Solutions for 'renting' internet while in a remote location?
June 20, 2013 2:31 PM   Subscribe

I will be renting a cabin in a remote area in the US (mountains outside of Asheville, NC) and need to have internet access from my laptop for one day. I looked at maps of coverage and it seems like only 1 local carrier has a nearby tower. What are my options? (more inside)

I will be renting a cabin in a remote area (mountains outside of Asheville, NC) and need to have internet access from my laptop for at least one full day (for work.). There is no phone/internet in the cabin, so I looked into DayPass wireless and wondered if something like that would work. However, I looked at maps of coverage and it seems like there is only one USCellular tower on the mountain, and DayPass uses Verizon or Sprint. Verizon has 1x data coverage (whatever that means?), Sprint is roaming, AT&T is non existent.

Should I try a rental through DayPass or another service (if there are others)? I am not familiar with US Cellular, or if there is a way to rent a hotspot using that carrier. Or are there any other options I'm not thinking of? I have access to 2 iPhones (Sprint, and AT&T) but have never tried tethering before, and if I'll be roaming on Sprint, that doesn't seem like a great option either.

If I really need to just drive to find somewhere to work for the day, I can do it, but given the size and weight of my work laptop, just wondering if there's another way!

posted by NikitaNikita to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Verizon has 1x data coverage (whatever that means?)

It means poop. It's 80-140kbps, generally worse then ISDN or giving you under or around 10KB/s. Remember sub 1mbps DSL? it's worse than that, by a LOT. It's like what the upload speed on that DSL was.

You want something like this. Roaming on sprint will probably cost you even more. I just pulled that from the first google result for "satellite internet rental", but i saw cheaper ones out there as well.

My primary point though, is that's the tree you should be barking up. Not phone roaming or awful verizon data. I'll also note that verizon and sprint share wireless standards, and i bet that slow-ass verizon tower is what you'd be getting charged out the ass to roam on.
posted by emptythought at 3:24 PM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Unless he sleeps on a mattress stuffed with 500 euro banknotes, Inmarsat BGAN service is not an option... It's $4 or more per megabyte. Yes, per megabyte transferred. 1xRTT terrestrial based service at 100-120kbps is vastly preferable to paying several thousand dollars to watch one 480p youtube video.
posted by thewalrus at 4:06 PM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think you are going to need to drive somewhere to work.
posted by mskyle at 5:00 PM on June 20, 2013

I used to live in the area you are describing and still visit regularly. I would not count on cellular access at all. Plan to drive somewhere with a wired connection. If you want specific suggestions, feel free to drop me a note and, if it's an area I know, I will be glad to help.
posted by bluedaisy at 7:50 PM on June 20, 2013

Howabout drive to the nearest wifi? This claims to be a list of public access points near the Smoky Mountains.
posted by zippy at 9:40 PM on June 20, 2013

McDonald's might have far from Asheville are you talking here?
posted by oceanjesse at 9:45 PM on June 20, 2013

Satellite has quite a bit of lag, so even if the price isn't an issue it might not be what you want if you need to do videoconferencing or something like that.
posted by yohko at 11:12 PM on June 20, 2013

Ok, sounds like driving into the nearest town is the most viable option here... I am 8 miles outside of hot springs NC and was told about an hour from Asheville.
posted by NikitaNikita at 12:22 AM on June 22, 2013

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