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Air card and tethering for Internet access Print E-mail

Dear FMCA Computer Geeks:

I was thinking of changing my Internet connection to a Verizon air card router. Will this work while under way in the motor coach as well as in RV parks where the Wi-Fi is not very strong? Will it work at home and can up to five computers be online at the same time?

I've seen other RVers using a small card-like device and I've seen their signal on my wireless search. Is this a good way to go? Any cost estimates?

Dick Kaitz

Dick,
 
It sounds like you are talking about the MiFi. It is a portable wireless router that will deliver wireless 3G data network access to multiple users in a small area network.  It can support up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices and it will work going down the road.

Verizon has many service plans available. If you sign a two-year contract, the device is free.
 
Most folks we talk to are very happy with their MiFi and opt for the $59.99 plan for 5GB data per month.  In my view, Verizon has the best overall coverage. I think it can be a good way to go. Speeds are quite acceptable, though not as fast as a residential DSL or cable connection.


Dear FMCA Computer Geeks:

I found your comment on tethering interesting. We are going to start traveling next year and I am a computer junkie.

I presumed I would need a "air card" to access service if we are are not at a park/location that provides service.

I now have a cell phone and DSL service at my home. I plan on cancelling the Internet service when we hit the road. Is tethering more of a viable option than an air card (speed and cost wise)?

Ron

Ron,

Good question. My answer is: Almost always .... It depends mostly on how much you need the Internet.

There are many options, but only three ways to connect wirelessly: Wi-Fi, satellite and cellular. Cellular is the de facto solution for Internet access as you travel.
 
An air card is easier to share using a cellular router. So, if you have more than one computer, it is a consideration.  An air card usually means an additional contract. Most plans allow 5Gb/month and cost about $60.

Tethering can save you some money because it's usually a feature on the phone service you already have.  You may not be able to use the phone at the same time you are on the Internet. Speeds are going to be comparable.

We have Verizon service with our Droids and tether.  See this video: http://geeksontour.tv/2010/07/gabbing-with-the-geeks-5-connecting-to-the-internet-with-droid/.

We also use Wi-Fi when it is available and working good. For winter 2010, we'll be in one place for the season, and will arrange for DSL at our site.

If you have a question about mobile Internet or motorhoming with computers, post on the Internet to Go Forum.

 
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