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DSL router, cellular amplifiers, prepaid Internet access

Dear FMCA Computer Geeks:

I would like to know if I can connect my DSL router to a mobile hot spot. In other words, can I disconnect my DSL service from the phone company and use my mobile hot spot to connect my DSL router? Thanks. Elvin

Elvin,

Your router will probably not work for the application you describe, without geeky modification.

There is a router on the market that will take a wireless signal as input to a router. It is called the WiFi Ranger. That is what we use when we travel.

You will want to carefully monitor your data use. It is easy to go over your data limit, especially if you are sharing the connection.

Your DSL Internet connection typically will be more reliable than cellular and there are probably no limits on bandwidth with DSL.

— Jim


Effectiveness of cellular amplifiers

Dear FMCA Computer Geeks:

I teach at an Internet university, so cellular coverage is really critical when I am in my motorhome. I currently have a Verizon MiFi (actually, it's a 5-Spot, but it's the same except that it also allows for GSM connections, which I do not use) to connect. But sometimes, even with Verizon, the signal strength is pretty iffy to use the video I use in class. I know there are a number of cellular amplifiers that boost the the cell phone signal from .5 watts to 3 watts, and they supposedly give about 25- to 45-dB gain on the receive. My question is, are they worth the money and the trouble? Will they really give me noticeable improvement in coverage in marginal areas?

Thanks, in advance.

Wayne

Wayne,

Improving cellular coverage is important as you travel. How to do that is one of the questions we get most often.

Yes, the antennas and amplifiers absolutely do help. Whether they are worth the cost of the high-end components, only you can decide.

Your 5 Spot does not have a port for attaching an antenna lead directly, so the Wilson 815226 Sleek Cell Phone Cradle with Built-in Cell Signal Booster might work for you.
Let us know how you proceed and good luck with the teaching.— Jim

 


Temporary, prepaid Internet access 

Dear FMCA Computer Geeks:

Hi. We are in need of temporary, prepaid Internet access for our laptop. Our dial-up access is no longer available. Verizon is the only carrier we know of that covers Montana effectively. Virgin mobile uses Sprint, which has little Montana coverage. We've had so much conflicting information, we have no idea what to do ... Verizon: Modem $179 plus $50 per month or $10/gigabite. Virgin: $40 per month, free modem but little coverage in Montana. We are scheduled to return home in 2 weeks and my wife will no longer put up with Starbucks or McDonald's. Can you offer any suggestions?

Thanks and best regards.

Terry Michel

Terry:

It sounds like you may be out of luck.  I know of no reliable prepaid plans in Montana. 

A tethered smart phone might be a solution. We have information on our Web site, www.geeksontour.com, about tethering.

Temporary cellular data access is not cheap or widely accessible. Huge areas of our country are without signal at all. I expect that to improve only slowly.

— Jim

 


 

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