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Old 07-20-2011, 06:38 AM   #15
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whew. Living outside the USA on a small tropical island sure sets one back when it comes to this stuff. We use plain old cell phones. Now I am trying to figure out what we will need to use the internet for work while we airstream for a couple months. I know Verizon is our best bet for signal where we're going. SO....I need to put together a shopping list. Is this what I am going to need?:

1.) a Verizon MiFi. either a 2200 or a 4510 I don't know the diff. We don't want a contract. Will only use two months a year.

2.) a separate router by someone like cradlepoint, but only if we want to use more than one computer at the same time with item 1.) the miFi.

3.) some kind of signal booster like the Wilson cradle thingy, with a suction cup antenna mount because magnetic mounts are useless on an aluminum skin...

Will this setup let us both use our laptops ( mine for internet surfing, emails, etc. and hers for full time software development via PTN connection to a remote desktop) at a remote location in northern colorado, as long as we have cell phone signal?

How bout inside the tow vehicle while I'm driving....will she be able to work if I find her some kind of laptop lap desk?
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:15 AM   #16
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Hi from Ga... following this thread with interest. We just did 45 day Western swing and spent a lot of time with no wi-fi, sketchy cell phone service (AT&T), and no cable tv . (Yellowstone, for example) I am hoping to find a satellite TV deal WITH wi-fi/ cell service. regards, Craig
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:48 AM   #17
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Gringo,

Look the wi-fi in motion setup. One could buy it from them, or just gather the parts and save some money. The mi-fi devices are very cool. Visit www.wilsonelectronics.com and look at their boosters. I have used several and have found them to work well.

A neat feature, IMO, would be to hard install (meaning permanently mount the outdoor antenna on the roof of the trailer) and hide the booster in a cabinet. This would boost coverage for all cellular devices in the trailer at once.

I am not not sure of the coverage of the wireless access point side of the mifi devices, but a standard 802.11 n router placed in the trailer would cover the tow vehicle while in motion. One would have to test the mifi range, and some of them may very well have the same wifi radio chipset as some routers.
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Old 07-20-2011, 09:41 AM   #18
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Thanks. I'll look into all that. I think she wants to be able to work on long drives whether we have the trailer hooked up or not, though. We have to rent a truck in Houston, and then drive to Dallas to pick up the trailer, for example. That's four to five hours sitting in the truck while I drive, when she could be earning $$.

As for mounting the antenna on the trailer permanently, I am okay with that, too. I would want to come up with some kind of mounting plate or bracket to mount to the trailer, and the antenna to the plate. That way, when we change hardware eventually ( and you know ya always do) I won't have a bunch of mis-matched holes in the roof. I can just make another plate to fit the same holes on the airstream and the new antenna.

Anyone come across a nice little lapdesk kind of thing that a passenger in a pickup truck could use as a desk?
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Old 07-20-2011, 10:49 AM   #19
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Gringo: The Verizon Mifi devices already support multiple connections (5, I think) so you wouldn't need a Cradlepoint-type device unless you went with a cheaper USB modem intended to plug into a single computer.

Whether or not the mifi is sufficient for your work depends on how data-heavy your work and your wife's work are. I've spent several days working with only a Clear 4G connection, but that was with just a single computer.

A mifi should work pretty well moving down the road as long as there's decent signal along the route.
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Old 07-20-2011, 10:57 AM   #20
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Let me know how it works. We have been trying to solve the problem for US coverage. Rogers won't help until there is some type of competition.
Is there a time limit on the walmart card??
Dave

We've just bought a Virgin Mobile MiFi card from Walmart (in the US) for $124 which requires no contract, just $20 for a 1Gb top up as needed. It runs on the Sprint network, which I know isn't the best coverage, but we're only using this set up for leisure purposes so constant connectivity isn't a must have. Compared with the prices we have been quoted to rent MiFi or those quoted by our much loved (not) Canadian telecomms providers, it's an absolute steal. Sure, we can only use it in the US but that's where our long trips will be so that's no problem. We're hoping to run an iPhone, Notepad and Laptop from it, but probably not all at the same time, so that should stress test it nicely.

We're off on a 17 day jaunt down the I75 and back so I'll let you know how we managed with this solution.
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Old 07-20-2011, 11:22 AM   #21
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Devices we have been using...

On our road trip from LA-Portland-Seattle-Missoula-Joseph, OR-Baker City, Or-Ft. Collins, CO-Dodge City, KS-Oklahoma City- and now 30 miles east of Kasas City, we have had various connectivity.......

We have the following devices and plans:
I Phone with AT&T
Droid X with Verizon (Easytether app) unlimited data plan
Verizon Broadband 4 g (they wanted us to upgrade from our 3 g)
Verizon Galaxy Tab 3 g
And we have tried to connect to various WIFI in campgrounds (unsecured)

Let me say, that each location has provided challenges and we have resorted to going to the local library to get internet (Joseph, OR and Lewiston, ID comes to mind). Sometimes we could get on the campground WIFI but sometimes not.....so we have considered a booster antenna.....sometimes we were in places like Lake Wallowa (beautiful place) that had no cell service or internet.

Right now, we are 30 miles east of Kansas City near I-70 and the Verizon Broadband 4 g is not working.but the Galaxy Tab is.....and also my Easytether ($9) app on my Droid is working.......go figure.....we are really not that far off the grid.....

I think we would have been better off keeping our Verizon Mifi (3g) except that they reduced the monthly plan by $10 a month to go with the 4 g...(we left it at home or I would try it)...we even had trouble with their 4g in downtown Chicago....so it is a mystery to me where they have 4g.....maybe LA and NY? Certainly not in the places we have been traveling...

Next on our list of places to go are Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and Omaha......will let you know if we have better connectivity in those places...paula
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Old 07-20-2011, 11:56 AM   #22
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I think we would have been better off keeping our Verizon Mifi (3g) except that they reduced the monthly plan by $10 a month to go with the 4 g...(we left it at home or I would try it)...we even had trouble with their 4g in downtown Chicago....so it is a mystery to me where they have 4g.....maybe LA and NY? Certainly not in the places we have been traveling...
Same thing here. While on a cross country trip we a problem with our 3g USB modem and the nearest Verizon dealership claimed they couldn't replace it, so we went with the 4g and essentially lost most connectivity, no matter where we were. Even in the cities where there was supposed to be 4g, when it wouldn't connect, the modem wouldn't even kick back to 3g like it was supposed to. We found a Verizon affiliate in Texas that had the same 3g model as our broken one. Problem solved. The 4g (at least the one Verizon sold us) just wasn't ready. I guess I'll stick with 3g until 4g coverage is more widespread and stable.
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Old 07-21-2011, 12:14 AM   #23
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We have recently switched from an old Alltel USB air card to the new Samsung Verizon 3G/4G MiFi hotspot device because we now have 2 laptops and we can surf at the same time. We haven't had the opportunity to really test it extensively, but so far, even with only 3G it's been working fine... I find it as good if not better than the old Alltel air card (which worked very well for us), despite the fact that I have yet to get a 4G signal because of where we go. I do think we are going to invest in a booster device for those times when I know I could get a signal if I had more oomph. I was worried that I might not be able to connect when the device is in side the Airstream, but that has not been a real problem so far...if I am outside and it's inside or vice versa, it's worked pretty well. I've also used it at home when the cable connection has been down for one reason or another...nice backup.
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Old 07-22-2011, 09:12 AM   #24
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Gringo,

I have seen several "lapdesk" type products at the home and office stores here in the States. It consists of a "bean-bag" type bottom with a curved wook or laminate surface mounted on top of the bag. It would work great for what you are describing.

Here is a link to what I am trying to describe: Euro Lap Desk - Bamboo | Lap Desks | Office
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Old 07-29-2011, 12:15 PM   #25
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WIFI InMotion

We've now had the Wifi InMotion (WIFM) system for 2 years. It was installed by George Sutton, Bend.

When traveling we depend on a good strong Internet connection. Most parks systems are not acceptable including higher-end new parks such as Crown Villa in Bend (really bad WIFI).

Long story short, I've tested our 3G and now 4G cards direct in our computers and then plugged in to our MBR1000 router with external antenna and booster amp. Night and day. No drop outs and faster speeds with WIFM versus constant table pounding using the card direct to computer.

Bottom line, after two years of 3G and now 4G use I would not travel in an RV without the WIFM router, external antenna and booster amp!

Hope this helps.
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Old 07-29-2011, 12:18 PM   #26
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Gringo,

I have seen several "lapdesk" type products at the home and office stores here in the States. It consists of a "bean-bag" type bottom with a curved wook or laminate surface mounted on top of the bag. It would work great for what you are describing.

Here is a link to what I am trying to describe: Euro Lap Desk - Bamboo | Lap Desks | Office

that looks perfect for what we want, thank you very much. Showed that to La Gringa Suprema and she said 'I want one'.

Shinyroad, I am not sure it's important which router, there's no amplifier gain in that, but what amp and external antenna are you finding is working so well for you?
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Old 07-29-2011, 01:39 PM   #27
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that looks perfect for what we want, thank you very much. Showed that to La Gringa Suprema and she said 'I want one'.
...
I use one of those in the "Mahogany" finish. The finishes are all just finish over more plain wood, anyway. I found mine at the Staples here in Little Rock. They seem to be much more reasonably prices at Staples, see: Contour Lap Desk, Mahogany | Staples®. There's probably a Staples near you too. (On edit, I keep forgetting you're out in the islands. Maybe I'm just jealous. )

I've been using mine for over four years now. The "Mahogany" finish is getting thin where I use the mouse, but the lap desk still functions just fine. I guess the "Bamboo" would not show wear as much since the underlying wood is light and close to bamboo in color.
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Old 07-29-2011, 01:50 PM   #28
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My understanding is that the prepaid Verizon aircard does not give as good coverage as the aircard you pay for all year. They want you to pay more, but because others have prepaid cards, they have to, sort of, compete. I don't know whether this is true of mifi, but it it good to check.

I've thought of an exterior antenna, but haven't bothered. The way to go would be to strap one to the TV antenna (insulate from it), run a wire down the fridge vent and then find a way to get it to a computer or other device. I believe there are exterior antennas with a transmitter that will relay a wifi signal to your computer; you use it when you are camping.

All of this is more than I want to deal with until it gets simpler. I bought a high gain antenna last year and it didn't do much at all with my old Powerbook and I haven't tried it with my new MacBook. We get by and I curse campground wifi frequently, but most of the time it's adequate, barely. I keep hoping this will be simple, but it never seems to be. One thing I have learned is not to ever believe anything anyone tells me about this at Best Buy.

Thanks for the tips about Verizon 4G. Verizon has long had the best coverage, but maybe that's over. We have used a Verizon dumb phone for years because we travel a lot and it works for what we need. It works badly at home, but we don't use it here.

Gene
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