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Old 05-21-2016, 11:40 AM   #1
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On The Road Communications & Connectivity

Howdy All --- I would like to start, suggest a possible "sticky" that covers users experience with various on the road communication issues, companies and equipment. What with all the ridiculous claims made by so many phone & internet providers, real world experiences by our fellow Skoolies would be worth their weight in gold.

For example...I do recall Dredman commenting on how well his service provider performed all across the country during his wide spread travels...but can't now recall who it was.

Phone, internet, GPS or any other such "connectivity" service should be considered as both basic and critical whether around town or way, way out in the boonies. Please share your experiences and finding here.
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Old 05-21-2016, 12:14 PM   #2
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as someone who travels a LOT and is also a techie sort.. I find that 99% of my coverage can be had by carrying both my Verizon and AT&T Mobile hotspots.. this gives me DATA coverage most anywhere I go.. even the mountains of west virgina..

I dont worry so much about cellular voice as long as I have data.. I can VoIP cal (after all my laptop and the cloud together are a complete phone system)..

I do know from the past in the western states if you are way out in the wilderness you will lose cell signal after you leave the main interstates and the main state routes...

I would Seriously invest in renting a Satellite telephone for emergencies if you decide to travel that far out...

as far as getting back on the road if you break-down.. well lets just say I would need a brand new thread to chronicle the experiences ive had with mobile breakdown services the last few days..

-Christopher
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Old 05-21-2016, 04:09 PM   #3
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Verizon's generally considered the best with regards to coverage for data needs. However... T-Mobile's been expanding their coverage pretty heavily lately, so there may be some good there.

As far as 4G LTE hotspots, just about every company sells branded hotspots. Whether they're good or not, I'm not sure, but I'd also consider perhaps a travel router as well if the 4G LTE hotspot doesn't provide for a way to control individual users' bandwidth usage.
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Old 05-21-2016, 05:16 PM   #4
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one thing about mobile hotspots.. if you have one thats more than say a year old... get a new one... Verizon, AT&T, and T-mobile have ALL added new frequency bands that greatly increase the usability of hotspots.. I carry the most current versions of AT&Tand Verizon.. both operate very well even in fairly remote areas... I have an older T-mobile that I'll be replacing as I reactivate my Tmobile service..

since I plan to spend a lot of DEV time on the road I felt I would do best carrying 3 hotspots... I really dont have much luck with sprint anywhere I go so I dumped that unit as it very rarely worked. and sprint had a SIP ALG on theirs so i couldnt connect to the cloud in the way i need for my DEV work...

-Christopher
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Old 05-21-2016, 05:27 PM   #5
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I'm guessing by your posts that just trying to connect to a restaurant's open WiFi system is insufficient? My wife needs her Facebook and I will need a VPN connection.

I'm an old HAM so would cobble together a long Yagi antenna, but still...
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Old 05-21-2016, 05:30 PM   #6
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restaraunt wifi is goo for when stopped.. and for work assuming they dont block VPN traffic or severaly limit bandwidth... starbucks and mcdonalds have decent wifi... however mickey Di s ATT and sometimed VPN servers are Blocked.. starbucks is decent but if theres any more than 2 or 3 people there then it gets very slow.. plus a lot of starbucks are in small strip centers where getting your bus parked might be an issue... mickey D are generally very bus friendly...

im an independent sort and so for me carrying 2 or 3 of my own services works best for me... esp since my livelihood depends on the internet being operational..

-Christopher
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Old 05-21-2016, 06:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
... im an independent sort and so for me carrying 2 or 3 of my own services works best for me... esp since my livelihood depends on the internet being operational..-Christopher
[Bracing self for answer...] How much are such hotspots likely to cost one? Note that I'm doing Joe Businessanalyst stuff, not streaming video.
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Old 05-21-2016, 06:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dapplecreek View Post
[Bracing self for answer...] How much are such hotspots likely to cost one? Note that I'm doing Joe Businessanalyst stuff, not streaming video.
That depends. Who's your provider?

T-Mobile's Hotspot is $80.

Verizon's Hotspot is $50 for an 4G one.

AT&T's Hotspot is not listing prices for the hotspot itself but does lists plans for use with the hotspot.

Sprint's Hotspot is ... well, they require zip code to even tell you what options you have. I'd pass on this.

NOTE: I linked to the prices of the hardware themselves, your data plans may vary!
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Old 05-21-2016, 07:48 PM   #9
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I bought my devices outright and dont pay them over a plan as I dont do contracts...

my Verizon one was $199 for the absolute latest out the door... i run that one through my business so its part of a group plan.. I dont know what we pay per month for that as we have one big bucket of data that we all pull from..

my AT&T.. i just got the newest one 2 weeks ago... cost $149. and I have it and my Silverado (silverado has built in WiFI) on a share plan with 4 gigs data that is like $75 / month... however since ive had my AT&T for 2 years.. they just bumped my data up from 4 to 8 gigs per month (not using rollover) for FREE... so now that $75 is 8 gigs..

the T-mobile one I think is like $50 a month for 3 or 5 gigs data... that unit is old and I need to relace it with their newest Hotspot which will take advantage of their recently expanded LTE bands.. 2 years ago I paid like $140 for that Tmobile device..

again I buy my devices outright and do post-paid (not prepay) but no-contract options.. so I can tell any one of my 3 providers to pound sand at any tme if I wish...

for me im not after speed as I wait to download large files until im on shore-net at some point... im Hilton DIamond and Marriott gold so I get their highest tier internets for free at any property.. and of course driving... car or bus im not streaming video... sometimes I stream audio.. but often I download my Spotify Playlist into offline mode and play it without using bandwidth... or im playng music that is stored on my phone or tablet...

the mainly Linux SHell, SVN, and SIP traffic I use the most for work uses very little bandwidth... audio conference calls use a bit more...

-Christopher
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Old 05-21-2016, 10:47 PM   #10
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This is definitely one of our biggest concerns about life on the road. We are a family of pretty heavy internet users - that is to say, we often hit our 300GB data cap before we switched to a fiber plan with a higher limit. We inquired at Verizon yesterday, and the largest data plan they offer is only 100GB, and that's $710 per month! (+taxes, cell service, device fees, etc.) Ack! We're probably looking at something closer to 20GB for $110, which works out to $5.50 per GB of data. Obviously, there is going to be a huge adjustment when we start traveling full time... Think of all the money we'll save when we cancel all of our streaming services!

In any case, I have read that many campgrounds offer wifi. Do any of you have experience with that? Is it decent? Is it common? Do the places that offer these sort of amenities welcome skoolies?

What about truck stops? Do they have wifi these days? Inquiring minds want to know!
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