short term internet on vacation

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Looking for options for bringing laptop on vacation and doing a few days of work using VPN.

There's no wifi where we are going so I think I would need to buy a USB internet dongle as in this link
dongle

I only want this for 30 days or less and it appears I can add 2 GB of access for $30 with Tmobile. We already have Tmobile with data on 3 phones, could I use one of those phone be a hotspot (newest device is an LG L9)? Not sure what's all involved with hotspottery.

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You need to provide more details. For instance: are you on a contract plan, or prepaid? They introduced a new set of plans recently. In the new system, you are allowed to use your phone as a hotspot under those plans that have a data cap. Such use is not permitted with plans that include unlimited data. You will need a capable smartphone, and possibly an app, to be able to use your smartphone in this way. I cannot provide more specific information because I haven't tried using a cellphone as a hotspot. Also, have you checked T-Mobile's coverage indicator to see if they have data coverage in the place you will be going to?

I am typing this while being connected to the internet through T-Mobile's 4G Mobile Hotspot. T-Mobile's coverage is good in this area and the device shows 5 bars (the maximum possible) always. Typical Speedtest.net results are ~ 5 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up, although the speed does fluctuate somewhat. I have tried 4 different devices and here's my experience:
  • T-Mobile Rocket 2.0 4G (ZTE MF-691): Decent speeds but the device would get hot under continuous heavy use, such as streaming videos, and start to disconnect. Eventually, it got to the point where it couldn't hold the connection and became useless.
  • T-Mobile Rocket 3.0 4G (ZTE MF-683): Much faster than the Rocket 2.0, with Speedtest.net results typically being around 10 Mbps down and 1.1 Mbps up. However, it would also get hot, and heat up faster than Rocket 2.0. Then it would disconnect. Like the Rocket 2.0, the Rocket 3.0 also became effectively non-functional.
  • T-Mobile Jet 2.0 4G (by Huawei): Faster than the Rocket 2.0, but also heats up like the Rocket 2.0. However, I was able to stream an episode of a TV show (~ 40 minutes) without getting disconnected.
  • T-Mobile 4G Mobile Hotspot (ZTE MF-61): Speeds are comparable to the Rocket 2.0. Does get noticeably warm but does not seem to have any problems.

Based on my experience, I would recommend avoiding the USB modems and going with the mobile hotspots instead. Due either to superior design, or simply a larger body to spread and dissipate heat, the mobile hotspot seems to work better. Also, you can usually get the devices for less on eBay. Both new and used ones are usually available, and if you already have a suitable SIM card, you can save some money by buying a used device.

Since place of vacation is unknown but it has TMobile coverage i can suggest to try freedompop.com (you need to check if that place is covered though).

They give 500MB free plus you can pay more. 2GB will be $19.99, cancel anytime plus you can return device back anytime for refund.
First month very often free with 2GB.

vetaldj said:   Since place of vacation is unknown but it has TMobile coverage i can suggest to try freedompop.com (you need to check if that place is covered though).

They give 500MB free plus you can pay more. 2GB will be $19.99, cancel anytime plus you can return device back anytime for refund.
First month very often free with 2GB.


The freedompop looks quite interesting. Note that if you use under 5 MB a month they charge you $0.99 so be sure to use at least 5 MB per month (or cancel account) to avoid fees.

just read up the freedompop hotspot, it appears that the 500MB free plan is 4g only
http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-33153_7-57583071-10391733/hands-on-...

Forget the VPN, you're probably working too much:

http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1251396/

FutureDilemma said:   You need to provide more details. For instance: are you on a contract plan, or prepaid? They introduced a new set of plans recently. In the new system, you are allowed to use your phone as a hotspot under those plans that have a data cap. Such use is not permitted with plans that include unlimited data. You will need a capable smartphone, and possibly an app, to be able to use your smartphone in this way. I cannot provide more specific information because I haven't tried using a cellphone as a hotspot. Also, have you checked T-Mobile's coverage indicator to see if they have data coverage in the place you will be going to?

I am typing this while being connected to the internet through T-Mobile's 4G Mobile Hotspot. T-Mobile's coverage is good in this area and the device shows 5 bars (the maximum possible) always. Typical Speedtest.net results are ~ 5 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up, although the speed does fluctuate somewhat. I have tried 4 different devices and here's my experience:
  • T-Mobile Rocket 2.0 4G (ZTE MF-691): Decent speeds but the device would get hot under continuous heavy use, such as streaming videos, and start to disconnect. Eventually, it got to the point where it couldn't hold the connection and became useless.
  • T-Mobile Rocket 3.0 4G (ZTE MF-683): Much faster than the Rocket 2.0, with Speedtest.net results typically being around 10 Mbps down and 1.1 Mbps up. However, it would also get hot, and heat up faster than Rocket 2.0. Then it would disconnect. Like the Rocket 2.0, the Rocket 3.0 also became effectively non-functional.
  • T-Mobile Jet 2.0 4G (by Huawei): Faster than the Rocket 2.0, but also heats up like the Rocket 2.0. However, I was able to stream an episode of a TV show (~ 40 minutes) without getting disconnected.
  • T-Mobile 4G Mobile Hotspot (ZTE MF-61): Speeds are comparable to the Rocket 2.0. Does get noticeably warm but does not seem to have any problems.

Based on my experience, I would recommend avoiding the USB modems and going with the mobile hotspots instead. Due either to superior design, or simply a larger body to spread and dissipate heat, the mobile hotspot seems to work better. Also, you can usually get the devices for less on eBay. Both new and used ones are usually available, and if you already have a suitable SIM card, you can save some money by buying a used device.


Thanks. I am only needing basic capability for email attachments, intranet sharepoint etc. (no video streaming involved). We are in an expired contract (post pay) family plan. Yes there is data available (Michigan hinterlands).

OP, why did your short-term internet go on vacation and where did it go? My advice is to go where your short-term internet went and use it there.

forget all of these crazy ideas.
You have an adroid phone.... download pdaNet+ in the android app store (free from June Fabrics Technology).
plug it into your laptop via the normal USB cable, push the one button... and you're done.
laptop will hook into your 3g/4g phone for internet. easy peezy

You can check now to see if using your phone as a wifi hotspot works, and is sufficient for your needs. You may not even need any additional software like pdaNet+.

Disconnect your laptop from your home/work wifi. On your phone enable wifi hotspot:
Settings -> Wireless & networks (or, may need to click "More.." under Wireless & Networks) -> Tethering & Portable Hotspot

Click checkbox next to "Portable Wi_Fi hotspot"
Click "Set up Wi-Fi hotspot" to configure the SSID (name) of the wifi hotspot and password. For security, do not choose "Open"!

Your laptop should see the new wifi network, and you should be able to connect to it using the password you typed in the previous step. Once connected, see if you can browse the web and use email. If not, then try using pdaNet+.

You can use a Truphone sim on your phone and enable the hotspot wifi function of your smartphone to connect your laptop. You don't specify where you are vacationing but Truphone works in 220 countries. I've used it in Argentina, China and Europe without problems. their prices are very competitive, specially data.

Another possibility is to use the new Skype wifi connection.

Truphone

YES! you can use your T-Mobile phone as a hotspot. I don't know about the post-paid side but on prepaid it's an additional $15 a month to do it legitimately. Be aware, however, that this will only give you as much data as your phone's plan is allotted.

If you choose to go with the prepaid T-Mobile hotspot (standalone device), if you purchase it through WalMart, they give you (i think) 5GB and 60 days of service on the $30 plan - this is exclusive to devices purchased at WalMart though.

try a company called clear. 50 a month unlimited data

robstahl21 said:   forget all of these crazy ideas.
You have an adroid phone.... download pdaNet+ in the android app store (free from June Fabrics Technology).
plug it into your laptop via the normal USB cable, push the one button... and you're done.
laptop will hook into your 3g/4g phone for internet. easy peezy
The problem is he has Tmobile. They are famous for discovering a tether app like Pdanet in minutes and locking it out. Otherwise your suggestion would be great, especially if he used Sprint. Of course he can pay Tmobile even more money to use data he has already paid for if he wants to ask their permission to use his phone as a hotspot....

KKDowing said:   
Thanks. I am only needing basic capability for email attachments, intranet sharepoint etc. (no video streaming involved). We are in an expired contract (post pay) family plan. Yes there is data available (Michigan hinterlands).

I used video streaming as a stress test to check the devices since they were giving me some grief. The purpose was to find out which device(s) work best since it can be very annoying to get disconnected just when one is working on something. Regardless of whether you plan to stream videos or not, you will want to get a reliable device that does not disconnect randomly. Based on my experience, I would recommend the Jet 2.0, which you can get for cheap from eBay. Of course, if your smartphone has hotspot functionality, you can use that instead.

Do you use VPN at home already? Speeds ok? If yes. Just call T-Mobile and turn on teather for one month AND have them confirm type of coverage in your vacation spot. Only one month, and you get paid more for your job than tether fee. Also look around for coffee shops etc for wifi when you need larger files. NOTE: Remote desktop can use HUGE amount of data. Change settings so it doesn't use all he bandwith it sees.

Only worry about pdaNet or android apps etc if you need it more often. I know I've use Sprint,T-Mobile,verizon tether without paying but only Sprint and T-Mobile left me alone. The bigger issue I've had is horrible coverage at vacation spots. I had EVERY carrier with me and it would not work well where I needed it. add in vpn disconnects and = zero fun.

KKDowing said:   just read up the freedompop hotspot, it appears that the 500MB free plan is 4g only
http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-33153_7-57583071-10391733/hands-on-...


Yep, you are right but we are talking about short term 30 days use and if you sign up they always give you 2GB for first month for free and if you lucky to get that Override you will get also 3G for 1st month as well for free. Plus, they always sent me free month of data 2GB to try very often. Just got my Override yesterday and now I have 1G for free each month (one Photon and one Override). I'm happy with them so far.

vetaldj said:   freedompop.com ..... you can return device back anytime for refund.

The deposit fee structure was removed many months ago. Everything is now a purchase with only 30-day return period.



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