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-   -   Wireless internet solved w mifi 3g router (http://www.airforums.com/forums/f451/wireless-internet-solved-w-mifi-3g-router-64512.html)

Biggysmalls 05-14-2010 12:28 PM

Wireless internet solved w mifi 3g router
 
I'm heading out on a 6 month road trip in June and absolutely require decent internet access to keep up with my online school classes. I've researched high and low and finally settled on a Verizon MiFi 3g wifi router.

I know alot of people on these forums use this device, but I found a deal that does not require a contract, which was always the sticking point for me.

$49.95/month, no contract. 5gb transfer limit (as usual). connect up to 5 devices over wifi!

MiFi 2200 Hotspot for 3Gstore's No-Contract $49.95/mo Verizon Plan [VZW49-MIFI-A] - $89.99 : 3Gstore.com, Mobile Broadband Made Easy. CradlePoint Routers, MiFi, Antennas, Amplifiers and Verizon & Sprint EVDO Modems.

Note: I don't work for 3gstore or anything, just a customer as of yesterday and thought I would share the deal info.

2airishuman 05-14-2010 03:57 PM

good luck with that it is popular right now...

not a bad deal but nothing earth shaking either.

NO CONTRACT plans are readily available with most 3g cards...

just BUY the card at full price and go month2month on the data plan.

((which is essentially the lease/monthly plan))

there are issues with the mifi like signal strength, battery life and portability.

still it does serve a purpose.

one can accomplish the SAME outcome but with GREATer potential this way...

1-with the usb or express 34 card from the SAME VENDOR (3gstore)...

2-but with LOTS more battery via the puter

3-the ability to ADD a signal booster and/or antenna

4-the card can be plugged into the puter OR a wireless router (see the cradle point router products)

5-and again WITHOUT a long term contact for the data plan.

that vendor is great and they've got full spectrum of products and boosters and rabbit ears and so on to make this happen.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Biggysmalls (Post 849368)
I'm heading out on a 6 month road trip in June and absolutely require decent internet access to keep up with my online school classes.

if the highlighted phase in this quote is the critical element,

there will be days/weeks and locations where a MARGINAL signal or NO signal is the rule...

and only an external antenna and/or signal booster will ABSOLUTELY provide the needed connection.

having been all over and with other streamers using similar gear.

there are times when the BOOSTER/antenna is the only way to connect.

still the folks who have a myfy seem to like it...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f451...ter-54868.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f451...ded-51441.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f459...oad-45107.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...oad-54021.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f346...acr-55490.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f451...ise-56158.html

one BIG caveat, if planning to "get the tele signal" this way as suggested in this thread...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f450...-it-64500.html

u will BURN through that 5 gb very very quickly.

cheers
2air'

Biggysmalls 05-14-2010 09:37 PM

Thank you so much for your post! It caused me to hit the drawing boards again to research amplifiers and range extenders. Since the MiFi does not have an external antenna port, but there is a cradle amplifier kit available that supposedly also boosts the signal, (through magic is my guess).

Wilson Cellular SIGNALBOOST with Cradle Amplifier Kit for MiFi [MIFI-811214] - $198.95 : 3Gstore.com, Mobile Broadband Made Easy. CradlePoint Routers, MiFi, Antennas, Amplifiers and Verizon & Sprint EVDO Modems.

Apparently it can boost a cell phone or a MiFi just by putting the device in the cradle.

2airishuman 05-15-2010 12:14 AM

the wilson amp definitely works as described and many of us have that part.

the antenna also does (although i use their "trucker" antenna on a mast also) it's thing...

i have no experience with that specific 'connector' for the signal card.

since there is no port? on the card this must be magic or osmosis or magnetic ?

looks like it COULD do the trick, only testing it will confirm this.

the folks at that site are pretty straight shooters for being in 'tech sales' so give it a try and let us know...

cheers
2air'

pattimarty 05-18-2010 10:59 PM

We installed the wi fi in motion system to have the roof antenna and booster. They were very helpful. Anytime we called with a question, even on a weekend, the call was patched through to someone who was not only knowledgeable, but spoke English (which is rather unusual for techie folk). Ours is installed in the closet -- out of the way and not noticeable.

I believe camping world has a similar product with a similar name, and a short free video on their website on how it works if you want to consider an option.

We obtained the Verizon mi fi which easily plugs into the wi fi in motion system with the USB cable. The mi fi does have very limited battery life when used alone but seemed to stay charged in the wi fi in motion system. Amazing thing about the mi fi it actually really installed in a snap just like they said (most techno-gizmos that advertise that they're easy to set up take at least a couple of bottles of Excedrin headaches to get going). The passcode you'll need is on the back of the unit not in the manual or packaging. Duh.... but that took me a few headscratching moments. The sales help at Verizon was exceedingly nice but had no knowledge of the use of the mi fi in conjunction with a system like wi fi in motion. I actually called the wi fi in motion people while in the verizon store to clarify the couple of minor points and they were very helpful and quick.

We used this set up a few weeks ago in the far reaches of Pennsylvania where there seemed to be no signal and did quite well.

Both the above decisions were made from much of the info gleaned from other Airforum threads, so as it says.... "seek and ye shall find..." there is good info you can find readily from searching. The one perspective missing from some of the threads is the reasons those writting made their decisions. I found it tough to piece together the threads reading and ended up pasting the relevant ones into some Word documents so I could piece together all the info in one place to make a final call.

I absolutely need internet access for work and the charitable adventures we're pursuing while on the road. This seemed like the best option short of installing one of those really costly satellite gizmo systems. We were not only concerned about the cost but the weight factor (not of the satellite, but of the engineer we'd have to carry along to set it up). So it seemed the next step down from that was the mi fi/wi fi in motion.

Most importantly, when none of your camping neighbors can get internet reception and you let them use yours, it improves the odds of doubles for dessert at pot-luck.

Good luck.

Mexray 05-19-2010 12:17 AM

Without any direct knowledge on my part, I'm wondering how the ipad, with unlimited ATT-3G access @ $40/month without any contract would compare with the Verizon mi fi being discussed above...?

The ipad would then provide unlimited web access, email, photos, videos, etc. without the 5GB limits - or am I missing something?

With all it's other 'goodies', the ipad would seem to be a great option for staying in touch on the road - and it can also use the wifi environment when that option is available...

I know the ipad doesn't have a 'real' keyboard, and that's a hang up with some users, but it may be a realistic option for many 'roadys' among us...

Anyone using an ipad with the 3G service yet? Hows it working?

Ray

jjustice 05-19-2010 12:28 AM

Patti/Marty,

Thanks for the tip on this device and how it works. We have had the USB card from Vierizon but we can only do one computer at a time. We both as you know work on seperate computers. Now we could also use our new [courtesy of our son and son-in-law] iPad as well it sounds like. Does it work while you are driving down the highway? That would be helpful in our work as well.

Judy

2airishuman 05-19-2010 01:20 AM

the iPAD should operate just like the iPHONE or any other device using 3g from att.

the issue however is COVERAGE.

if att provides the coverage u seek, go for it.

at 900$ is this an expensive solution even without a contract for the data plan.

and while it's a dandy device the OS isn't leopard so don't expect FULL computer functions.

certainly for looking at maps, making reservations or using any typical iphone app, it will work fine.

IF u already have a usb wifi card, IT can be plugged into a router that will AUTOMATICALLY configure...

and then the CARD is shared by as many computers as you might like.

here's one router that does this, but the same company makes 5-6 models that vary in price and function...

http://www.evdoinfo.com/content/view/2259/63/
_________

reads like u are happy with this choice marty, good report..

but wifi in motion is a GIANT price gouge.

since the bits (antenna, wilson amp and cradle point router) are about 400-500$ from the 3 g store.

and set up of those bits is easy already ((the cradle point router is about as easy as it gets)).

so while they DID package it for ya that packaging adds 300$ to the price, ouch!
_____________

the UPside is it is verizon so the map/coverage is very very good...

and the antenna booster makes it better.
_____________

there really isn't ANYTHING new right now, just mash ups of nice bits that have been available for 2-3 years...

1. broadband card (phone, pad, card)
2. router (which allow the card to be shared by 2 or more puters)
3. signal booster/amplifier
4. antenna
__________

and just like a CELL PHONE, yes broadband can be used "in motion"...

of course talking , typing, touch pad'n and DRIVING all together...

will get in the way of eating, putting on makeup and reading in motion...

cheers
2air'

68 TWind 05-19-2010 07:03 AM

Check coverage if you are thinking AT&T. I changed last year, had to have an iPhone for business reasons. Love the phone but the coverage is terrible. Anywhere off the main highways and the signal is bad to none. Not a problem working, but a huge problem camping, hunting and fishing. Also, AT&T will add stuff to your bill. I love the phone but hate At&T.

Biggysmalls 05-19-2010 09:43 AM

I've also considered the IPAD as a backup device, but it really isn't a computer, and getting files on it or off of it is really difficult. There isn't really an accessible file system, and files only want to live in the one app they are used in.

PLUS, AT&T coverage... is... baaaaad.

HOWEVER: You can easily jailbreak the ipad or iphone for that matter and load the MiWi app which turns your ipad or iphone into a 3g/wifi router, just like the MiFi.

After continuing research, I decided to return my unopened MiFi and get a USB 3g modem, cradlepoint and external antenna. That option seems like the most flexible/effictive/cost effective solution and will upgrade my poor 2g iphone for the new one coming out in June and will jailbreak it for backup internet access.

pattimarty 05-04-2011 11:20 PM

Some of this thread is getting a bit gray on the sideburns but in case anyone looks back here are a few points. Verizon recently SOLD us a new internet 4G gizmo and it did not work in our wifi in motion system. Whoops. Had to exchange it for a 4G that was supported by the Cradle Point router. Lesson -- before buying your broadband modem make sure it is compatible. Also, while 2Air comments on the price mark up might be correct we've had outstanding service from the folks at WiFi in Motion. We had the system bomb on us while in outside Charleston SC on a recent trip and the president of the company no less spent more than an hour walking us through a fix and re-upload of the firmware. If you opt for the new 4G broadband undertand that it won't do much outside the big cities where 4G presently lives. Verizon has big plans to expand in 2011 but it still won't reach lots of places all of us go.

Another tidbit ... if you work on the road as we do Citrix has a range of products: gotomypc (to work on your office PC from your laptop on the road), gotomeeting (hold web based meetings) and even gotowebinar to host webinars for one flat fee. We've been using them all quite happily. As the technology improves and gets better priced it gets easier to spend more time in the tin can! Good luck all.

LawChick 05-05-2011 12:05 AM

Tethering
 
We tether my iPhone to my laptop computer and it works great. It's AT&T, but we haven't found a problem area yet while camping. Admittedly our travels have been limited to mostly the east side of the country. It was just a phone call to add it to our plan. We had ended up in one of those CGs where they have WiFi alright - right in their office.

Out west, I understand it may be different. But, for now, it's fine using the tether to get online. It's easy, and so far, reliable. We have considered my husband getting an iPhone with Verizon service just to up our chances of being able to get online between the two providers.

We're retired, but use the internet for many things, including letting our family members know where we've wandered and keeping up with the grandkids. We've found, though, that we are far less interested in spending much time online while we are camping. Too busy being happy and content just poking at a campfire, or daydreaming, or....just being.

exthemius 05-05-2011 07:05 AM

We're getting ready to hit the road at the end of the month, and will be making a western loop starting from Texas then up through the Dakotas, across to the pacific northwest, down through northern California then through the four corners region. I use the internet heavily for work, and will be using a combination of 2 mifi's (one on Verizon's network, and one on Sprint's) as well as Boingo. I'll let everyone know what our experience is like, and share what we discover.

MrUKToad 07-19-2011 10:54 PM

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.

Gringo 07-20-2011 06:38 AM

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?

RamblinManGa 07-20-2011 08:15 AM

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

jdalrymple 07-20-2011 08:48 AM

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.

Gringo 07-20-2011 09:41 AM

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?

DKB_SATX 07-20-2011 10:49 AM

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.

masseyfarm 07-20-2011 10:57 AM

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.
__________________
"You can't tow that with that!"


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