Wireless without broadband
July 19, 2006 5:47 PM   Subscribe

Boonies Wireless Networking with a Phone Line. Help needed!

Being the school's formerly resident tech nerd, I received a support request from an old high school teacher. Seems that she has moved into the middle of nowhere Florida; down two single lane dirt roads; turn left onto the clay drive and take a left at the big saw palm.

She wants to get up on the internet again, but has no cable or DSL options. Also, she's just had surgery that prevents her from sitting in a normal office chair for long periods, so she'd like to take her laptop into a comfy chair.

Is there a good satellite broadband solution that you could hook a wireless router onto? Is there a way to bridge a wireless router into a auto-dialing modem? Is there something I'm not thinking of (and yeah.. cellular broadband is a no go where she is)

posted by drewbage1847 to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
The older Apple Airport WAPs have modems built in. You might want to try to score one of those if you don't turn up anything else.

I don't have any useful information about satellite ISPs, but I'd imagine at least one of them provides some kind of Ethernet bridge, into which any old WAP could be plugged.
posted by majick at 5:55 PM on July 19, 2006

Someone posted recently on AskMe someplace about how to set up a server using an old linux box that would handle the autodial features so that you could have just this setup. My friends use WildBlue for satellite. It's not stupid expensive and they have a wireless network in their house. Keep in mind that if she's looking at dial-up speeds anyhow, if she can't find an Airport base station, there may just be a wiring system that would let you put a few little phone jacks at or near her favorite chairs. I'm not sure if this is the sort of thing you're likely to do a housecall for, but if there are a limited number of places she'd be using the laptop and she doesn't have guests, that would be the super cost-effective solution.
posted by jessamyn at 6:03 PM on July 19, 2006

You can still buy Apple Airport Extremes with a modem in them. If she uses a mac, you can easily control the dialing up remotely and I'm sure there is a way to do it in windows but I've never done it.
posted by mathowie at 6:45 PM on July 19, 2006


I have had great luck with this provider, they are the cheapest out there right now, and are good to work with. You can use a router on their system as well.
posted by SirStan at 7:04 PM on July 19, 2006

This month's Popular Mechanics (August - 100 MPG car on the cover) has a short piece on satellite broadband.

Short summary: $50-80 per month, possibly $500 in equipment to get started, long latency but usable for basic internet access (not gaming).
posted by concrete at 8:31 PM on July 19, 2006

A modem like this one has a serial port that would allow you to connect an old fashioned analog modem and dial out using that.

Note though, if your friend is far enough out in the boonies to be unable to get either cable or DSL, there is a good chance that the phone lines that connect to their house will not be of the best quality. You may end up getting 33.6 or 28.8 Kbps. I would try out a modem connection from the house before spending much.
posted by zabuni at 11:37 PM on July 19, 2006

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