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  #1  
Old 12-12-2004, 12:16 PM
HugoRed HugoRed is offline
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Cell phone on-line hook-ups

HELP!
I need to know which USA wide cell-phone companies offer online hook-up, what special is needed, can you connect a laptop to a cell-phone and approximately the cost.
My sister in law who is dying of some unheard of lung lung disease (some kinda interstitial lung ailment) is heading south (from mid Oregon) trying to find an area that she can breath in. Just dry (the desert) apparently won't do it so she's going to the SE US to see if there is someplace she can survive in.
So she needs a company that is USA wide.
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  #2  
Old 12-13-2004, 11:46 AM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is offline
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That's a toughie. First off, sorry to hear about your SIL's troubles.

There are plenty of cell carriers that offer data service - the big trick is that data service territory is not necessarily the same are where they offer digital service - data service is generally a somewhat smaller subset of their digital service area. In cellphone terms, digital service is where all the phone's voice functions work, and data is where they can provide well, data. You won't find true coast to coast coverage from anyone.

With Verizon, (from personal experience) we had to upgrade the account to enable web access at about $5 more per month on top of the existing calling plan, plus buy a computer connection kit - this is a CD of software that lets the laptop "talk" to the phone, and a cable to connect the laptop to the phone. The connection kit was about $50. Actual airtime is fairly pricy, unless you're able to stick to using it only at nights or on weekends. All of this assumes you have a phone that's capable of a data connection, as well.

Once you jump through all these hoops, and get a connection working, it's pretty good, but it's every bit as skittish as a voice call, so plan for plenty of dropped connections. It'll probably be fine for a "jump online to snag email" sort of connection, but don't plan on extended web surfing or using a VPN tunnel into a corporate system.
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Old 12-13-2004, 02:14 PM
HugoRed HugoRed is offline
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gotpasswords thanx for your info.
She will have to do some real talking to different companies.
I use US Cellular and when I originally got it the rep told me you could do it but it wasn't very satisfactoy.
That was 4 years ago and I hoped I could give her better updated info.
Again, thanx.
HR
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  #4  
Old 12-13-2004, 02:45 PM
micco micco is offline
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I use Sprint and have a USB connection between phone and laptop that works very well. You have to buy some inexpensive third-party connection software, but I've been able to connect all over the country in lots of pretty rural areas. I don't use it frequently, but it's worked well when I've needed it.
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Old 12-13-2004, 03:05 PM
HugoRed HugoRed is offline
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And I thank you, Micco. I think she now has Sprint. So cords and software is all she needs?
Son in law suggests "Bluetooth", have no idea about it and I cannot communicte very well with him, he starts telling me about all the Linux stuff she could use, she needs something menu drive that doesn't take any computer know-how.
HR
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  #6  
Old 12-13-2004, 03:17 PM
micco micco is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HugoRed
And I thank you, Micco. I think she now has Sprint. So cords and software is all she needs?
It probably depends on the rate plan and phone model. I can't give you too many details on the different Sprint rate plans because mine is supplied by my company and I haven't bothered to look into it. The connection software I use is made by FutureDial, so you can check their list of compatible phones and providers.
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  #7  
Old 12-13-2004, 03:30 PM
Flander Flander is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by micco
You have to buy some inexpensive third-party connection software...
No you don't. If you have a data-capable phone, a USB data cable to hook to your computer, and a service plan that includes "wireless web", you don't need to buy any connection software. The only thing you will need are drivers for your data cable available here. Once that's installed, you can use Windows to set up a dial-up connection using your phone as the modem. There are just a few things to remember.

First, it's more than likely against your Terms of Service agreement. If you use WAY to much data bandwidth, they'll flag your account and send you a letter telling you to stop. Surfing the web and checking mail is fine, just don't leave it on for a week downloading porn on a p2p program.
Also, make sure your plan has "unlimited web access" or something like that. Otherwise you may get charged per/kb usage fees.

Currently, I use SprintPCS and occasionally use that datacable to get internet through my phone. I used it a lot after the hurricanes that hit FL and I had no phone or cable for weeks. Verizon and Sprint, both being CDMA networks, will also in the near future be upgrading their networks to allow faster data transfer. Something to think about.

As for Bluetooth, think of that as the wireless version of your USB data cable. Instead of having a physical cable running from your laptop to your phone, it's wireless.
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Old 12-13-2004, 03:34 PM
Flander Flander is offline
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micco and I are linking to the same company's site (great minds think alike). The cable drivers are free, but the (unneccessary) connection software "SnapDialer" isn't.
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  #9  
Old 12-13-2004, 03:59 PM
HugoRed HugoRed is offline
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Thank you one and all.
I just returned from the bustling city of Grants Pass after an hour of talking to a stump and getting the replies one would expect from a stump.
She obviously needs to go to a larger town and find someone who can read and understand what you have said and advise her based on her needs rather than their bottom line.
HR
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