If you live, work or vacation in an area that cannot get broadband Internet like DSL or cable Internet, your options are generally dialup, satellite, cellular or wireless Internet access. While dialup, satellite and cellular Internet access are usually nationwide services, wireless Internet is a locally-operated service as the best technology today can only broadcast a wireless signal 10-28 miles.
Satellite Internet connects between a satellite receiver on your roof and a orbiting satellites. In order to use satellite Internet, you generally only need a clear exposure to the Southern sky. The two primary service providers are HughesNet and WildBlue.
In most cases, you will be required to purchase and maintain the equipment (e.g. software updates). Satellite Internet is much faster than dialup Internet, however download and upload speeds may vary greatly, and there typically is a latency period which makes VPN or voice-over-IP (VoIP) connections impractical.
Furthermore, additional costs are typically incurred for antenna re-alignments or adjustments.
Pros: Much faster than dialup (20-40X faster). Only requires a clear sight of the southern sky. Available at any location, no matter how remote.
Cons: Latency period which makes VPN or voice-over-IP (VoIP) connections impractical. Static IP address may be unavailable or available for an additional charge. Speeds may vary greatly. Threshold limits imposed (e.g. daily or monthly maximum usage). May be affected by weather conditions.
Cost: Typical costs are $50-150/month. Equipment and installation costs $329-$600.
Cellular Phone Wireless (aka Mobile Broadband)
Several cell phone companies now offer high-speed wireless Internet via a cellular wireless card connected to your laptop. This cellular wireless card is not the same as a laptop wireless card used to connect to a home router or wifi network at a hotspot location (e.g. Starbucks).
A cellular wireless card works like dialup Internet access, but uses your cell phone to connect to the Internet. Cell phone wireless gives you the flexibility of connecting to the Internet from anywhere where you have cell phone signal. Speeds are much faster than dialup but you cannot “share” your connection with other users, and you may incur per-minute charges (depending on the plan you select).
Pros: Much faster than dialup (20-50X faster). Available at any location where you have cell phone coverage. Great for mobile professionals (e.g. realtors, field operators, etc.).
Cons: Internet connections drop (just like regular cell phone calls do). Cannot share the Internet connection with other computers. May incur per-minute charges (depending on the plan you select).
Cost: Typical costs are $50-150/month. Setup fees may be required.
Your Travel Buddy uses and recommends the Sprint wireless broadband cards. We utilize the Sprint Merlin broadband card with a Kyocera Mobile Router to run our 3 business computers in Northern Michigan.
Your Travel Buddy purchased it’s Sprint Wireless plans (phones and broadband) from Fortune Hi Tech Marketing (http://www.fhtmus.com/monaview) an authorized Sprint dealer.
Your Travel Buddy (http://www.ytbvacationrentals.com) is a free vacation rental listing services and offers money saving and marketing tips for the vacation home and vacation rental industry.
Brent Vanderstelt is owner of Hess Lake Vacation Rentals in Newaygo Michigan, visit http://www.hesslakerentals.com. Brent has also started a free vacation rental listing service, http://www.ytbvacationrentals.com and also has a popular vacation blog at http://myytbtravel.blogspot.com