Wi-Fi Email Secrets, by Del Albright
It's been a long day of driving. You've settled in for the night. You hook up your laptop, turn on your wireless card to get your email and, boom, you get a message saying you can't send emails. You can receive, but not send. What's up with that?
The harsh reality of the WiFi world is that so many times it will drive you nuts before you get it to work. Here are some tips and tricks that can make this whole WiFi process a bit easier and more useable.
WIRELESS CARDS AND WIFI SETTINGS
The main thing you need to understand is that it's easy to get on the Internet with WiFi if you have a WiFi (wireless) card in your computer, and by simply leaving your email and Internet browser set up to Automatically Detect your IP address and configuration.
This does not work in all cases. Hotspotzz, for example allows you fairly good access to the Internet, but you will pay dearly. In one place, Hotspotzz charged me $5.95 for 12 hours -- nearly $12.00 for a 24-hour stay (overnight).
I'm finding more and more road trip places (RV parks, campgrounds and motels) are charging extra for WiFi. Find out before you commit. WiFi providers like Linksys, AmeriSpot, and Hotspotzz are making quite a business of hooking up camp parks and hotels with wireless service.
"Web mail" -- an email utility that works through a Web browser -- is an easy-to-use alternative to sending and receiving emails using your own email program. Web mail doesn't work well for me. I want to use my email program because it has all my inboxes and contact list. To use it, however, requires learning about how to change the setting for SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) in each new location. (SMTP is the protocol through which outgoing mail is sent, a server address usually beginning with "smtp.")
TRICKS OF USING WIFI
First, let's review the main tricks for getting a good connection to a WiFi.
Another option, also suggested by Patrick
Martin, is to use Google Mail (GMail). GMail uses SSL
for its outgoing mail server, and SSL is configured
to use port 465 instead of port 25. Port 25 is the port
that many ISPs block, which results in those error messages
described above. The only down side of using GMail is
that mail sent will be sent from your GMail account,
but you can still receive mail from any POP3 account
that you specify.
If you have a Hotmail or Yahoo email account, you may be able to still send through these services -- but don't count on it. However, this may be a simple way around the SMTP problem if you don't mind limited email functionality.
I rely on email as a way of staying in touch on the road. If you, too, want to be rolling out the email while on a roll, learn to configure your SMTP and stay connected!