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Old 05-11-2012, 07:25 AM
 
Location: East central Florida coast
144 posts, read 236,128 times
Reputation: 188

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Hello there:

Pardon me if I am a little naive about computer issues such as air cards, Wi-Fi, routers, and the like. I mean, I know what they are generally...I mean, I know how to use the internet and different programs, and basically get around on a computer. I have learned quite a bit from YouTube and people I know. I have used only desktops for the last ten years. And only PCs. My latest Dell is over four years old, sat at the same location in my bedroom. I use it for school, chat rooms, email, movies, music, etc. I love desktops as they seem to have many advantages. Plus, I was never the type to want to bring a laptop to a coffee shop or the beach. It has always been connected to a modem via my cable connection. So I am about to make some changes.

I am going to get another desktop, just ordered an Apple iMac MC814LL/A 27-Inch Desktop. I am all excited. I am finally going to be all Apple, along with my iPhone 4 I purchased last year. Here are my problems...I am not sure what avenue to take.

I plan to go to my parents up North more frequently due to health issues. They have cable, but no internet whatsoever! I need a computer. I was planning to buy a cheaper laptop or possibly a netbook for use when I travel...But what about connection??

If I get an aircard for my laptop, that is an extra monthly payment. Along with my cable/internet bill at home, that is a lot for a device I would only use for travel. I would basically use the desktop at home. I was thinking of using my iPhone for internet as I have the tethering feature. I only pay for 2 GB data, but it may be worth it if I only use it occasionally. However, is the speed and quality of tethering from one's iPhone compariable? And how about using one air card for all connections? Can an air card be used for a Mac desk top, and can I switch them back and forth? I'm a little confused here lol?

I guess I am trying to find out what you all do. I am sure there are a lot of people with multiple laptops and desktops. How do you pay for connections. Normally, I would want to use my laptop with Wi-Fi, and many places have it...but I do not have a router at my place and my parent's have N O T H I N G...

Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated.

carrob
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:24 AM
 
10,755 posts, read 18,015,770 times
Reputation: 10244
Using tethering depends on your provider, AT&T for instance requires an extra fee to enable it. You may want to look into a pay as you go aircard.
If your used to cable internet speeds at home, your not likely going to be happy with using an aircard at home.
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:31 AM
 
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
11,849 posts, read 13,976,351 times
Reputation: 8083
Tethering IS an extra pay option but I believe you can enable it on a month to month basis. Since you are all Apple now I would suggest an iPad2 or "3" with the 3g/4g option. That is an option to have cell phone type internet but can also be purchased as needed for one month at a time.
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Old 05-14-2012, 08:19 AM
 
Location: East central Florida coast
144 posts, read 236,128 times
Reputation: 188
sounds like a good idea.
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Old 05-14-2012, 01:17 PM
 
Location: Diaspora
21,556 posts, read 24,693,354 times
Reputation: 8930
Quote:
They have cable, but no internet whatsoever! I need a computer.
I've been in this situation. I use a IPad with 3G. It will depend on what you need to connect too. If its data related then it will be ok at a step below DSL (which I consider a step above dial-up). If you need something more graphical or requires large swaths of data to be viewed then you should print off a list of WiFi hotspots for the area you're going to stay in. I usually find them in local hotels/motels and sit in their lobbies.
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Old 05-20-2012, 07:59 PM
 
Location: Mtns of Waynesville,NC & Nokomis, FL
4,310 posts, read 8,287,893 times
Reputation: 5479
Fwiw, our Moto Droid X tethers for free to any of our laptops, albeit at '3G' max...only used this way in a pinch. The ATT/VZ tether is OK in most places, though not speedy either. I rec'd a cheaper laptop for when you are at your parents, and some tether set up or rented air card time combined with occasional trips to the local B&N, coffee shop, et al, with wireless. But, be careful of non-secure wifi joints for anything confidential.
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Old 08-28-2012, 05:03 PM
 
Location: NW Penna.
1,759 posts, read 3,242,353 times
Reputation: 1869
I have one of those Virgin Mobile USB air cards for travel (sells for $50 or so at WalMart) and there's a Walmart $20/month plan that is no-contract. Just buy a $20 Virgin Mobile card, and you get an allotment of bandwidth that's good for 30 days. It's use-it-or-lose it. It won't automatically re-up; it just ends when either it times out at 30 days or you've used up all your $20 worth of bandwidth. The air card works real well for me in areas that have strong cell phone signals. If you're out in the boonies with no cell service then it's obviously not going to work. I believe it uses Sprint's cell towers, so check a Sprint coverage map to estimate whether or not it will work where you're going. You can't watch video on it, but you can browse the boards and get Windows updates, etc.

I've switched that VM air card between two different Toshiba PCs and it works fine on both. The network keeps track of time and bandwidth that's expired & remaining but didn't care which PC the adapter was installed on, or that it was intermittently used on two different ones during the same 30-day period.

Sometimes you can buy those USB adapters for less on ebay. I bought mine new, so I'm not sure how well you can initialize a secondhand one.
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