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Internet by Tethered Cell Phone

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It is amazing how happy people are with their cellular broadband connections to the Internet while traveling. Other than the occasional black hole with no service signal, the only drawback seems to be that you need a separate 2 year contract at $60/mo for service with an aircard.

We are using our cell phone, tethered to our computer for our Internet access when good Wi-Fi is not available. This is still a $60/mo chage, but since it is just a 'feature' on our cell phone contract, we can turn it off any time we want and just get charged a pro-rated $2/day.

Find out more about how this tethered modem setup works.

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For those who don't need "all the time" internet and can't justify the $60/mo contract for 2 years, tethering definitely is a great and AFFORDABLE option. Cellular internet is available virtually anywhere you have cell phone coverage (some areas may not have the high-speed 3G broadband network, but you'll still be able to connect to the slower speed network in more rural spots).

Several carriers offer tethering (AKA "phone as modem") packages, but Verizon and Sprint will be your best bet thanks to their nationwide coverage. Here's the pricing breakdown for Sprint and Verizon tethering:

Sprint:

*Tethering fee: $15/month

* Requirements: Compatible phone AND Sprint Power Vision data pack ($30/month) or Blackberry data pack ($30/month)

* Restrictions: CANNOT be added to the "Simply Everything" or "Everything" plans.

Verizon:

* Tethering fee:

o With standard (non-PDA) phone: $59.99/mo

o With PDA/Blackberry and $29.99/mo data pack: $30/mo

o With PDA/Blackberry and $44.99/mo data pack: $15/mo

* Requirements: Compatible phone

* Restrictions: None

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The aircard is really just a cell phone that fits into the laptop. You can make calls from the the laptop just like a cell phone. They make a router that you can insert the aircard into and support several computers at once. This is only important if you have two or more people on the internet at the same time. It is funny how 10 years ago you would pay $3500 for one computer and now my 9 year old daughter, wife, and each have a laptop.

The actual process of tethering has been made easier as more laptops and phones support this feature through bluetooth connection. If you pair your web enabled phone with your laptop via bluetooth, often you can then access the internet with out plugging the cable from the phone to the laptop. This is simple a convenience and does not alter what you are charged per month.

Remember to turn off all auto update features on your computers operating system and all applications that check for new versions should not be allow to do so. Any cellular plan either phone or card has a limit and hefty overages. Most are set at 5 Gb per month. Sounds like a lot but it does not take long especially with photos or video to use 5 Gb. You can upgrade your plan for more gigabits per month but you want to avoid those overages.

Another plus is that most phones that tether are web enabled phones first. Untethered features of these phones are great. I find that I use the phones video to youtube and emailing a lot. Mobile features like google maps for GPS navigations while away from the motor home to finding a restaurant or find the motor home again. Google Latitude allows our family to "join" us as our friends "by invitation" and they can log in to see where we are. It uses the phones GPS to share our location with the folks we choose. This is in real time so my wife's sister was talking to us on the phone while watching us moving on her computer map from home in West Virginia. She was able to see were we were in Texas on the move. Good thing I was not speeding!

I use this tethering a lot. When we travel I am often on call and will connect back into the office to work on issues. Works very well in most places.

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Getting good Wi-Fi connections at a reasonable price now days can be a problem. Many RV parks advertise that Wi-Fi is "available." That doesn't mean free.

The answer for me is going to be the Verizon Motorola Droid when my current contract is up this July. I talked to a salesperson yesterday and I think that is the way to go. With the Droid there is no extra charge for tethering like the Blackberry. With the Droid you pay a monthly fee of $30 for the data plan which entitles you to unlimited access. This doesn't effect you calling minuets. Can't wait.

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The Droid tethered is indeed a wonderful way to stay connected.

There is no single way that works for everyone all the time.

We use whatever is the fastest reliable connection available where we are. Sometimes that is a pay-for WiFi.

Lots more information at www.wifisavvy.com. It's not just about WiFi. It addresses all the connectivity options.

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I use ATT to tether. Service is wonderful. Unlimited access and no useage charge. Flat fee of $30.00 per month. Couldn't be happier and much more secure that WiFi in camp areas.

Jay

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I recently purchased the Autonet router at the FMCA rally in Albuquerque. This came after many recommendations from other attendees. It is wonderful. You pay approximately $200 after a $200 rebate for the router which plugs into your lighter outlet, then $29 a month. Several computers can be using it at the same time. It operates over the Verizon Wireless phone system, so wherever you have Verizon cell service, the Autonet will work. You can find more by going to their website, but in a seminar there were many complaints about the cards and other systems, but Autonet received no complaints.

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I have ATT and a Motorola v3xx phone which is terherable. When I leave home I go to the internet and add the cheapest data plan which is $15.00 per month and prorated daily .... so 50c a day. When I return home I turn it off. It works well ..... if you call and ask you are told you can't do it, you must get an air card... (so like the military says don't , don't tell :rolleyes: ) ... but it works .

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