WiFi on the road?
September 28, 2005 2:52 PM   Subscribe

Is there a nationwide (where nation = United States) service which provides wireless Internet coverage?

(Posted for a listmate)

I got this request from my boss:

"Take a few hours between now and next Wednesday and investigate the cost
and effectiveness of the various wireless services that offer national

We're using Earthlink right now for sales rep dialup access while on the
road when there is no broadband in their hotel.

I wasn't aware of any wireless services with national coverage. Is there
such a thing?
posted by Wild_Eep to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
Sprint, Verizon, etc.
posted by I Love Tacos at 2:56 PM on September 28, 2005

Yes. My company uses Verizon Wireless so that on-call employees can log into our open server and check on things.
posted by Fat Guy at 2:58 PM on September 28, 2005

Verizon just started such a plan. Perhaps you've been spared the incessant tv commercials.
posted by fishfucker at 2:58 PM on September 28, 2005

T-Mobile and Cingular also offer all-you-can-eat data plans. They're less expensive but also somewhat slower than Sprint and Verizon's. (Cingular's EDGE is faster than T-Mo's GPRS.) You can get PC Cards for either and CompactFlash for GPRS. (EDGE is backward-compatible with GPRS modems, but you won't get the extra speed, of course.)
posted by kindall at 3:06 PM on September 28, 2005

I've tried them all, Verizon's is the best as far as speed is concerned. Sprint has horrible aircards (though this may have changed), try not to get something with an antenna.
posted by geoff. at 3:13 PM on September 28, 2005

Verizon's seems like a pretty nice setup, but I've been using a bottomless Cingular EDGE plan with a Bluetooth phone as a modem for over a year with great success. It's slow at times because Cingular has oversold capacity on the network and the APN. Every so often the APN gets an upgrade and speeds return to normal (roughly 256kbit/s), then start to degrade over the coming months.

Latency on the Cingular EDGE network is godawful -- on the order of a second and a half, round trip. So forget mobile gaming. It's out of the question.

They hide you behind some kind of NAT scheme on the APN (you get a 10.0 address) but I've found that pretty much all applications work just fine. I've done ridiculous things like run BitTorrent over it.

I suspect the Verizon offering is a better product all around, but I was able to wrangle a pretty good deal on unlimited data when my Cingular contract came up, and at the time Verizon's data network basically didn't exist at all.
posted by majick at 4:42 PM on September 28, 2005

(Has no one else noticed it says "Wi-Fi" in the title?)
posted by cillit bang at 5:37 PM on September 28, 2005

For Wi-Fi, the only thing that immediately pops to mind is the T-Mobile hotspot service in Starbucks and Borders stores.
posted by gyc at 5:53 PM on September 28, 2005


posted by mr.dan at 8:50 PM on September 28, 2005

Response by poster: I'm not sure the company in question is only interested in WiFi... that may have been an assumption on my part.

Thanks for all the great responses!
posted by Wild_Eep at 9:33 PM on September 28, 2005

Boingo offers WiFi access across the US. I've used their service once, at a trade show, and was fairly pleased with it.
posted by kableh at 9:03 AM on September 29, 2005

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