Questions About Mobile Hotspots

taterjaxx

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Jan 17, 2020
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Hi. If I am putting this question in the wrong place, my apologies. I am inquiring about mobile hotspots for my Windows 10 laptop. I will be going to a very rural area for about month, I am seriously talking about a one-horse town with no stoplights and the closest store 25 miles away. I must have access to the Internet for work purposes and do not know a thing about hotspots. The town does have a library that offers wifi, however, it is not feasible for me to go there 3 or 4 times a day, I need to have the ability to access the Internet from the cabin I am renting. From the research I conducted, I am assuming I need to purchase a mobile hotspot device that connects to my laptop via USB? Is there a specific kind I should be looking for? Also, how do I ensure that the hotspot I purchase will work in the area where I am going? Further, I do not expect it to be blazing fast, but I don't want to wait 5 minutes for pages to open. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

zx10guy

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The first thing you need to do is to determine what services you have available out there. This will probably be which cell carrier has the best coverage and for what price. If it's as rural as you say it is, you need to make sure you can get some sort of service there.

After you determine which carrier you want to go with if they offer coverage there, you then can select a hot spot. The carriers will have mobile hot spots they can sell you. These are typically the MiFi type where it's a small device which connects to the cellular service and then broadcasts a WiFi signal for any mobile device to connect to.
 

taterjaxx

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The first thing you need to do is to determine what services you have available out there. This will probably be which cell carrier has the best coverage and for what price. If it's as rural as you say it is, you need to make sure you can get some sort of service there.

After you determine which carrier you want to go with if they offer coverage there, you then can select a hot spot. The carriers will have mobile hot spots they can sell you. These are typically the MiFi type where it's a small device which connects to the cellular service and then broadcasts a WiFi signal for any mobile device to connect to.
Thank you for responding. I use Straight Talk and do get service in the cabin with my phone. I checked the Straight Talk site and they offer two hotspot devices for the zip code where I will be. [1] ZTE Mobile Hotspot 4G LTE [2] Frankline Mobile Hotspot 4G LTE - They also have the same two as reconditioned. Do you recommend one over the other? Also, it does not say anything in the description about it being plugged into my laptop, is it as simple as just adding a SIM card to the device and then my laptop will find it at a network?
 

zx10guy

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I'm not familiar with either of those options. The MiFi's I've had recently were from Novatel on Verizon's network. The ones I selected would have a larger battery so I can run it longer without having to charge it or have it plugged into a charger.

The MiFi's would be an additional device to your account. At least for the carriers I've used MiFi's on, I was unable to use the SIM card out of my phone to run the MiFi. The data plan is going to totally different than what your phone would be under.

With MiFi's you don't connect them physically to a device you want to have Internet service. MiFi's are similar to a wireless router you would have in your home. Instead of connecting a cable to a modem from your cable company, the MiFi connects to the cellular network. It then shares that connection via wireless/WiFi to any device you want to have Internet service. The wireless network the MiFi broadcasts is configurable so you can name the SSID to something like "MyInternet". You would on the particular device look for MyInternet in the available list of wireless networks and connect to it. You can also configure the passphrase for this wireless network to secure it.

Another thing you could look in to is to see if you're able to turn your cell phone into a mobile hotspot. This is part of the reason I don't have my Verizon hot spot service any more. I just use my cell phone to provide the above connectivity to any device I want on the go.
 

taterjaxx

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I'm not familiar with either of those options. The MiFi's I've had recently were from Novatel on Verizon's network. The ones I selected would have a larger battery so I can run it longer without having to charge it or have it plugged into a charger.

The MiFi's would be an additional device to your account. At least for the carriers I've used MiFi's on, I was unable to use the SIM card out of my phone to run the MiFi. The data plan is going to totally different than what your phone would be under.

With MiFi's you don't connect them physically to a device you want to have Internet service. MiFi's are similar to a wireless router you would have in your home. Instead of connecting a cable to a modem from your cable company, the MiFi connects to the cellular network. It then shares that connection via wireless/WiFi to any device you want to have Internet service. The wireless network the MiFi broadcasts is configurable so you can name the SSID to something like "MyInternet". You would on the particular device look for MyInternet in the available list of wireless networks and connect to it. You can also configure the passphrase for this wireless network to secure it.

Another thing you could look in to is to see if you're able to turn your cell phone into a mobile hotspot. This is part of the reason I don't have my Verizon hot spot service any more. I just use my cell phone to provide the above connectivity to any device I want on the go.
Okay, I think I got it. Thank you very much for your time and knowledge.
 

plodr

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If I understand, you are using only one computer, a laptop. It would probably be easier to simply tether the phone to the laptop and use your cell data to work on the laptop when you don't want to trek to the library for internet access.
Note: I have never tethered because my previous cell provider, VirginMobile, did not allow it unless I paid in advance. VM is gone and all users were moved to Boost. Boost does allow tethering but I'm not sure because I am grandfathered in, if it is available to me. I will check and if allowed, I might try it. (We had no cable tv nor internet from 5:30pm until noon the next day earlier this week; tethering would have come in handy because using a 5" screen is to surf is painful!)
 

taterjaxx

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Jan 17, 2020
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If I understand, you are using only one computer, a laptop. It would probably be easier to simply tether the phone to the laptop and use your cell data to work on the laptop when you don't want to trek to the library for internet access.
Note: I have never tethered because my previous cell provider, VirginMobile, did not allow it unless I paid in advance. VM is gone and all users were moved to Boost. Boost does allow tethering but I'm not sure because I am grandfathered in, if it is available to me. I will check and if allowed, I might try it. (We had no cable tv nor internet from 5:30pm until noon the next day earlier this week; tethering would have come in handy because using a 5" screen is to surf is painful!)
Hi. Thank you for writing. Yes, I will be taking my laptop with me, which I normally run off of my home network. It is running Windows 10 and is able to connect to Wifi. Where we vacation is really a small town; however, my Straight Talk Phone does work there. I have been looking for a mobile hotspot to buy, but everyone I come across, that will work in that zip code, is out of stock. So, if I connect through my phone, will it take forever for pages to load?
 

plodr

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Jun 27, 2014
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if I connect through my phone, will it take forever for pages to load?
I honestly don't know. Why not test it out in your home before you travel and see how the speed is.
 

TerryNet

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You have to test it at the desired location. My cell data in my house reminds me of dial-up. At the end of my driveway the speed is OK. Elsewhere in town it is fine.
 

taterjaxx

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Jan 17, 2020
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You have to test it at the desired location. My cell data in my house reminds me of dial-up. At the end of my driveway the speed is OK. Elsewhere in town it is fine.
Hi, thank you for responding. I am going to give it a try from home and see how it does.
 

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