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  1. Default Internet anywhere?

    I know there are some services such as those offered by T-Mobile that offer unlimited GPRS for a $30 or so monthly fee... what I'm wondering is, what's the BEST service to use for unlimited laptop connectivity anywhere in the US?

    I'm planning a 2-3 month trip this summer, and I'd like to stay connected (email, maps, etc) to the net wherever I am.

    Anything a non-US resident can buy to have unlimited Internet anywhere for a flat monthly fee?

    -Lee

  2. #2
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Internet

    I haven't used GPRS, but I have been gearing up to look into it as well. Here is what I do know:

    Verizon offers essentially what is a Cellular Broadband Connection. I know others who use this service and have told me it is very good, except it is only availble for use in major markets at the time. Its a good broadband connection from what I have seen.

    I also have seen stormchasers using satelite or cellular connection cards for internet to access weather information and maps, and knowing that many of the areas they cover are places where cows outnumber humans and corn outnumbers all, so they aren't a major market. They seem to work very well.

    Depending on what areas you're going to, the Verizon wireless broadband might be a good choice, but I know there are dashboarders on here that use some of the other ones, and I too am interested in hearing their suggestions.

    -Brad

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Beware the hype

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee99
    for unlimited laptop connectivity anywhere in the US?
    No matter what marketing you are reading, such a thing does not now, and probably never will, exist everywhere in the USA. There is however, pretty good coverage within 500 feet to a mile of any Interstate highway in America and most towns and cities. But with little difficulty I can drive less than fifty miles from any major city in the country and still (easily) find areas of no or very limited service. The reason it doesn't exist is that it is relatively easy to obtain high speed access at motels and campgrounds and many cities (for free or close to it). If it were me, I would get a cell phone package that works well for voice (Verizon has the best footprint for consumers at the moment) and expect to find wireless broadband connections in the places you are staying at night.

    Mark

  4. #4
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Internet Enabled Cellular

    Unless your worried about doing a lot of computing on the road, you can always get an Internet enabled phone. Most allow access to the more popular Email Services (Yahoo, Gmail, etc). When I was with T-Mobil I was able to set my phone to access my home email (at that time it was People PC) through T-Zones Mobile Web. Typing by phone is a pain, but, I was also able to keep up on a couple of important emails that way on a trip to Washington a year ago.

    Also, perhaps if you spend that much time on the road, a Blackberry might possibly be a good investment...

    -Brad

  5. #5
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Mark - SatNet?

    Mark,

    Have you used Satellite internet? If so, do you think it's cost effective?

    -Brad

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default I have experimented with most of what is out there

    Quote Originally Posted by Arizona Brad
    Have you used Satellite internet? If so, do you think it's cost effective?
    Cost effective? Compared to what? If one needs Web access, it works in most places in North America -- but it is not what most of us would consider broadband these days. Here are some of the field reports we filed in the "early days". The sad thing is that there has been very little improvement with satellite web access since 2004.

    1/25/04: Dashboarder Ron Bunge's field report from South Texas!

    4/18/04 Bill Adams' article about DataStorm: New Age in Mobile Connectivity.

    A Quick 'n dirty overview by me.

    Mark Wright's company is still in the forefront of what is new (not much)

    Other field reports of interest:

    06/20/04 Wi-Fi Field Report, by Jon R. Vermilye,

    Mark

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Treo?

    I was just checking out a Treo to run on the Verizon network. It looks pretty cool with good email and web access. It's about $45 month over the cost of the cellphone service to get the broadband access. The Treo is like a Blackberry in that it has a small keyboard and also uses "graffiti" like a PDA. It comes in either Palm OS or Windows versions. It's a bit too pricey for my pocketbook right now but it looks like a great investment if you have the cash.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Most of the Palm-iser are good

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy
    I was just checking out a Treo to run on the Verizon network.
    All of the palm-sized devices are built to run on everyone's platform. To retain market share for the different platforms, they limit models to specific ones (like that Treo on Verizon's). Yeah, where the network exists -- it works great. But just because it looks like the Verizon map covers the entire country -- that is marketing hype -- the "red" map is attempting to show coverage where they think their customers are -- it is not the same as real, blanket coverage.

    It used to be that consumers could use analog for web access -- slow but it worked. But very few (read none) accounts are still available. If you plan to limit your exploration of America to major cities and Interstate highways, you will be able to obtain some level of wireless broadband about 55 to 73% of the time. And if you fill those gaps with the Wi-Fi and local WLAN (wireless local network systems) found at Kinko's Starbucks, motels, campgrounds, etc. etc. you can extend broadband access to 85 to 90%.

    Mark

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Sarasota, Florida
    Posts
    10

    Default

    We're planning a 28-day, 9,000 mile roadtrip in June. To handle our navigation and communication needs I bought a refurb IBM T40 laptop, a copy of Microsoft Streets & Trips w/GPS, and a Verizon broadband card. The T40 has WiFi and a modem built-in.

    The Verizon card was $50, and $60 a month for unlimited use. It also includes dial-up access for times you are not in cell range. As previous posters mentioned, between the Verizon card and free WiFi at motels and cafes, I think we'll be able to get a good connection 80% of the time or better.

    I've already gotten *very* used to having the Internet-enabled laptop in the car on shakedown trips here in Florida. It's even more convenient than I thought it would be. Highly recommended.

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gannet
    We're planning a 28-day, 9,000 mile roadtrip in June. To handle our navigation and communication needs I bought a refurb IBM T40 laptop, a copy of Microsoft Streets & Trips w/GPS, and a Verizon broadband card. The T40 has WiFi and a modem built-in.

    The Verizon card was $50, and $60 a month for unlimited use. It also includes dial-up access for times you are not in cell range. As previous posters mentioned, between the Verizon card and free WiFi at motels and cafes, I think we'll be able to get a good connection 80% of the time or better.

    I've already gotten *very* used to having the Internet-enabled laptop in the car on shakedown trips here in Florida. It's even more convenient than I thought it would be. Highly recommended.
    This is what I'm looking for. Did you have to sign up for a one or 2 year term or is the $60 per month...a month to month deal? We're going for 4 weeks and I need to be able to work from the road. We will be in NV, UT, WY, ID.

    Utahtea

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