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Old 05-21-2016, 10:40 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, 11:14 AM   #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, 03:09 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, 04:16 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, 04:27 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, 04:30 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, 05:04 PM   #7
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... 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, 05:23 PM   #8
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[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, 06:48 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, 09:47 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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Old 05-21-2016, 10:05 PM   #11
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Microsoft has just slammed me into W10! Nothing works and ALL my passwords are having to be reset. W7 was OK, w8 sucks and w10---well what can I say, give me a couple of tin cans and a length of string and I'm good!

I'll continue to rely on my own capabilities to get out of a fix. Sure I'll try all the internet s#@%&, but I won't count on any of it when the chips are down. Just sayin'. Jack
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Old 05-21-2016, 10:17 PM   #12
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Roger that. It's a good thing not to have to use the tools we carry around, but that one or two times a year that you use them is much better than waiting for help. It always pays to be prepared, within reason. I'd like to pull around a tool bus behind my bus.
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Old 05-21-2016, 10:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mysty View Post
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!
Maybe T-Mobile's a better suggestion in this case? They have true unlimited so...

As far as truck stops... some do, some don't. They're increasingly setting up wifi from what I've seen in the past five years of traveling via Greyhound... which, by the way, is NOT fun.
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Old 05-21-2016, 11:17 PM   #14
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Yea, the Windows 10 auto download is BS. I don't know enough about the platform yet to know if its decent or not, but the fact that they are installing it without consent is pretty aggravating. Same thing is happening on a family members desktop right now.

The reason it is happening is because of Windows Update and the different levels they use to categorize updates, ranging from optional to recommended to important. Most people don't pay any attention to the windows update and leave their settings at the default 'install any recommended update.' This makes sense usually, as it makes sure you don't miss any important software while not requiring you to do any work.

When Windows 10 was introduced, it was classified as an 'Optional' update, meaning the most you had to deal with is annoying pop-up boxes in the lower right hand corner of your screen asking you to download it. They recently upgraded it to a 'recommended' update, realizing that doing so meant that hundreds of thousands of people with the default update settings would immediately update to windows 10. This usually happens in the middle of the night, so many people just wake up to a new OS. Passwords, files, and more can get messed up in the process.
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Old 05-21-2016, 11:38 PM   #15
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Why not just get a direct tv package with AT&T? You can run your wifi through the dish. My parents have theirs on top of a mountain in BFE Alabama, and sometimes I like it better than my Verizon signal, plus you have your tv to watch the Cubs win the world series this year! (just Sayin)
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Old 05-21-2016, 11:43 PM   #16
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Good info comin'down! Keep it up!
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Old 05-22-2016, 02:47 AM   #17
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i joined a facebook "internet for rvers" group and they've been pretty helpful about all the ways of getting online. they charge a fee for their premium info, but its pretty much already been said in this thread.

data plans are the biggest hurdle imo. look for unlimited plans, good coverage, and fast speeds. new equipment does help. i did not realize how much of a techno dinosaur my iphone 4 is.

verizon customers sometimes sell their old unlimited phone plans on ebay and howards list. you can assume their unlimited plan called an aol. its pricey upfront but will save you in the long run.

the wifi ranger is worth looking at if you want to tap campground or free wifi. wifi ranger even makes a mobile router that can handle multiple internet sources like wifi and hotspots, and keep you connected.

im starting with a hotspot, next will be an amplifier and yagi antenna.

i'd recommend that facebook group and the premium membership to anyone. i think everyone's needs are unique and what best fits your situation is different than my situation. the group will help you make an informed decsion.
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Old 05-22-2016, 04:49 AM   #18
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i joined a facebook "internet for rvers" group and they've been pretty helpful about all the ways of getting online. they charge a fee for their premium info, but its pretty much already been said in this thread.

data plans are the biggest hurdle imo. look for unlimited plans, good coverage, and fast speeds. new equipment does help. i did not realize how much of a techno dinosaur my iphone 4 is.

verizon customers sometimes sell their old unlimited phone plans on ebay and howards list. you can assume their unlimited plan called an aol. its pricey upfront but will save you in the long run.

the wifi ranger is worth looking at if you want to tap campground or free wifi. wifi ranger even makes a mobile router that can handle multiple internet sources like wifi and hotspots, and keep you connected.

im starting with a hotspot, next will be an amplifier and yagi antenna.

i'd recommend that facebook group and the premium membership to anyone. i think everyone's needs are unique and what best fits your situation is different than my situation. the group will help you make an informed decsion.
You have to pay to be in a facebook group? WHOA!
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Old 05-22-2016, 08:38 AM   #19
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the fb part is free. they just have all their results of their testing under their paid portion of their website.

their help has been worth the cost for me. even if its just repeating whats been said here and other post. there are lots of ways to connect on the road, just figuring what works best for my travels, desires and pocketbook.

here is the link to the paid part of their website.....

https://www.rvmobileinternet.com/

check them out.

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Old 05-22-2016, 11:11 AM   #20
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Anyone here using or have used a satellite service?...or carry a sat antenna?
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