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Old 02-11-2006, 09:46 AM   #1
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Question introduction / internet question

my name is louie, and my wife chris and i got our tm last feb.05, we have a 2619 and r very happy with it, we`ve been to fl, 3 times and 1ce to st lou. mo. we live in platte city mo, just out of kc. we r planning on going to nj this april,(we r from there). my question is, how can you (or the best way) to hook up to the internet? we have a lap top we take with us, and the last time we were in fl. we had to sign up with this company (just before the hurricanes) and we had to leave early, so we lost money. i read in another forum that there is a kit you can buy and hook your lap top to your cell, to connect to the internet that way, anyone knows about this? they din`t mention where to get it from. thanks for any help. louie & chris.
(also we`ll like to be able connect to the net while we`re driving our tv)
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Old 02-11-2006, 11:06 AM   #2
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I think most people search out campsites with Wi-Fi service (need laptop outfitted with 802.11g wifi). There are also other free wifi hot spots here and there, (e.g. for my locale, Panera Bread restaurants all have them and you can access in parking lot). There are websites that tell you the hotspots - do a goole search to find them.

There are indeed products like the ones you mention. I think speeds are not very fast at the moment. I have never used these, but here is one of them I found while browsing:

As 3G wireless becomes more widespread over the next few years, I'm sure these will get better and better.

Hope this helps,
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Old 02-11-2006, 01:21 PM   #3
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The kit to hook to a cell phone does not work with all cell phone models. You have to make sure yours is compatible. As the earlier reply stated the speed is very limited. Most will only connect at appoximately 19Kb/second. For comparsion, the average modem is 56Kb/second. The average wireless or wired DSL or cable are usually a minimum of 300Kb/second and normally upwards of 500Kb/second. Although it is not inexpensive, there are also satellite services available for internet connectivity that run about $80/month. They are comparable in speed to DSL or Cable connections.
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Old 02-11-2006, 05:11 PM   #4
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Default Internet hookup.

There is a satellite hookup called Wild Blue and the satellite dish both transmits and receives so you don't need a phone hookup. Unfortunately, it uses a satellite that pinpoints your signal to your subscription area and a few miles around it so it won't work cross country. There is a reasonably fast cellphone connection using a card plugged into your laptop. It available for Cingular and I think Verizon has it also. It works if you have a good signal. It runs about $50 a month for unlimited use. Cingular did have packages available for less usage. Mine is about 10 a month added to my bill for 6mb of download. Check with you phone company and google cell laptop.
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Old 02-11-2006, 06:14 PM   #5
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Do a Search (Advanced Search) on keyword "Internet" by poster "RockyMtnRay". You will find all you need to know.

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Old 02-11-2006, 07:37 PM   #6
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Default An Update and primer on high speed cellular services

Originally Posted by Bill
Do a Search (Advanced Search) on keyword "Internet" by poster "RockyMtnRay". You will find all you need to know.

Some additions to earlier posts on using a cellphone as a wireless modem.

Last summer I subscribed to Verizon's "National Access" (technically the CDMA "1X" service) higher speed service and was extremely satisfied with it. Transmission speeds were typically around 70K to 90K (in other words, about 1.5 to 3 times as fast as you will get with a land line dial up modem). The really great thing about this service is it's available everywhere (and I do mean EVERYWHERE) that Verizon has a digital signal. And I've found that Verizon has a digital signal in even really remote areas. To utilize this service, I bought a new cellphone (Motorola V710) which is not only a great cellphone (all the bells and whistles including camera) but is also "1X" capable. I also bought an access kit from Verizon which included a cable for connecting my laptop to this cellphone and the software needed to make it all work. Last year, Verizon had 3 levels of data plans...which are in addition to the regualar voice plan...namely 20 MB/month @39.95, 60 MB/month @ $69.95, and an unlimited plan @ $79.95 per month. I chose the 20 MB/month plan. With frugal use of the cellphone for data...which was mostly to connect back to my database servers to check on their status plus selective email downloads (I use the Pegasus email client which lets me check the email headers on the email server and download only the messages I really need to see) plus frugal websurfing (mostly checking the NOAA forecast sites), I was able to stay under 20 MB/month (my schedule last summer was 3 night/4 day camping trip every 3 weeks).

Verizon also has a super high speed data service they market as BroadBand Access (technically known as "EVDO"). This is currently available in only about 80 some metro areas...but not outside of these metro areas...and offers true broadband (DSL) speeds of 400 to 700K. And the pricing isn't bad either...unlimited usage for $59.99 (on top of the voice plan cost). However, in addition to no availability in all but the specific metro areas, you also have to buy a special EVDO wireless PCMIA card for your computer. But a side benefit of having the BroadBandAccess plan is that it also gives access to the NationalAccess (1X) system

I believe that Sprint subscribers can also tap into both Sprint's and Verizon's "1X" network since Sprint also uses the CDMA technology.

For the Cingular subscribers (who have a GSM phone), there is Cingular's EDGE network. It is a bit faster than the CDMA "1X" technology with roughly 100K speeds, but is limited to within mostly metro areas and along some major Interstate routes. Hence not nearly as widely available as the CDMA "1X" system but more availlable than the Verizon EVDO system.

Although I normally avoid RV Parks like the plague, I sucked it up last summer and stayed in 3 different RV Parks because they advertised they had "Wireless Internet" (via WiFi). What I found is that the WiFi would only work in these "Parks" if I took my laptop to within about 50 feet of whereever they had installed their single WiFi access point antenna. I might add that I have an SMC WiFi card with ultra high power tranmsitter/receiver that can readily get a solid signal on my home WiFi network from over 100 feet away (and through several walls). Since I mostly use the Internet for work/business purposes while traveling and really need to have my computer next to my work materials inside my TM, these RV Park "Wireless Internet" offerings were totally useless to me. Which compounded the absolute misery of being in an RV Park.

So although RV Park WiFI was useless for my needs last year, I was invariably able to get a solid connection to the Verizon NationalAccess network from within my TM. And I was able to do this in quiet/spacious/pleasant Forest Service and State Park campgrounds as well as the incredibly noisy and jammed cheek-to-jowl RV Parks.

For the 2006 travel season, I'm vowing to totally avoid all RV Parks (and their probably poorly installed WiFi systems) and just depend on the Verizon NationalAccess (1X) service for all my Internet connection needs in Forest Service and State Park campgrounds. Unlimited good to very high speed access at $59.99/month from just about everywhere sounds mighty fine to me.

I use my TM as a base camp for hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, and climbing Colorado's 14ers

The Trailer: 2002 TM Model 2720SL ( Mods: Solar Panels (170 Watts), Dual T-105 Batteries, Electric Tongue Jack, Side AC, Programmable Thermostat, Doran TP Monitor System)

The Tow Vehicle: 2003 Toyota Tundra V8 SR5 4X4 w/Tow Package (Towing & Performance Mods: JBA Headers, Gibson Muffler, 4.30 gears, Michelin LTX M/S Tires, Prodigy Brake Controller, Transmission Temperature Gauge)

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Old 04-20-2006, 04:45 PM   #7
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Default Verizon + Motorola = Internet

I use my regular Verizon cell phone service, along with a Motorola phone, an external antenna, and a Wilson signal amplifier and am able to get Internet service almost anywhere. I don't use National Access, but instead just the regular America's Choice plan and get good enough speeds to get my e-mail. Sometimes it's pretty fast and sometimes it's quite slow, but if you have patience (night and weekend minutes are free!) you don't need to spend too much extra money if you already need a cell phone anyway. The cable and software (modem driver) costs about $20 on eBay or $40 or so in the Verizon store.

One thing I did find is that the external amplifier blew the daylights out of my LG VX3200 phone twice in a row and I had to switch back to a Motorola. A guy at the Verizon store told me (off the record) that Motorola phones seem to do better with external antannas and amplifiers.

If you are thinking about using an "air card" (a PCMCIA device that acts as an antenna) be aware that they do not accept external antennas so you cannot boost the signal. For me that is not an option, given that I camp in the west in the mountains, so I will stick to my phone. It's less expensive and allows me to combine my voice and data minutes - they give me 450 per month with nights and weekends free, so I have more than enough.

UPDATE JULY 2006: I just learned that Verizon is phasing out the ability to use your cell phone as a modem unless you sign up for National Access at $60 per month. This is in addition to the $40 per month for the basic voice plan. New customers will not be able to connect to the Internet if they only have the America's Choice plan. The sales representative said that those older customers who are still connecting to the Internet on their voice plans will eventually get "caught" and won't be allowed to do this anymore. So if you are one of those old customers who can connect to the Internet without National Access and are thinking of upgrading your phone or renewing your contract, you may want to consider keeping that old phone and remaining on a month-to-month contract after your original one expires. It sounds like calling attention to yourself is not a good idea.
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