Ipod touch and router
April 24, 2010 5:55 PM   Subscribe

I'm thinking of getting an iPod touch and realize I have to buy a router for it to get reliable wi-fi coverage to get email and the web. However, that is where my knowledge ends. Is this "router" thing portable? Can I take it with me and get coverage anywhere, or does it only work at home?
posted by PJSibling to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Some are portable (I have one that is intended for travel). You can take it with you and get coverage anywhere you have a wired Internet connection.
posted by kindall at 6:00 PM on April 24, 2010

A basic router will only work at home, it's plugged into your internet access there, such as a cable modem.

But, you'll soon find that many places in your town have free wifi. So when you're out of the house, you'll probably still be able to surf and check email at many restaurants, coffee houses, hotels, museums, college campus, some towns, etc. The default on the ipod touch will look for open wifi whenever you try to connect away from home. Some of the sources it finds will have locks on them, because it's a personal wifi that others don't want you to use. Others may have low signal strength.

If you need constant, reliable access to email, then don't get the Touch.
posted by saffry at 6:05 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Though with th iPod touch you can access any free or paid wifi access point. Such as ones at coffee shops or book stores. I believe both Barnes & Noble and Borders have totally free wifi. Panera Bread does as well. Many hotels offer it too. So a wireless router, is really only needed at home. ( also make sure you enable encryption, there are tutorials on how to do that online )
posted by tropikal at 6:07 PM on April 24, 2010

It really sounds like what you want is an iPhone, which is essentially an iPod Touch with an internet connection everywhere. And you can make calls with it.
posted by The Michael The at 6:16 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

You should think of a wireless router as a device that takes a wired internet connection, and converts it to a wireless (wifi) connection.

So the idea of taking it with you is flawed, since it doesn't do anything by itself, but only in conjunction with an already existing internet connection.

So, a router + internet connection might provide a bubble of access at your home, but walk down the street, and you're no longer connected to that network.

Many places do have free wifi, where they setup their own networks, and then set the permissions on them to allow anybody on.

As other people say, if you want on-the-go internet access for emails and such, you will need a phone setup, that uses the much longer range 3G network (cell phone network).
posted by cschneid at 6:17 PM on April 24, 2010

You need to buy a router to get any wi-fi coverage at home.

Conceptually, a router is just a device that hooks into your home internet connection and makes it wireless. You could have one or two dozen of these on one internet connection in your house if you so desired, but they are only functional so long as they are interfacing with an internet connection. They're not portable any more than a TiVo would be if you put it in a bag and took it to a hotel with you, but obviously there are usually a lot of open wireless networks around. Hope this helps you understand things a little better. :)
posted by jaffacakerhubarb at 6:18 PM on April 24, 2010

One option that might work for you is something like the MiFi.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:24 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Even McDonalds has free Wifi these days.

The Michael The: "It really sounds like what you want is an iPhone, which is essentially an iPod Touch with an internet connection everywhere. And you can make calls with it."

...if you want to pay the big bucks every month for 3G data charges (if AT&T even HAS reliable 3G in your area) and risk overage charges for whatever cap AT&T has on its so-called "unlimited" data plans. PJSibling, please don't confuse the iPhone's combined 3G (that is, cellular) and Wifi functionality with the iPod Touch's Wifi. The 3G service is expensive. The iPod Touch charges you nothing to get online as long as the restaurant/hotel/wherever offers free Wifi.
posted by IndigoRain at 6:29 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

Even McDonalds has free Wifi these days.

Just a note, I've consistently found the McDonald's Wifi is terrible. I had started stopping in them because of the free Wifi, but it's just pointless in my experience, my iTouch can never seem to connect.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:34 PM on April 24, 2010

I love my touch, but I don't have wifi at work or at most stores, playgrounds, or random rural places near where I live. It's not a substitute for a cellphone based plan if you're going to need constant access.
posted by saffry at 6:53 PM on April 24, 2010

The AT&T data plan is unlimited, you will pay a flat rate for it with the iPhone. I use it to stream music for 8+ hours a day and have never encountered overage charges.

If you want access everywhere, the iPhone is what you want, thought the plan is expensive.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:43 PM on April 24, 2010

Thanks...I grok this whole thing a lot better now. I have a Blackberry Pearl, and I like it but I wanted a better browser. Maybe I'll look into the I phone or a bigger blackberry. I couldn't figure out why people were saying, oh, you just need a router.

(No wonder I couldn't get my Tivo to work at the hotel in Vegas...And it was so heavy to carry, LOL!)
posted by PJSibling at 10:23 PM on April 24, 2010

I'm typing this on an iPod touch on a train from London to Liverpool. The train has wifi. When I was back home (San Francisco) I bought service from a company called ipass connect, which is $10/mo and gets you access to a number of partnered providers -I'm on tmobile at the moment. It's ideal for travelers, they say, and although coverage has been iffy in some spots, it's already paid for itself in the three days since I've been here, since other paid options have been along the lines of "pay us £10 for an hour of wireless!". It's monthly, no contract, and maybe I'll keep it once I get home. The app is free from the iTunes app store.
posted by rtha at 2:27 AM on April 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

I have a Blackerry 9630 and I just got an I-pod touch yesterday. My Blackberry is work-provided, through Verizon, on contract and switching to an I-phone is neither possible nor desirable for me. I type work emails much faster on my Blackberry, though I do anticipate that with some practice my touch-screen type speed will improve.

So I will give you my two cents, on why I purchased my I-pod touch, what I hope to gain out of it, and my first impressions. I had a working I-pod nano, so this was a voluntary upgrade. Best Buy, btw, is offering a $181.99 price online but $199 in the store for the 3G 8gb I-pod touch, and was willing to price match their online quote (not marked 'online only') without hesitation. I just pulled it up on my Blackberry while in the store.

My primary reason for getting the Touch is for business travel, which I do on an increasingly frequent basis. Thus, a couple of features I wanted or have now figured out I have and love, are: ability to use I-pod touch not just with headphones, but as speakers, to play music while sitting lonely in a hotel room. The volume, etc. is actually better than my laptop. Little apps that help one adjust to being in a strange place are great - finding local bars, restaurants, taxis, hotels, whatever. That reduces my anxiety a bit. The Kindle app is a cute bonus, though I prefer physical books, it's nice to have in case I get stuck somewhere. I loaded up a couple of free books, including Pride & Prejudice, my fave book of all time. And of course, access to music, YouTube, downloaded movies, Hulu, whatever at different points in my travel are great. I realize that without the constant connection, I won't have everything all the time. But I can plan for that. These are mostly functions my BBerry does not have.

There are some functions my BBerry does have, but the overlap is nice. It's nice to have my email and FB on here, and it appears there are different ways to do VOIP calling and texting if you get a microphone. That, to me, is really neat - that I could use this wifi mp3 player to make VOIP calls, like an emergency backup if I lose my cell or if my big dog decides to eat my Blackberry again (well, chew it to pieces and spit them out defiantly). I hate traveling away from my husband, but we got him a Touch too. The idea that when I am away from him for 5 days at the end of this week traveling for business, we could play a free scrabble knockoff together, and chat while doing it, is neat. It makes me less lonely. I so far have to, very grudgingly, admit that the browser and browsing speeds are better, and the interface is so natural. I didn't need to be shown how to do things.

So, I like having access to the app store (though I recognize some apps - a minority of what I have seen so far - work only with Iphone and not with the more limited Touch capabilities) and I like having a backup communication device. It does so many neat things. The primary difference I see between Iphone and Touch is price (Touch is cheaper to buy and cheaper to own) and constant connection (with Iphone, you carry your connection with you, hence the cost - with Touch you are dependent on finding Wifi). You don't need the Wifi to listen to downloaded (versus streamed) music. You don't need it to use many apps. Free Wifi abounds - as said above, even McDonald's has it. And there are options you can buy along the lines of what rtha said.
posted by bunnycup at 8:16 AM on April 25, 2010

Good points, all, bunnycup. Sounds like a Touch has more versatility than a Nano and really not too expensive.
posted by PJSibling at 11:29 AM on April 25, 2010

How about tethering?

Tether, Inc. (formerly TetherBerry)

Simply put it allows you to utilize the internet connection your blackberry is getting.
posted by jstarlee at 12:23 PM on April 25, 2010

Tether and ipass sound good too...no monthly fee for tether, I gather.
posted by PJSibling at 2:50 PM on April 25, 2010

« Older Looking for good quotes about moms   |   One dentist shot too many Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.