How to access broadband from rural locations in Ireland
September 30, 2006 2:44 PM   Subscribe

What are the alternatives for accessing broadband with a laptop while traveling in rural Ireland--internet cafes not acceptable.

I will be staying in three different locations in Ireland (two rural one urban) and would like high speed access for work and pleasure. Dial up not available, nor satisfactory, where we are staying. I do not want to rely on internet cafes but do want access from the homes we are renting. What are my options--sattelite, mobile broadband. etc. I would appreciate any information regarding possible (recommended) providers, appropriate technology and cost. I can check out cost if I know where to look. This is an update to a question I posted last year. I ended up using internet cafes. This time I really want hi speed access from our different houses. While cost is a consideration I am willing to spend several hundred dollars plus reasonable one time costs. I anticipate 1-2 hours of usage per day.
posted by rmhsinc to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
You might look into WiMAX service. You may need a WiMAX PCMCIA.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:05 PM on September 30, 2006

I don't know about Ireland specifically, but you might also look into what cell phone carriers offer for data plans. Here in the US, for example, several carriers offer PCMCIA cards that connect to their network. Verizon's EVDO network is supposedly equivalent to broadband in terms of speed. So it might be worth looking into what Ireland has for cell phone carriers.
posted by fogster at 4:47 PM on September 30, 2006

I (luckily) stayed in a rural hotel with free wifi last time I was there, but I think fogster is right about cell phone carriers. I was amazed at the cell coverage there. I brought an unlocked GSM phone and bought a Vodafone sim card there and had service everywhere. I also had my Treo with me (w/ a US Cingular sim) and that always had service. Even walking in the Slieve Bloom mountains, the guy I was with talked the entire time on his cell.

Vodafone does have an internet solution whereby you use your phone as a modem. Maybe you can check them out and other mobile providers. Good luck!
posted by jdl at 7:01 PM on September 30, 2006

Vodafone has a PCMCIA card that you can use to get on their 3G network with your laptop. From what I've heard, it is *not* cheap, nor is it particularly high speed. The other mobile providers (Meteor, O2, 3) might have options too, but I've never heard of them.
posted by antifuse at 2:27 AM on October 1, 2006

I use my T-Mobile Blackberry as a tethered modem when I travel in Europe. It costs $20/month for unlimited data in the US and then an extra $20/month to use abroad, again unlimited. You can activate/deactivate this service as required.

My cheap and nasty Blackberry only offers GPRS but the later models offer EDGE which, while not as fast as an ADSL connection is pretty hefty nonetheless.

Caveat: I suspect (may be wrong) that, speed aside, EDGE would not be practical if you wanted to use Skype -- these connections tend to have fairly high latency.
posted by NailsTheCat at 1:08 PM on October 1, 2006

Thanks much--I have decided to rent a 3G data card (pcmcia) when I arrive in Ireland--I can rent it by the day or week and that is much less expensive than the long term service contracts I would need to negotiate in the US for the appropriate service. We have an O2 acount in Ireland and I can rent the data card as a supplement. Thanks for the info--Either a Blackberry, as a tethered modem, or renting s house with Broadband appears to be the best long term solution. The latter is very difficult to do in Ireland but surprisingly easy in the UK
posted by rmhsinc at 2:57 PM on October 1, 2006

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