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Old 02-13-2016, 02:52 PM   #1
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I am not a computer geek

I am going to Alaska this summer and need my computer do I get a data card from ATT that is who my cell is with
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Old 02-13-2016, 03:20 PM   #2
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I think you should call customer service at ATT and see what they suggest and have available for you.


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Old 02-13-2016, 03:35 PM   #3
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You will most likely be best served by a mobile hot spot, unless you have a smartphone that can tether. If you can tether, then you will be able to use the wifi from your phone on the laptop.

Assuming you cannot tether:
Do not get too hung up on what your current carrier has available. You would be better off comparing what carriers have service in the area you will be visiting, and then going with a hot spot from them. Last thing you would want is to get something from ATT and then have little or no service where you are going.
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Old 02-13-2016, 04:11 PM   #4
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You will also need to have some idea what data usage you have before committing to a data plan. With Verizon you can change your data plan on the fly if you need more data in the month. I am sure AT&T does the same thing.
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Old 02-13-2016, 04:17 PM   #5
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I have ATT cell service and got a MIFI, it is great. I now never use wifi even when it is available and have found the MIFI is faster. Of course, you have to have cell service to use it.
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Old 02-13-2016, 04:37 PM   #6
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And if you're driving to Alaska thru Canada, remember the rules are different in an International country. Susan has a family member that is Canadian. He has found that it's cheaper buy a temporary pay-as-you-go phone when they are here in the USA than using their Canadian phone here. There are similar plans/programs for data on your phone or with a MiFi. Data rates internationally (if you use your US phone) can get expensive very quickly.

I'm pretty sure I've seen a discussion of this in this forum before. Maybe I can find it.

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Old 02-13-2016, 04:44 PM   #7
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Here's one: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f314...ng-128382.html

Another: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f161...ce-124245.html

Another: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...da-136387.html
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Old 02-13-2016, 04:47 PM   #8
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We have a Verizon Jet-Pak which is a great way to get internet service across the USA. We bought the "Canada" package in 2014 when we went to Alaska and thought the package included minutes. It didn't- we were shocked at our bill. The package wasn't expensive but the minutes were! If you need a lot of internet service while traveling in Canada/Alaska be prepared to pay a chunk of money, and remember, in remote areas (there are lots of remote areas in Canada) you will have a hard time finding any service.

Minutes or mega-bytes, they are both expensive...
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Old 02-13-2016, 05:37 PM   #9
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Visit Best Buy's phone department, they will have the information you need. I too needed WIFI on the road and the helpful folk at Best Buy presented the options for me. AT&T and Verizon both have portable, on demand options.

I needed coverage for mostly Florida and chose the Verizon Ellipses Jetpack. The speed is very good for my needs, I have even been able to stream movies with it, but that's an expensive movie I found out. There is no contract or monthly payment, it's pay as you go. Verizon had the most options and best coverage for my needs. I can get 10GB for $100 that's good for 2 months (use it or lose it). It's a small hockey puck that works well even inside my AS or traveling down the Interstate. Turn it on, let it connect, then connect to the WIFI with the assigned password. When it runs out of minutes you can call and 800 number or the device will send you to the Verizon web site so you can log in and buy more minutes.

I would assume AT&T has similar options, you just need to see which has the coverage you need. Looking at coverage maps for both companies, it's pretty bleak, only the major populations are covered by either.

Head on over to Best Buy and see what they can offer you but the connection with either is pretty easy.
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Old 02-14-2016, 12:40 PM   #10
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I am a computer geek (and admit it). Cell data coverage in Alaska if spotty at best. Most of the major carriers are in the populated areas, Verizon, ATT and T-Mobile. Their 4G data networks are going to be in the large cities and along the major highways. GCI is the largest local carrier and their data network is not that good.

https://ss7.vzw.com/is/content/Veriz...Data-Final.pdf

https://www.att.com/maps/wireless-coverage.html

https://www.t-mobile.com/coverage-map.html

https://www.gci.com/wireless/coverage

I'm not sure were you plan to go and what you need to do on your computer, but Satellite data services like Iridium and Inmarsat would be the only way you would be able to get coverage everywhere. These are expense for a short equipment rental and airtime.

http://www.satphonestore.com/airtime...ime-rates.html

Before I'd go I would call one of the carriers directly and ask them what the data coverage is in the areas you plan to travel. Ask them what the LTE and 4G data coverage is in the locations. I f the only have 3G that will work for some internet usage but will be slow.

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Old 02-14-2016, 01:06 PM   #11
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To see which carriers have what coverage in Alaska, go to the OpenSignal site and enter the zip code for a city that you'll be near. The OpenSignal shows coverage for several but not all carriers. To get the zip code, start here:
http://www.unitedstateszipcodes.org/ak/

Then go to the OpenSignal site and enter the zip code:
http://opensignal.com/coverage-maps/US/

I entered a zip code for Anchorage (99501) on the OpenSignal site. To see coverage for the whole state, I zoomed out using the controls on the left side of the map. It looked like coverage from any carrier listed was spotty at best. If you're headed off to the wilderness, it might be a good idea to look into satellite service if you want to stay connected.
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Old 02-14-2016, 01:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by housebg View Post
I am going to Alaska this summer and need my computer do I get a data card from ATT that is who my cell is with
If you're confused by all of the different hardware options, you're totally normal. Just ask and I'll try to explain them all.
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Old 02-14-2016, 07:12 PM   #13
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My Cellular Internet Setup

Here is what I have just purchased for my internet connection while in my Airstream:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00..._detailpages00
Wilson Electronics 700-2700 MHz Wide Band Directional Antenna with F Female Connector $53

http://www.shop.flagpolebuddy.com/16...6016AL-Kit.htm
Flagpole Buddy 16 ft Aluminum Pole & 2.0 Mount Kit $170

http://www.verizonwireless.com/home-...er-with-voice/
Verizon 4G Broadband router with voice + wifi Free with 2 year contract
6Gb Data Plan + Access for 1 device = $80/month

The pole will always be mounted on my Fiammia Bike Rack on the back of the Airstream. It is a simple task to take the pole off, attach the antenna to it using 2 wing nuts, extend the pole to about 12 feet and reattach it to the mounts on the bike rack - check out the videos on the flagpole buddy web site to see how easy these mounts are to use. Then I connect the antenna wire to the "SAT" coax connector on the side of the Airstream. This solves how to travel with an ungainly antenna pole, antenna and its wire. The pole rides attached to the bike rack and the antenna + wire in a zippered bag in the SUV. With the Flagpole Buddy's mounts it should go up or down in under 5 minutes. One note is that I plan to place a safety wire/latch on the lower antenna mount to make double sure that a bad bounce will not jar the pole loose.

Inside the Bambi I will have the Verizon device. It acts as my hotspot as well as having a telephone connection on it (that way we take our home phone number with us on the road). With a 2 year contract it is "free" so I did not have to pay for a jetpack hotspot device. Plus it easily connects up to the directional antenna outside. As a wireless router all of my devices finds the Verizon device without any action on my part (after their initial setup).

Make sure that you set up your laptop to not automatically download any non-critical software updates. That can eat up your data plan. Do the updates only from a Wi-Fi connection or wait until you are back home.

Also if you find that when you are inside the Airstream you cannot get a good enough signal on your cell phone, you can set it up to use your Airstream's new Wi-Fi hotspot for phone calls. The Verizon Broadband router with a directional antenna elevated at 12 - 16 feet should always get a better signal than your cell phone inside the airstream.

If you are in an area where cell phone reception is strong and you don't need the directional antenna, the Verizon Broadband router has its own internal antennas that will work in those situations. Just remember that the stronger the signal, the faster the internet connection will be.
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Old 02-14-2016, 07:29 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by BoscoMN View Post
............Make sure that you set up your laptop to not automatically download any non-critical software updates. That can eat up your data plan. Do the updates only from a Wi-Fi connection or wait until you are back home........
That is a really good point. Update files can sometimes be huge. My understanding is that with Win10, you can't turn this "feature" off. Do you know if it can be manually set to only download over a wired or WiFi connection? We haven't upgraded anything to Win10 yet, so I don't have a machine to check this.

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Old 02-15-2016, 11:01 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim & Susan View Post
And if you're driving to Alaska thru Canada, remember the rules are different in an International country. Susan has a family member that is Canadian. He has found that it's cheaper buy a temporary pay-as-you-go phone when they are here in the USA than using their Canadian phone here.

Jim
For Canadian residents reading this, we used to switch phones when we crossed the border too, but have since found that Wind Mobile provides seamless, inexpensive roaming in the USA.

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Old 02-15-2016, 07:17 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim & Susan View Post
That is a really good point. Update files can sometimes be huge. My understanding is that with Win10, you can't turn this "feature" off. Do you know if it can be manually set to only download over a wired or WiFi connection? We haven't upgraded anything to Win10 yet, so I don't have a machine to check this.

Jim
In Windows 10 you can turn any WIFI connection to metered to stop automatic updates. If the connection is wired you can only turn off the update services. There is no feature as yet to allow us to set wired connections to metered. I run versions of OS's as VM's for testing purposes and they are all viewed by the OS as wired. Took me a little bit to realize that the Windows 10 VM was auto updating and some research to find out I couldn't set the connection to metered.
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Old 02-15-2016, 07:43 PM   #17
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Quote:
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In Windows 10 you can turn any WIFI connection to metered to stop automatic updates. If the connection is wired you can only turn off the update services. There is no feature as yet to allow us to set wired connections to metered. I run versions of OS's as VM's for testing purposes and they are all viewed by the OS as wired. Took me a little bit to realize that the Windows 10 VM was auto updating and some research to find out I couldn't set the connection to metered.
Good info. I was under the understanding that Microsoft would not allow the Update feature to be disabled in Win10. Something about protecting the OS for everybody, blah, blah. It does make sense that in certain circumstances it can be disabled. Just logical.

I'm a minor league Geek, can you tell?

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Old 02-15-2016, 09:49 PM   #18
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Stop automatic downloads from Win10

For Windows 10 you need to designate your internet connection as being "metered". This will stop the automatic downloading. Google "Windows 10 metered connections". Here is one such article:
http://www.pcworld.com/article/29531...-own-pace.html
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Old 02-16-2016, 12:11 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim & Susan View Post
Good info. I was under the understanding that Microsoft would not allow the Update feature to be disabled in Win10. Something about protecting the OS for everybody, blah, blah. It does make sense that in certain circumstances it can be disabled. Just logical.

I'm a minor league Geek, can you tell?

Jim
I can tell!

Here is a little more information about this. I have been running in metered mode for a while now. Depending on which device is charged, I will use either one of the cell phones or the jetpack(std) for WIFI. What I found was that if you don't get all the devices set to metered fast enough you will get partial downloads of the updates. Windows will then hang during download (when you are on a land line and not using cell data) if the time between updates is too great causing the downloads to get out of sync. You will then need to perform a cache clear on the update files. This will only be needed if the update download fails to complete.

1. Stop these two services, Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) and Windows Update. (you might have to set them to disabled to prevent an auto start)

2. Go to the Windows\SoftwareDistribution directory and delete everything.

3. Then Start both services in step one.

The update will restart and the downloads will complete normally. These are also the same 2 services to stop when on an Ethernet Connection to prevent automatic downloading of updates (or to prevent Windows 10 from updating at all). I think you will like Windows 10 and would recommend it, but I too am a geek. YMMV
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Old 02-16-2016, 12:32 AM   #20
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I am not a computer geek

I'm sorry, as a long time Windows professional geek, I can't stand Windows 10. It looks like an interface designed by a demented, underpaid sea slug.

I'm stuck with supporting it, but that does not make me hate it less. Sorry.

To me, it is non-intuitive, clumsy, and full of glitches, far worse than Windows 8. Sadly Windows 7 is not supported enough any more, so I'm stuck with 10 on a horribly expensive ruggedized laptop.

I'm seriously considering dumping the whole thing and going 100% Apple or Linux. Sigh.

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