Tuesday, December 27, 2005

 

Getting ready to head south

Now that I have a blog started I decided to look into broadband speed Internet connections that I can use on the road from the motorhome. I am aware of Directway satellite systems and have & use WiFi when available but two years ago I tried using a high speed connection with my cell phone when it was with AT&T. It worked fine in large cities but was very expensive to use so I dropped it.

While browsing the Web on Christmas day I found an article on broadband speeds over cell phones Click here that I read. (If this link works right it should open in a window of it's own.) The article is about a new broadband system from Verizon and Sprint that is lower in price than my experience in early 2004 with AT&T. I contacted Verizon today as they are my cell provider and went to their store to purchase a Kyocera KPC650 PC card and broadband service. This card is $180. but allows you to connect to an outside antenae and that may sometimes make the difference between getting connected or not while boondocking out in the desert. There is a card with a fixed antenae available for $100. The service regularly costs $80. per month but is on a "special" price of only $60. per month with a one year committment. That is for unlimited access at broadband speeds of up to 3 Mbps. If broadband speeds are not available it will fall back to their National Access system which is slower but still unlimited access and fairly fast. The card has it's own phone number.

When I got home I went through the setup steps which worked fine until I got to the point where I needed to activate the phone. My home is in a low spot and the cell signal strength is only 1 to 2 bars and the activation failed. So, I hopped in the car with the laptop and card and drove closer to town where I got 4-bars and it worked fine. The rest of it was a piece of cake and I was soon online, surfing at a high rate.

Will I like it? I think so, as long as I can get a strong enough signal for it to work. It still will not work at home which isn't serious as I have my DSL connection here. I think it may turn out to be good that I spent the extra money for the card that will connect to an external antenae. When I get to Quartzsite I will probably look into getting a Wilson Trucker's Cell Phone antenae installed on my rig. I understand they tend to give a boost of up to 2 bars or so of signal strength and that may make the difference. I guess I will have a year to play with it and decide if I want to continue the service or not.

In the meantime I am trying to get things ready to head south in a week and a day and I have a lot to do. I did go ahead this morning and list my blog publicly so it is now "out there."

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