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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default Internet Access on the Go

    Hey everyone!

    Long time no see!;) I'm planning on hitting the road for a few months next year with my partner. We'll be travelling in a used RV (class C) through the U.S. and Canada and I'll be working from the road. My work involves a great deal of research on the Internet (it doesn't necessarily require a lot of bandwidth though) and I absolutely have to get a flawless connection. The thing is, we'll be on a budget and can't afford to pay for an RV satellite antenna.

    I own an iPhone 3G and I already have a plan in Canada. I was thinking about getting a bigger plan and use my iPhone as a hotspot. That would be fine in Canada, but I want to spend some time in the US as well. International plans in Canada are pretty expensive so many suggested I buy another device in the US (Internet key or smart phone) and pay for a second plan in the US (I can have a billing address in both countries, so that is not a problem per se). I'd also like to have a working cell phone in the US, which is why I tend to prefer the smart phone option over the Internet key, but I was wondering if there are other cheap alternatives out there than I don't know about. Also, what would be the average cost of a 1 GB or 2 GB plan on a smart phone? Who are the cheapest smart phone providers?

    My other concern is coverage. Are the 4G and/or 3G systems offer good coverage in North America? What about remote locations (i.e. desert regions of the South West, NWT, Yukon, Northern Manitoba, Newfoundland)? Is there a good paper resource to find hotspots (ex. directory).

    Thanks for any helpful tips you might have!
    Gen

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Not much has changed in the last 15 years

    Gen,

    Nice to see you back here.

    3G, 4G whatever G you want only works well in urban areas within 50 miles of their respective nodes. Internet access from a 1/2 watt phone in remote areas is still pretty much a pipe dream. Mike Booth, the resident long-haul truck correspondent for RTA has been experimenting with some newer plans and I'll see if I can't get some updates for you.

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Your Results May Differ

    It's not often that I take exception with Mark, but my wife and I recently completed a trip to southern Utah during which our phones were completely off the grid but even so, her iPad, which has its own 4G connection, worked perfectly. Now that is a direct internal connection and not using a phone as a hub, but it wouldn't be the 4G that let you down in such a case, I don't think.

    Also, the plan she got with her iPad allows her to turn her 4G on and off as she needs it (a month minimum), paying only for those times when we're traveling.

    AZBuck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    You should be able to buy an AT&T sim here for your iPhone as long as it's not locked to your Canadian carrier. However, I think a tethering plan is quite expensive.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default

    Thank you all for your help and input. I've been researching quite a bit on web sites about all the possibilities, but I mostly ended up on advertisement websites and sales pitches that didn't convince me. :(

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Gen, try this - it's not too hard to follow.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default

    Thanks... I'm trying to get input from people who actually have experienced Internet on the go and who might have tried several of the options listed here, notably the cheapest solutions.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    This is 2nd hand from my mom and dad. Until 9 months ago, they were avid RV-ers and had tried a number of different ways over the years to connect to the Internet while on the road. Looking at that site you linked, they had tried some of those.

    Dial-up in the RV office was probably the most successful, though slow. More and more, though, the parks ARE starting to add wireless just like the hotels are. However, RV parks are more spread out than your average hotel, so not all sites have great wireless service.

    Dad experimented for a time with a tether from the antenna port on his cell phone (increasingly hard to find) and using his cell that way. It was definitely the most successful thing he'd tried.

    I had suggested that they try satellite service, as I had spent some time chatting with a couple that had a dish on their RV rooftop. They could get satellite Internet almost anywhere. It wasn't particularly secure though, at least the way this couple had theirs set up. I wouldn't have done any online banking or investment research using that particular set-up. (My son-in-law declares that these dishes can be set up to be secure and that this particular couple just didn't have it set up correctly.)

    Hope this helps.



    Donna

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default

    Thank you Donna. I forgot to mention the fact that we are planning on staying mostly in places outside of RV parks, so I guess the cell phone thing would be our best bet.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    I don't know if you found it, but did you see the "mobile hotspots" on the AT&T site? It's a 3G/4G cellular modem and wireless router, it works standalone without the need to tether.

    MiFi 2372

    Elevate 4G

    That article you just linked appears to be somewhat dated.

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