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Wi-Fi Hotspots

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wifehad5 posted 5/31/2013 09:32 AM

We're going to have to spend a lot of time at our place up north this summer. The problem is, being in IT, we both need to be able to get online with our PCs at odd, unplanned hours.

Our place is in the middle of no where. Only satellite is available, and their internet service is $100+ a month, with no option to turn it off when we're not using it.

I've just started looking into Wi-Fi hotspots. Through our cell phone provider, we can get a MiFi for free, and the basic plan is 3GB per month for $35 a month. The top plan is $75 a month for 12GB.

Anyone had experience with this? We wouldn't be streaming movies, etc, but there is the potential for sharing using WebEx or other such applications.

h0peless posted 5/31/2013 09:47 AM

Who is your provider? If you have Verizon and an Android phone, you can just download Foxfi and use your phone for tethering. It's perfectly legal as they bought a piece of spectrum that they aren't allowed to block tethering on. If you have any of the other carriers, it's pretty simple to root or jailbreak your phone and install a tethering app.

wifehad5 posted 5/31/2013 09:58 AM

We have Sprint as a provider. I like Sprint because it gives us great coverage up there. You go for miles with no service, yet at our dean end road we have a great signal.

We have both employer provided phones and personal phones. The personal phones are dumb, and can't be upgraded until next year. Something to look at though. Thanks

h0peless posted 5/31/2013 10:01 AM

I have Sprint too. (Unlimited data! Woohoo!) My phone is rooted so I'm not sure if FoxFi appears in the Android market on unrooted phones or not but you might check. It gives you a free hotspot.

Amazonia posted 5/31/2013 11:29 AM

Wait, up north like the UP? When did they get electricity up there??

ETA: I use Clear Wireless, which is 4G, for my home internet. In downtown DC. It's okay but really slow. Similar to cell coverage...

[This message edited by Amazonia at 11:30 AM, May 31st (Friday)]

wifehad5 posted 5/31/2013 13:43 PM

Not quite the UP, but not too far. There is no 4G service, but the 3G up there works faster than the 4G down here (on my phone).

We'll be doing some testing next weekend

lieshurt posted 5/31/2013 14:13 PM

If you have Verizon and an Android phone, you can just download Foxfi and use your phone for tethering. It's perfectly legal as they bought a piece of spectrum that they aren't allowed to block tethering on. If you have any of the other carriers, it's pretty simple to root or jailbreak your phone and install a tethering app.

Could you possibly buy an inexpensive Android phone with a prepaid plan like Virgin mobile to do this with? Walmart has one for $40.00. Since it's a prepaid plan, you won't be locked into a contract and only use it for the time you need.

cryingdaily posted 5/31/2013 14:18 PM

I have Sprint, and when Xena was deployed, I used an aircard.

I haven't used their Mifi devices but trying to VPN to my work network over the aircard wasn't good.

little turtle posted 5/31/2013 15:39 PM

Verizon user here. My brother used the hot spot feature via his phone last weekend when we were at our family cottage with spotty cell service to do work on his laptop. He can turn the hot spot thing off and on as needed and he upgrades the data limit when his wife gets close to going over our shared data plan. I'd see if that's an option with sprint. Unless you know for sure you'll be using it often enough to be worth the extra $35/month.

wifehad5 posted 5/31/2013 15:53 PM

Thanks for the feedback

I know for sure we have a great signal on the Sprint network. If you look at their coverage map, there is a bunch of dead space, and then a strong signal in the middle on no where (our place).

I spoke with a co-worker today who has a Virgin Mobil hot spot. He says he can VPN into our work network with no problems. I like the pay as you go aspect, and I like the fact that it's separate from the phone. Just wondering about being on a 6 hour long conference call with the device you're using as a hot spot worries me a bit.

nowiknow23 posted 5/31/2013 18:06 PM

I live half a mile beyond city limits, and I've had to rely on Sprint HotSpot since we moved out here. I do not allow Netflix or YouTube usage, but do connect to my work VPN across the 3G connection with no problems.

WebEx is a regular feature of my job as well. I've been just fine keeping the usage within plan levels. I love being able to get a usage update by text at any time, too.

wifehad5 posted 5/31/2013 18:13 PM

nik, how much data do you use in an average month?

nowiknow23 posted 5/31/2013 18:20 PM

I tend to use exactly how much I pay for - 12 GB.

It's hard for me to quantify how much of that usage is work and how much is personal, since that is the only internet connection at the house and we use it for both.

My work usage is largely WebMail, some WebEx, etc. The biggest use is in up/downloading files (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) which I try to minimize, but it's impossible to eliminate.
I am checking usage constantly (at least once a day) and I keep a tight leash on the kids' internet usage. They have smartphones with unlimited data, so I force them to use their small screens (phones) whenever possible. Mean mean mom.

nowiknow23 posted 5/31/2013 18:21 PM

And if I'm close to the end of the billing period and have a lot of room left? I hit Netflix after the kids are asleep. Because that last couple of GBs isn't about to go unused!

wifehad5 posted 5/31/2013 18:24 PM

TrustedHer posted 5/31/2013 19:20 PM

Clear uses the Sprint network, and charges less. If you have good Sprint coverage, you're golden.

Their desktop devices are better than the little hotspots.

I can stream video, most of the time. Some dropouts, not many. It's unlimited.

$59 per month.

Amazonia posted 5/31/2013 19:59 PM

Virgin Mobile and Clear both run on Sprints network, andboth are reasonably priced. I use VM phone and Clear home wifi :)

wincing_at_light posted 6/2/2013 08:42 AM

I've got a T-Mobile hotspot that has no contract. It's great for me, since I don't need it very often -- but you can only connect 5 devices to it, in case that's an issue for you.

The device itself was like a hundred bucks, and I think I paid $50 for 5 gigs the last time I used it.

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