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flyingtart
02-20-2009, 03:33 PM
I'd be grateful if anyone can answer this one as I'm not very technically minded.

If a person (say a journalist) is working on a story in a remote house where there is no broadband internet connection is there some way they can connect with the net other than dial-up? And is it possible to have a dial-up account that's portable, ie you can use it from any phone connection not just your own?

waylander
02-20-2009, 03:36 PM
If they have an I-Phone or a Blackberry then they can do it anywhere there is a mobile signal.

petec
02-20-2009, 03:53 PM
If they have an I-Phone or a Blackberry then they can do it anywhere there is a mobile signal.

For many years I lived on a boat where my only connection with the world was via a laptop with a PCMCIA card modem connected to a mobile phone. Very slow ( 10 kb/s ). This was before I-Phone and Blackberry. The mobile phone was the size of 2 housebricks

edit My server was AOL and could be used worldwide so long I had a phone signal

jclarkdawe
02-20-2009, 05:07 PM
Dial up would work from any phone. Basically you would dial your ISP and make a connection. You'd have to pay long distance charges on the phone line, but that was the only problem once you knew how to set it up. Biggest problem I would have is in office with multi-lines. Sometimes unplugging a phone and connecting it to your computer just didn't work.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

cbenoi1
02-20-2009, 05:14 PM
You could have 1) a PCMCIA card or USB key connected to your laptop which is nothing more than a cellphone with data-only network access, or 2) have a smartphone type cellphone for which you can put in a slave modem mode and connect to your laptop with as USB cable as if it were a dialup modem (it's called 'cellphone tethering'), or 3) via a WI-FI connection to a home modem connected to the phone lines.

> Very slow ( 10 kb/s ).

My HTC Tilt II can do near 1Mb/s peak, 600Kb/s avg. Note that a DSL MaBell connection is around 1 - 10 Mb/s, so it's not so bad.

There are 2 problems with using the cellphones as modems. 1) not all regions are updated to HSDPA. Most are still GSM/GPRS/EDGE which is typically much slower, and 2) data plans are NOT cheap in the US, and if you gets past some set bandwidth consumption level (which you're going to bust easily if this is a permanent setup AND your are roaming onto another network than your own), then your cellphone bills are going to go through the roof.

-cb

ETA: Just noticed you're from Scotland. Data charges are more affordable in EU than in North America and coverage is so much better.

flyingtart
02-20-2009, 05:58 PM
Wow! Thanks very much for the quick and thorough responses, guys.

You've been a great help. :)

RJK
02-20-2009, 07:11 PM
Iphone (blackberry, etc.) would be my first choice. Second choice would be an AOL acount. You type in your Area Code and AOL will provide a list of numbers you can call for a connection. I think you needed the AOL disk for that though. It would depend on what era your story takes place. Today - I'd go with the Iphone. or the UM175 USB modem that Verizon advertises.

hammerklavier
02-20-2009, 07:21 PM
The satellite TV companies offer internet connectivity. I think the upload (e.g., sending emails) still works from a phone line, but the download (e.g., surfing the internet, reading emails) comes in the satellite signal and is pretty fast.

Clair Dickson
02-20-2009, 07:26 PM
I don't know much about it-- I think someone briefly mentioned it upthread-- but many real estate agents in my area use a card that slides into the side of their laptop to access internet wherever they are (even if there's no wi-fi signal.) I think it works by contacting cell towers. I've never heard any complaints about signal strength, and Realtors deal with a fair amount of pictures.

BarbaraKE
02-21-2009, 07:32 PM
I think someone already said this but I live in a very rural area and have a little gizmo that plugs into a USB port and picks up a signal from a cell phone tower. It's a little smaller than a credit card and maybe 1/2 inch thick.

I do remember being in Washington, DC in 1999 and a reporter had a laptop with which he could connect to the internet. I don't remember exactly how he did it but I'm pretty sure this was before WiFi. Maybe he connected to a satellite? I don't know but I remember being tremendously impressed and green with envy.

Kathie Freeman
02-21-2009, 08:33 PM
I have an account with ATT, and I can access my account from any phone, but I have to know the local dialup number-up in advance. If I know where I'm going to be I go to their website and get a number for that area.

Zelenka
02-22-2009, 01:29 AM
If it's in the UK, then many of the mobile phone providers also do mobile broadband now, which involves a little USB modem / dongle, but you need to be in an area that is covered by that particular network. Most are contract-based, but "3" offers pay as you go, which is what I use. You'd need to buy a voucher for that or have some credit in your account, but then it just connects like any other modem.

Otherwise, my ordinary mobile (which is a Nokia something) does internet. I think a lot of the newer models do it, but again you get a charge on data usage from the mobile phone provider.

Other than that, if the house is near a village - internet cafe or a computer in a local library?

jvc
02-23-2009, 08:41 PM
If it's in the UK, then many of the mobile phone providers also do mobile broadband now, which involves a little USB modem / dongle, but you need to be in an area that is covered by that particular network. Most are contract-based, but "3" offers pay as you go, which is what I use. You'd need to buy a voucher for that or have some credit in your account, but then it just connects like any other modem.

I was going to mention 'Three' or is it '3'? That's who I use for my internet. But you do have to be in an area covered by their network. At it's heart, the dongle (which plugs into a USB port) they have is basically (I'd guess) a mobile phone without the 'phone' bits. In fact, I believe you can take the sim card out of the dongle and put it into an actual mobile phone and use it to call or text people.

Medievalist
02-23-2009, 09:25 PM
You can get a PCMCIA card that works as a satellite modem. The plans are pricey--like unlimited cell phone plans in cost, but they work just about anywhere. It's faster than a 56k modem connection, but not broadband.

flyingtart
02-23-2009, 09:29 PM
Thanks a lot everyone. I think I've got my head round it now.

Sometimes I envy historical fiction writers - at least they don't have to deal with all the technology! ;)