How to insure we have wifi while out of town?
April 3, 2015 8:48 AM   Subscribe

Vacationing for 2 weeks in Southern CT. One of us will technically still be working and will need reliable internet access. The house we rent has no TV or internet, and the general location has somewhat iffy mobile phone signals. Looking for a way to guarantee we can get online as needed. Bonus points if you can explain the solution in terms a kindergartener would understand!
posted by mmf to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
1. Where will you be located? Southern CT is pretty well served for libraries and Starbucks.
2. Piggyback on a neighbor's signal (i.e. look for a wifi network that isn't secure, and hop on. Or, ask a neighbor if you can borrow theirs, if it's available at your house.)
3. Are you willing to spend money on this? Find out if there's a carrier that does get good coverage in the area (i.e. if Verizon doesn't, maybe AT&T or Sprint do?) then get a pay-as-you-go phone with data that you can tether. This means that you're turning it into a cable modem/router combo, creating a little wifi network near it for your computer to use, and then connecting you to the Internet via cellular data.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 9:05 AM on April 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

I concur with Chesty on number 3. If you must have coverage, get either:

a) Two pay-as-you-go phones that offer data tethering, one for AT&T and one for Verizon.

b) Two mobile-network hotspots, one for AT&T and one for Verizon.

I chose AT&T and Verizon because they have the most comprehensive national networks.
posted by Mo Nickels at 11:21 AM on April 3, 2015

Response by poster: We can't use libraries, etc, since the need to be available on line is constant. We are definitely willing to spend (pretty much) whatever it takes.
Can't rely on neighbors, since we must be guaranteed we have access.
Will try to see which carrier has best coverage in the area. I'll look at the tethering idea. Any other ways?
posted by mmf at 12:01 PM on April 3, 2015

It very much depends what sort of access you will need. Will you need to be using Skype, Lync, etc to join calls, or will you just use phones for that? What about web meetings such as WebEx, LiveMeeting, etc? Will you be demoing software over said connections? All of those things somewhat mitigate against using cell data connections. For general email, etc. then the cell data connections will work.
posted by blue_wardrobe at 12:18 PM on April 3, 2015

Response by poster: There is likely to be a need to be able Skype and attend some type of web meetings, along with basic e-mail, etc.
posted by mmf at 12:38 PM on April 3, 2015

When I'm in lower Fairfield County, I sometimes bum Internet access off of a colleague's Verizon MiFi. It seems to work well, though I've definitely heard CT-wide grumbling about Verizon costs.
posted by gnomeloaf at 1:01 PM on April 3, 2015

How much are you willing to spend? There's short term satellite equipment rentals, but it ain't going to be cheap.
posted by doctord at 2:29 PM on April 3, 2015

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