

I'm going to put it to the rally test this weekend with the SoCal Streamers at Kernville....Rivernook.

Crabby1.....look me up....we'll be in space 446.
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Old 10-14-2013, 09:53 PM   #19
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One of the things you may need is money—using minutes or Gb go up fast when you look at lots of websites (this one, RV park reviews, restaurants) or send and receive lots of photos on the road.

We got a Verizon magic box—got a silly name: Jet Pack—several month ago. $50/month plus nuisance fees for 5 Gb. First two months we almost went over, but used enough campground wifi to scrape by. This month we hit 7Gb for another $20. And we don't download movies, listen to internet radio or watch YouTube. But we have internet most anywhere we have gone and that mobility is important. 4G/LTE is quite fast, 3G varies a lot depending on how busy the tower is. The magic box is simply a cellphone without voice.

Campground wifi varies a lot according to how good the installer of the system was, whether you have a clear view of the campground antenna, how busy the wifi system is (5-9 pm and early morning are usually the worst) and whether they have a contractor like Tengo run the system (often very slow). In the past week we stayed at 4 campgrounds—wifi at first was very good, second mostly nonexistent (we were about 20' from the antenna), 3rd never worked, and 4th worked on and off, usually fairly good, but sometimes nothing.

I bought a Wifi Ranger and I think it was the B version. Some very clever ideas, but some very important stuff like a workable way to use it were badly handled. Even though there was an Airstream special at $150, it was $150 down the drain. Maybe they have figured out simple things like knowing whether it is on or off and wiring it so it doesn't screw up the TV antenna booster. I hope so. When I could get it working, it made little difference so far as I could tell. Maybe not the B version, maybe C. The webpage to set it was attractive, but poorly explained. Maybe geeks would find it fine.

Many people have praised Wilson's cellphone booster, but we haven't needed it. When inside an Airstream, you are in a metal cage (Farraday Cage) and that can weaken or block phone and wifi signals. But lots of windows help with reception. If the cell tower is far away, you may have to go outside. The magic box from Verizon has worked well inside the trailer, however. It seems to be more sensitive than my wife's dumb phone.

You can also use a smart phone, but for us laptops and an iPad work best and we have no need for a smart phone.

It depends what you need. If you must have constant cellphone reception and cannot get it, either you need a better phone and/or provider, or need a cellphone booster.

If you need connectivity for a laptop or tablet, campground wifi varies a lot and is not always dependable or available (it was better, even in remote areas, in Canada in 2010 than in the US). Thus, a data plan with a provider with a big and fast network is needed. Verizon seems to be the best for coverage, though they are getting away with a lot on their rates.

I see that 2 or your major needs involve streaming. This uses a lot of bandwidth, especially video. If you use campground wifi, most systems now restrict use for people who stream stuff—such use makes it hard or impossible for everyone else trying to get and send e-mails and maybe a few photos to a friend back home plus check out campgrounds for the next day, tourist attractions, etc. More bandwidth for a campground is expensive for them and many have no idea how to make it happen in a dependable way. Since we are all in this together, I would not recommend streaming at a campground because it makes it harder for everyone. So your option is a smart phone or a data plan with a magic box from one of the cellphone companies. You can get 10 Gb/mo. for $80 from Verizon, but even that may not be enough if you consume Gb as freely as it seems you want to.

Gene
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Old 10-14-2013, 10:39 PM   #20
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Thanks everyone for the input!

interstateflyer - We will definitely stop by and see how it is working out for you. Very interested. I was considering picking one up this week with a no contract plan so that I could test it out as well...

Gene - I agree about not streaming over the campgrounds WIFI service. I wouldn't expect that to be reliable enough anyway. My guess is that I will be traveling 2 or 4 weekends per month and would most likely watch 1-2 movies in the time as well as stream music. I don't really surf the web too much when camping but I do enjoy music with the some beers and videos before bed to relax.

Overall, I see my self using about 12 Gb / month... Verizon might work. I guess I can always brings movies with me, but that was the point of having HBOGo and Netflix (I already paid for them) Same with unlimited music from Spotify (anything I want at any time).
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Old 10-15-2013, 03:46 AM   #21
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Millenicom has a "Hotspot" plan that provides 20 Gbytes of 4G service on the Verizon network with no contract. However, there are device purchase and set-up fees. (Millenicom is a Verizon reseller.)

The Novatel MiFi device is identical to the one sold by Verizon (ours had an Avery label on it that said "Millenicom", that, when peeled off, revealed a Verizon logo underneath); and Verizon has the best nationwide coverage.

Cost is $69.99 per month with absolutely no additional monthly charges, and you can cancel at anytime. However, there is no provision for going over 20 Gbytes per month. The first time or two, they cut you off at 20 Gbytes. If you continue exceeding the limit after being warned, they cancel your device.

There is also an "Unlimited Plan" for $79.99 per month, but it throttles you at 50 Gbytes. Also, it is on the Sprint network, which does not have as good a coverage as Verizon.

We have been very satisfied with the Hotspot plan and have been a Millenicom customer for about 18 months.

Plans | Millenicom

Note: The Novatel MiFi device has a connector for an external antenna. We purchased an amplifier and external antenna in a kit purchased from MaximumSignal.net. You can also purchase several antennas separately (without the amplifier).

Maximum Signal :: Cyfre Direct Connect Amplifiers :: Peak Reception "Rockies" Extreme Dual Band Amplifier + Mobile Accessory Kit
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Old 10-15-2013, 04:46 AM   #22
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Most of what has been said here is accurate and very good information. If you want some very good and detailed information on getting online while on the road follow this link. Lots of great info, but somewhat technical.

http://www.jackdanmayer.com/communication.htm
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Old 10-15-2013, 07:52 AM   #23
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When we looked at this 3 years ago, we went with a Verizon Aircard as opposed to the MiFi. The Aircard had an external antenna jack while the MiFi did not. We connected it to a Wilson Trucker Antenna and it boosted the signal tremendously.
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Old 10-15-2013, 09:37 AM   #24
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Technomadia has an ebook and a wealth of info on everything concerning online mobility.
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Old 10-15-2013, 05:28 PM   #25
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I think I will check out that book, gramzinski. Thanks. All of the options are super expensive and I want to make sure I get the right one for our needs...
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:16 PM   #26
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They blog under the same name and have addressed many of their tech solutions during their travels on the blog.
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