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NancyMehl
03-04-2006, 09:12 PM
I need to know how someone with a laptop could access the Internet in a small town. There are no connections in the house where she's staying. I could put some kind of hookup in one of the businesses in the town, and in fact, it could actually give the story an interesting twist. But, my husband told me that there might be a way for my protagonist to use her cell phone and her laptop to connect. Is that right? Can anyone explain this to me?

Thanks,

Nancy

September skies
03-04-2006, 09:25 PM
How small is the town? I have a box I carry with me that connects to my laptop - it's a wireless modem through ClearWire.
I just take it with my laptop and can connect anywhere. But, I think the town has to have the service.
Is there a slightly bigger town nearby?
Porterville is now 40k people or so but nearby is a much smaller town of less than 2k people and I can use it there.

rtilryarms
03-04-2006, 11:02 PM
digital (PCS) cell phones can function as computer modems. Analogue phones may not be able to in a small town but who has analogue towers any more?

Check your town's cell network and verify, or if the town is fictional, write it in the scene that the protag is praying for digital service...

Scribhneoir
03-04-2006, 11:11 PM
Yes, you can use a cell phone and a laptop to hook up to the internet pretty much anywhere. My friend was able to connect even in the wilds of Utah while we vacationed last summer and Moab is a pretty tiny place. She was also able to connect while we were driving through some pretty desolate areas. Connections were often slow, but they worked and she was able to keep in touch with her grad students and make sure they didn't blow up anything in her absence.

Cathy C
03-04-2006, 11:16 PM
1. Public Library, ESPECIALLY in small towns, often have a connection (presuming we're talking about a time period close to today.)

2. Major hotel chain, like Super 8 or Motel 6 or Holiday Inn often have internet connections, because they're attached to the world reservation net. Many hotels now offer free internet in the rooms, or at least a single computer in a public room in the lobby (sometimes a paid service--either by swiping your credit card or feeding in money like a candy machine.)

3. County/City government offices. Sometimes they have a public computer available when the town is too small for a library or hotel.

Yes, there are cell phone connections available. But that depends GREATLY on whether the character has cell access and whether it's digital. Analog cell towers won't work for a wireless connection. Since she's only STAYING in the town, it could well be that her cell phone won't work there.


Do any of those help your plot?

NancyMehl
03-04-2006, 11:27 PM
Thanks for all the input. Some of you are assuming I know the difference between analog and digital. Sorry...http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/e2shrug.gif

The town is fictional, around 600 people. However, there is a computer with 'net connection at the local funeral home. Also, my protag called someone staying at the local boarding house and got him on his cell phone. So....I guess I could either have her go to the funeral home and hook up her laptop - or use the computer there. Or, I could give her a cell phone to use to hook up her laptop. (Since there must be some kind of service available for the other cell phone.)

The nearest town is about 50 miles away. It's larger and would definitely have service for cell phones and computers. Would that be close enough to provide cell phone service to my small town? I can make the other town closer...say 30 miles if it would help. I mean, shoot. I created the town - I can move it if I need to! LOL!

Sorry to be so stupid about this. Research is fun, isn't it?????

Nancy

Maryn
03-04-2006, 11:42 PM
Don't forget, too, that laptops can be connected to dial-up internet service providers, just like desk tops, using a physical wire (very much like the one that connects a desk-type phone to the jack) from any place that has telephone service. All it takes is a 'live' phone jack and remembering to bring the connecting wire with you.

The only hitch might be that the call to the internet service provider could involve a toll or long distance charge if there's not an ISP covering the area.

Maryn, whose daughter has done this

spike
03-04-2006, 11:57 PM
Don't forget, too, that laptops can be connected to dial-up internet service providers, just like desk tops, using a physical wire (very much like the one that connects a desk-type phone to the jack) from any place that has telephone service. All it takes is a 'live' phone jack and remembering to bring the connecting wire with you.

The only hitch might be that the call to the internet service provider could involve a toll or long distance charge if there's not an ISP covering the area.

Maryn, whose daughter has done this

Maryn is correct. You can still use POTS with a modem (almost all modern laptops have built in modems). This will work over all phone lines (even old copper). But it is very slow.

Maryn
03-05-2006, 01:39 AM
spike is also right (high five, spike!)--it is very slow, compared to even the slowest of the high-speed connections. We had dial-up until about 8 months ago, and a site with a lot of graphics, whether it was pictures or even a busy background, took forever to display. ("Forever" being a few minutes.)

However, text-based sites like AW (and many chats and forums) are tolerable, unless a thread contains a large image, including signatures.

So depending on what the character needs to get online, it could work great or not at all, right? The internet is like that...

Maryn, using it less these days

Andrew Jameson
03-05-2006, 02:12 AM
The town is fictional, around 600 people. However, there is a computer with 'net connection at the local funeral home. Also, my protag called someone staying at the local boarding house and got him on his cell phone. So....I guess I could either have her go to the funeral home and hook up her laptop - or use the computer there. Easier yet, I think, would be for the funeral home to have a wireless hub installed for their own use (that's not unusual when you have multiple computers and devices). In a small town, the funeral home might not even protect their network (also not unusual). Have your protag drive into the funeral home parking lot, flip open the laptop, and acquire a wireless connection through the funeral home. No messy passwords or anything (unless you need more tension in your story).

If you want more excitement, your protag doesn't even have to know the funeral home has wireless. She could just drive around slowly waiting for the laptop to find a network automatically (wardriving (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wardriving)) and happen upon the fiuneral home.

September skies
03-05-2006, 02:30 AM
Easier yet, I think, would be for the funeral home to have a wireless hub installed for their own use (that's not unusual when you have multiple computers and devices). ...She could just drive around slowly waiting for the laptop to find a network automatically (wardriving (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wardriving)) and happen upon the fiuneral home.

That is true. We have five computers in our home and we are all hooked up to a wireless connection, which is in my bedroom. But, last week, a neighbor of mine came over to "thank" me for letting him have free internet. He said if he sits on his couch, facing the window (across the street from my bedroom) than he can get a live signal and go online. He's a real close friend but still - that wasn't nice. He could at least have brought a box of Sees candies or something.

Jamesaritchie
03-05-2006, 08:08 PM
Thanks for all the input. Some of you are assuming I know the difference between analog and digital. Sorry...http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/e2shrug.gif

The town is fictional, around 600 people. However, there is a computer with 'net connection at the local funeral home. Also, my protag called someone staying at the local boarding house and got him on his cell phone. So....I guess I could either have her go to the funeral home and hook up her laptop - or use the computer there. Or, I could give her a cell phone to use to hook up her laptop. (Since there must be some kind of service available for the other cell phone.)

The nearest town is about 50 miles away. It's larger and would definitely have service for cell phones and computers. Would that be close enough to provide cell phone service to my small town? I can make the other town closer...say 30 miles if it would help. I mean, shoot. I created the town - I can move it if I need to! LOL!

Sorry to be so stupid about this. Research is fun, isn't it?????

Nancy

Don't forget satellite connections, Even a town of 600 people is going to have a bunch of satellite users around. My hometown has only 100 people, and almost all the homes have both satellite TV and satellite internet. Not even smalltown people want to be isolated from the internet and good TV reception. And dialup is available now pretty much anywhere that phone service is available.

And satellite TV is very portable now. Tiny dishes that can be used from a semi or an RV. They even make models you can carry off to the wilds of Borneo.

I doubt a cellphone would work at all in your town, and certainly not well enough for an internet connection. But probably not at all. You have to be a lot closer to a tower than fifty miles. Doesn't your phone ever fade out, even when in an area where there are many towers? Half the people I know complain about fade out, even when two towers are only a few miles apart.

NancyMehl
03-06-2006, 06:16 AM
Don't forget satellite connections, Even a town of 600 people is going to have a bunch of satellite users around. My hometown has only 100 people, and almost all the homes have both satellite TV and satellite internet. Not even smalltown people want to be isolated from the internet and good TV reception. And dialup is available now pretty much anywhere that phone service is available.

And satellite TV is very portable now. Tiny dishes that can be used from a semi or an RV. They even make models you can carry off to the wilds of Borneo.

I doubt a cellphone would work at all in your town, and certainly not well enough for an internet connection. But probably not at all. You have to be a lot closer to a tower than fifty miles. Doesn't your phone ever fade out, even when in an area where there are many towers? Half the people I know complain about fade out, even when two towers are only a few miles apart.

Hmmmm. I decided to have my protag go either to the P.O. or the local funeral home to use the computer. The cell phone concerns me, though. Perhaps I should have the protag call the boarding house and talk to this character on the "house" phone. I could even have him mention that he can't get a signal in the small town. I HAVE to have Internet connection, however, because my protag is going to update the business she inherited - using the Internet!

Thank you to everyone who has taken time to help me with this. You guys are the best!

Nancy