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Advice about wireless

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drron

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I am a computer illiterate growing up before the computer age,I use them but do not have a clue when something goes wrong.
About to change my work patterns and will need to go mobile.most of the work will be in regional australia.A little bit remote and some overseas.
What do I need-will only be doing letters,some simple accounting and internet access.
Looking at various computer sites my guess is I will need to go with Telstra in australia.But overseas(mainly USA) is the free wireless really free and do you need your own provider at all.I will also be mainly in regional areas so using hampton inns and Hilton garden inns.
I trust that some of the road warriors here might point me in the right direction.Thanks
 

NM

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Hotels in the USA that offer free high-speed internet do so in two different ways - wireless or wired. They are indeed free and all you need to access the internet is either an ethernet port (and sometimes a patch cable) or an IEEE802.11b wireless interface in your computer.

They just require you to have your network interface (ethernet or wireless) configured for automatic configuration (DHCP). Most will have basic configuration instructions available in the room.

Many will force you to their own web page when you first connect to the internet, where you are presented with some advertising (their local hotel or brand) and their terms and conditions of use. When you hit the button that says you accept their terms and conditions, you are given free access to the internet.

So to use free wireless access in hotels and some airports where it is available, you don't need any service provider contracts.
 

Commuter

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With wireless access in regional Australia, my recommendation would be to go for the Telstra Wireless Broadband EVDO/CDMA laptop card. It's pretty handy that it latches onto the fast EVDO network if it's available, and CDMA is EVDO isn't. Sure, CDMA connection tends to be a bit slow, but perfectly workable, and you avoid having to pay for the hotel connection fees.
 

Mr_Gimlet

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At last, a post I know something about (unlike fares, aircraft, airports etc)

EVDO/CDMA is great, I had it on my last iMate, and the coverage is fantastic even in the middle of nowhere. The downside is that roaming overseas (if you chose to use it) is limited - I have been going up to China a lot and I cannot roam with CDMA. If you are in hotels and can use their wireless, it's great, but my firewalls don't allow me to do that. So if international roaming is important, look at GSM-based products.

Also, just a note on general wireless - basically, you turn on the laptop and it tells you if there is a wireless connection available. Some are free in Australia, but it is much more common to get free wireless overseas in places like Starbucks etc
 

Skyring

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Mr_Gimlet said:
Also, just a note on general wireless - basically, you turn on the laptop and it tells you if there is a wireless connection available. Some are free in Australia, but it is much more common to get free wireless overseas in places like Starbucks etc
I haven't met free wireless at any Starbucks yet. I've used them all over the world because they are clean and convenient, but free they ain't. You can generally access their zones through a commercial provider - some even allow you to use Telstra, but I think you have to arrange access before you go overseas (at least it was that way a year or so back). A week's contract with T-Mobile can work out to be a bargain, though the cost of coffee soon adds up.

SkypeZones at $US7.50 a month seems to be an expanding service. My local Starbucks offers it, and it was available (patchily) in Narita and JFK.
 

NM

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Skyring said:
A week's contract with T-Mobile can work out to be a bargain, though the cost of coffee soon adds up.
The monetary cost? or the health cost?
 

Skyring

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NM said:
The monetary cost? or the health cost?
Both, I guess. The average Starbucks is a comfortable place to catch up on email and stuff, and so long as I buy something, the staff won't bother me. I save money by bringing my own mug and buying the standard filtered coffee.

There's a couple of Starbucks near St Pauls that I like. Sit at a window seat on Ludgate Hill and look up at Wren's masterpiece and my emails reach new heights of lyricism.

Then again, it's usually better to arrange to have internet access where you are staying. If I wake in the middle of the night I can get on the internet tout de suite. The Fort Mason youth hostel at San Francisco has wireless internet throughout the place, and that's nice.

Or head out to the airport a few hours early, sit in the lounge and use the computers there. I'm always happy if there's free wireless, a view of planes landing and taking off, and an endless supply of drinks until it's time to board.
 

Mr_Gimlet

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I'm sure I've been to a coffee chain in Asia with free wirless, certainly in HK. Maybe I thought it was free wireless and was hacking into someone's home network! Pacific Coffee maybe? You got a 'code' from the till when you bought your coffee.
 

NM

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Skyring said:
Both, I guess. The average Starbucks is a comfortable place to catch up on email and stuff, and so long as I buy something, the staff won't bother me. I save money by bringing my own mug and buying the standard filtered coffee.
I needed internet access while out on the road last week, and pulled into a McDonalds car park. By parking close to the "restaurant" I was able to get WiFi access from the Telstra hotspot while sitting in my car. Quite convenient and no need to purchase anything from the McMenu ;) . But you do need a parking bay close to the building to get receiption.
 

Febs

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Just a quick clarification point for the less tech-savvy among us...
(I know this confuses a LOT of people)

When people say "wireless", they could be referring to one of two types:

1) Wireless Ethernet (802.11b/g/n) - This is the type of wireless that most laptops come with as standard, and is basically wireless network access (which doesn't have to include Internet access). When you buy a wireless router, wireless music server, wireless modem etc... for home use (eg: so you can surf the net on your laptop, in your backyard), it's this type. Also common in hotels, coffee shops and large cities. Sometimes free, sometimes not. Also referred to as "54G", it comes in speeds of 11mbps (802.11b), 54mbps (802.11g) and 108mbps for some proprietary implementations.

2) Wireless Internet - There are several types of this, but they basically give you Internet access almost anywhere in Australia (depending on the service). Examples are Telstra's EVDO/CDMA service (which is good, for the points Commuter outlined), Unwired, iBurst, Chilli, 3 and others. Many of these offer the convenience of broadband access in major cities, and some (eg: Telstra) offer slower access in other parts of the country. Keep in mind, these are pretty pricey, and usually max out at 1-3mbps.

I have a Telstra EVDO/CDMA card for my laptop which is extremely handy (can send and receive e-mails in taxi's, on the train, almost anywhere), but it's not quick. For e-mails and basic surfing it's fine, but for large file transfers, I prefer to use the Internet connection at my home/hotel.

Cheers,
- Febs.
 
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creditcardman

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if i'm in desperate need of 'net' then I'll drive around until I found some unsuspecting wireless user with no security and connect to it and sit in my car using it for free :) oh and it's really great when your neighbours dont' know about security too
 

Skyring

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Well, so long as you keep your own network unsecured, you're only borrowing it, really.

Someone noted years ago that all the people crying "information needs to be free" are usually pretty thorough about protecting their own.
 

tscharke

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food for thought:

[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]In Australia there has been no definitive case law about 'theft of service' through unauthorised use of a network. Observers note that there are specific prohibitions in federal law.

The federal Cybercrime Act 2001 for example amended the Criminal Code Act 1995 by identifying computer offences that "impair the security, integrity and reliability of computer data and electronic communications". The three major computer offences are -
[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif] 1) Unauthorised access, modification or impairment with intent to commit a serious offence (with a maximum penalty equal to the maximum penalty for that serious offence).

2) Unauthorised modification of data where the offender is reckless as to whether the modification will impair data (maximum penalty of 10 years in prison), covering situations such as where a hacker unintentionally impairs data in the course of unauthorised access to a computer system.

3) Unauthorised impairment of electronic communications (maximum penalty of 10 years in prison), including 'denial of service' attacks'.
[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The first offence centres on activity such as hacking a financial institution's database to access credit card details with the intention of using them to obtain money (ie intending to commit a fraud offence).

The Act includes other computer offences -
[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]1 Unauthorised access to, or modification of, restricted data (maximum penalty of two years imprisonment)

2 Unauthorised impairment of data held on a computer storage device, including removable storage (maximum two years imprisonment)

3 Possession or control of data with intent to commit a computer offence (maximum penalty three years imprisonment)

4 Producing, supplying or obtaining data with intent to commit a computer offence (maximum penalty three years imprisonment)
[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]More broadly, theft of service (unauthorised use of a consumer's wireless connection, thereby blowing out the money owed by that consumer to the ISP) would arguably be both a civil and criminal offence in Australian law ... akin to unauthorised use of the consumer's credit card or debit card.[/FONT]
now put down that chalk and back away with your hands up! ;):D
 

JohnK

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A few days ago I signed up for a 2 year contract to mobile wireless broadband from 3 for my laptop. I am planning on using it only in metropolitan Sydney and Brisbane and so far so good although the download speed is not fantastic it is not noticeable on most websites. I have turned off the roaming feature as it is very expensive....
 

NM

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A few days ago I signed up for a 2 year contract to mobile wireless broadband from 3 for my laptop. I am planning on using it only in metropolitan Sydney and Brisbane and so far so good although the download speed is not fantastic it is not noticeable on most websites. I have turned off the roaming feature as it is very expensive....
By way of reference and comparison, I am currently using a Telstra 3G Wireless modem and using Speedtest.net - The Global Broadband Speed Test I get a download speed of 4444kbps and upload speed of 616. And I am nowhere near the CBD, just sitting in my home.

I have used this modem in several capital cities as well as some regional areas. I even managed to get 3G connection at Mapleton last month. I often use it in airport lounges since the QF/Telstra wifi can be very slow.
 

Evan

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I use the Optus service. I got it cheap (right time and every service i have is with Optus). No complains at all.

Looking at a new work HP 2530p notebook with in-built GSM/UMTS also, probably use that instead of my current USB modem.

E
 

JohnK

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By way of reference and comparison, I am currently using a Telstra 3G Wireless modem and using Speedtest.net - The Global Broadband Speed Test I get a download speed of 4444kbps and upload speed of 616. And I am nowhere near the CBD, just sitting in my home.
Interesting. I downloaded AVG a couple of nights ago, 45MB, and it took just over an hour with I think an average speed of around 10Kbps. Much better than dialup but not quite as good as cable. My biggest concern is the regular loss of signal on a 6th floor apartment in Spring Hill. You would have thought that this would not be an issue so close to the city.

By the way does having the setting on 3G only ensure that roaming is blocked? I would hate to get a huge bill at the end of the month and as it is already if I go over the normal usage it is $1.45/MB....
 

NM

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By the way does having the setting on 3G only ensure that roaming is blocked? I would hate to get a huge bill at the end of the month and as it is already if I go over the normal usage it is $1.45/MB....
I have no idea how 3 handles roaming. My Telstra 3G modem will only connect to Telstra so issues with using other carries while in Australia.
 

Commuter

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I have no idea how 3 handles roaming. My Telstra 3G modem will only connect to Telstra so issues with using other carries while in Australia.
I'm pretty sure that it goes on 'roaming' when it logs onto a GSM network (i.e. non-3 network). I can't remember the costs off the top of my head but it is pretty expensive, so I have set mine to 3G-only.
 
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