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Need Laptop Internet Access On Road & Home
I've found myself suddenly needing a way to have internet access for my laptop on the road AND at home.  My cell phone is an ancient flip-phone with StraightTalk's month-to-month, unlimited Talk/Text for about $30 monthly. I've never even paid attention to how much data is included in this plan, because it's virtually impossible for me to use this phone for accessing the internet. (Maybe not difficult for others, but just doesn't work for me.) Therefore, I only access the internet at home with my laptop.

For home internet service, I've been using the local small-town provider, because I had originally also needed a landline phone to work from home. I no longer need the landline, but I've had to keep the phone service in order to have the internet service (bundle only.) The monthly charge is around $89 for both services combined.

Here's the deal... I've just discovered that I'll be able to start some traveling within the next couple of weeks, and I have a very small window of time to acquire internet service that I can use on-the-road. It's possible that I may sometimes be in obscure locations away from towns/cities, so I'd like to have a service that would likely be able to find a signal in such settings. In addition, I'd use the internet service at home.

Well.... my home internet bill would need to be paid within 3 days from this posting, if I wanted to continue that service. It's a no-brainer for me that I DO NOT want this limited-location, podunk internet service. However, I need to have a way to continue working online from home without interruption right now, and I have no idea which carrier or what devices I'd need to be able to move forward with acquiring mobile internet for my laptop ASAP.

Since I'm not made of money, I'm looking for a quick solution that will work, and which I can incorporate immediately, at a minimal cost. 

My dream would be to have something up-and-running ASAP, so that I can kiss this local carrier goodbye, without having to increase their coffers by $89. 

I've read so much in this forum, but it's all swirling around in my head, without an anchoring point. Can someone please lay out a simple plan for me, fairly quickly, that will get me the internet usage I need for home and on-the-road (without committing to any long-term contracts.) I am online quite a bit, but I'm not streaming lots of movies, etc. Mostly researching and entering data.

Thank you a thousand times, in advance, for your help!
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The following 1 user says Thank You to CKT OK for this post:
GypsySpirit (12-26-2017)
I work from my RV (I own a specialty web design and marketing company). On average, I use right around 1 GB of data a month. (mostly work, checking forums, etc. The occasional youtube video at low res). 

I bought a Verizon Jetpack AC791L 4GLTE  from a Verizon store with a data plan. I chose that model because it has built in jacks to accept an antennae.

I also bought this antennae, which usually adds 1 or 2 bars to my reception.

Which required buying this adapter/pigtail

I initially started with a 20GB plan, but had to increase it to 30GB a month. 

So far, I've mostly had at least 3 bars of 4GLTE service, which has been plenty fast enough for work. 

The data plan runs me about $140 a month, but I consider it a cost of doing business, and it's my only source of internet. I do try to save doing updates on the devices until I"m somewhere with a free wifi connection and some time to kill. An ios update with 30 app updates on two devices can suck up an incredible amount of bandwidth. 

The hotspot creates a wireless network inside the RV, so all my devices connect to it (laptop, phone, iPad). The antennae has a magnetic mount, so you can mount it outside on the rig if need be. I keep mine in the overhead area (Class C) and have it attached to a metal plate inside. 

I'm sure there's cheaper solutions, but this is what I came up with when I went full-time 15 months ago.
2017 Coachmen Freelander Micro 
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The following 3 users say Thank You to moorejames for this post:
bkpkvan (01-12-2018), CKT OK (12-26-2017), dawnann7 (12-26-2017)
Our 20 GB plan with AT&T covers our phone and hot spot for about $140.00 a month. There are much cheaper plans (the details are laid out in jimindenver's posts) but they are complicated and take some time to set up. Your best bet for a fast solution is to go both Verizon and AT&T stores and explain what you want and why. Maybe you can get a prepaid plan for a phone that doubles as a hot spot and avoid the long term contract.
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The following 1 user says Thank You to tonyandkaren for this post:
CKT OK (12-26-2017)
The TracFone Smartphone option is $23.75 for two months, on auto-refill. It comes with a small amount of data. additional is $10 per GB which works well for my highly variable mobile use. I've been reading the same threads on more robust options. Let us know what you sort out!
-Douglas Tooley

My Blog
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The following 1 user says Thank You to DLTooley for this post:
CKT OK (12-26-2017)
The unlimited Verizon 3G hotspots are 5 dollars a month. Freedompop has very limited amounts of data but it is free. There are a variety on unlimited deals on all the carriers, it just depends on how and where you need signal and budget. The important thing is to pay attention to any limits on hotspots, speeds, etc before you sign up.
Sparky created, (Sparkles on some Saturday nights)  Max the Wonder puppy approved

2011 Ameri-lite 25 ft bunkhouse with 750w of solar and a 675 Ah bank
2003 Ford Expedition with 435w of tilting solar.
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The following 3 users say Thank You to jimindenver for this post:
bkpkvan (01-12-2018), rvpopeye (12-26-2017), CKT OK (12-26-2017)
Both my phones (Cdn & US) have 'molbile hotspots' on them.

Here in the US I use Verizon 'prepaid' plan which gives me the hotspot, 10 G of data a month and unlimited call/text North American wide for $60.00 a month.

Beware, they have a new 'unlimited' data plan but it does NOT allow the use of the hotspot. I found out about that one the hard way.... Rolleyes

I like Verizon because it gives me the widest range of coverage.

I have a Wilson signal booster on the way so that I can have faster and more reliable connections where the signal is poor!
Worry is a misuse of imagination!
Build link:
Full-timer again as of November 24, 2015 - 14 glorious years on the road before that!

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The following 1 user says Thank You to Almost There for this post:
CKT OK (12-26-2017)
Yes the cheaper plans and MVNOs like Tracfone try to forbid hotspotting, if you're an Android techie or willing to become one there are workarounds.

There are also direct to PC modems if you just need the one device connected.

$10 per GB is great for low usage. Don't believe "unlimited" if you're watching or DLing tons of video all month, they all have caps/throttling.

Verizon has the best geographic coverage, ATT is close, T-Mobile playing catchup, Sprint is meh outside urban areas.
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The following 1 user says Thank You to John61CT for this post:
CKT OK (12-26-2017)
So....if I buy one of those USB wireless hotspot devices from FreedomPop, am I understanding correctly that I'd have a connection to Sprint's network, and that I'd be automatically enrolled in their monthly plan for a fee (then can downgrade to a lower amount of usage which will do away with the monthly charge?) Looks like FreedomPop uses Sprint's network, right?

I'm like a duck out of water where all of this is concerned. Please don't hold that against me, LOL.

I'd like to go with Verizon's coverage area, but I don't fully understand how to get "Verizon's unlimited 3G hotspot for $5 a month." Do I have to buy some sort of device from them first that would plug into my laptop?
(Remember... I only have an old flip-phone, so I can't be using it for any sort of connector to the internet.)
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Freedompop has a history of shenanigans with their billing..just so you know what you are getting into. JiminDenver seems to not have problems with their billing though.
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The following 1 user says Thank You to RVTravel for this post:
CKT OK (12-26-2017)
For cheap internet everywhere the only way to go is a mobile hotspot .
I was going to direct you to Jim in Denver but he already posted so contact him for the good news !
Stay Tuned

Weirdo Overlord  YARC CRVL edition
12 "Stinkin'Badges"  a "Full Monty Badge" 2 "Just Ignore Me" clusters  4 "Pine Cone" clusters  one "Stinkin' Badger" and 4 of the coveted "Flying Manure Spreader"awards! (What a "Stinkin' " honor !) + ROOIRIA

1981 Travelcraft Class C - 23'
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The following 1 user says Thank You to rvpopeye for this post:
CKT OK (12-26-2017)

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