Author Topic: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions  (Read 20275 times)

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Offline NorthNJwx

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3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« on: January 17, 2012, 11:21:20 PM »
I have a Vantage Vue installed at a remote location, complete with a laptop running Cumulus 24/7. The story of how and why I have a laptop running Cumulus 24/7 is long and detailed, so I'll link anyone who is interested in the background information to the following thread: http://www.wxforum.net/index.php?topic=13725.0.

Anyway, I'm interested in using 3G Mobile Broadband at my remote site because:

-The house has no WiFi access
-There's no landline phone (not sure a dialup modem would be better than 3G, anyway) at the house
-The house does indeed have good cell service
-The laptop is there, running Cumulus constantly, but I have to drive down there with a USB flash drive in order to see/retrieve/use my archived data
-If the cost is right, it would be cool to have live data from the remote station online

With all of that said, I've found a data provider that seems to offer an excellent option, seen at this link: http://www.datajack.com/datajackusb

I'm looking into the 200 MB data plan option, for the sweet price of $10/month. I only plan on uploading my data to WU, CWOP, and PWS through Cumulus - I don't plan on having a separate web site for it (already have one for my non-remote home station), so my needs would be quite simple.

If I'm only using the 3G mobile broadband access to upload my weather data to WU/CWOP/PWS, will I be using any "data" according to the service provider's specs? I will not be viewing any web pages, opening any emails, etc. using the connection (I won't even be on-site, anyway). This is why I'm assuming the bare minimum data plan of 200 MB would be sufficient, since all I'd be using the 3G for would be uploading to those sites - probably once every 10 minutes. The site notes that the 200 MB data plan allows one to view roughly 800 web pages/month - am I correct in assuming that the act of Cumulus uploading weather data to a website every 10 minutes would not "count" as viewing a website? If it does, I guess I'd have to either reduce upload frequency, just upload to WU, get a more expensive data plan, or some combination of the three.

Extending from the the topic of whether or not that data plan would be sufficient for 24/7 uploads every 10 minutes, I'm curious as to whether I'd be able to upload to WU RapidFire with that plan. I don't use RapidFire with my home station, and chances are I wouldn't want to use it on the remote station, either. But in the case that I did, would it be feasible under the 200 MB/month data plan?

Thanks in advance for any feedback.

Offline SlowModem

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2012, 04:11:48 AM »
I have a Verizon Pantech UB150 usb modem that I use on my laptop to surf the internet.  There are days when it is very difficult to keep it connected.  And there is no way to make the modem redial.  It has to be done manually (unless I am missing something).  That would be my biggest concern about your plan.

My weather computer is on a dialup modem at 26.6 kbs and does wonderfully sending data for three stations.  That's the connection I rely on for stability.

Just a thought for you this morning.

Good luck  :)
Greg Whitehead
Ten Mile, TN USA


Offline mackbig

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2012, 07:26:59 AM »
Average cwop upload is only 14976 bytes per day, so that would be .428 MB per month. So after CWOP you would still have 199.5715 MB to play with.

No idea how much is in the WU or PWS datastream.  You could probably find out though.

I'm looking into the 200 MB data plan option, for the sweet price of $10/month. I only plan on uploading my data to WU, CWOP, and PWS through Cumulus - I don't plan on having a separate web site for it (already have one for my non-remote home station), so my needs would be quite simple.

If I'm only using the 3G mobile broadband access to upload my weather data to WU/CWOP/PWS, will I be using any "data" according to the service provider's specs? I will not be viewing any web pages, opening any emails, etc. using the connection (I won't even be on-site, anyway). This is why I'm assuming the bare minimum data plan of 200 MB would be sufficient, since all I'd be using the 3G for would be uploading to those sites - probably once every 10 minutes.


It would count as using data, but ignore the 800 they quote.  that is assuming each page is averaging a quarter MB.
The site notes that the 200 MB data plan allows one to view roughly 800 web pages/month - am I correct in assuming that the act of Cumulus uploading weather data to a website every 10 minutes would not "count" as viewing a website? If it does, I guess I'd have to either reduce upload frequency, just upload to WU, get a more expensive data plan, or some combination of the three.

Using rapid fire all depends on how much is in that datastream.
Extending from the the topic of whether or not that data plan would be sufficient for 24/7 uploads every 10 minutes, I'm curious as to whether I'd be able to upload to WU RapidFire with that plan. I don't use RapidFire with my home station, and chances are I wouldn't want to use it on the remote station, either. But in the case that I did, would it be feasible under the 200 MB/month data plan?

Thanks in advance for any feedback.

Does the provider make you sign a contract?   Can you test drive it?  I know some cell providers offer their clients a test drive of their usb sticks.  Do they offer online bandwidth monitoring?  If you set it up on day 1, could you check on day 2 how much you used the previous day on their website?   

If you could borrow a stick.  You could do a quick test with something like BitMeter.  Turn on the 3G connection, run cwop, WU, and PWS for ten minutes, or an hour.  Then check the bandwidth on Bitmeter.  then multiply to get a daily number, then a monthly number.

I think you would probably be fine.  If the tests worked out, you could even try turning on Rapidfire to see what it did, or you could just use math to extrapolate a higher upload frequency.  Just make sure before you leave the remote location, you turn off windows updates or any other apps that automatically download updates.  One service pack could easily wipe out your monthly data quota.

Andrew

Andrew - Davis VP2+ 6163, serial weatherlink, wireless anemometer, running Weather Display.  Boltek PCI Stormtracker, Astrogenic Nexstorm, Strikestar - UNI, CWOP CW8618, GrLevel3, (Station 2 OS WMR968, VWS 13.01p09), Windows 7-64

Offline NorthNJwx

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2012, 09:53:09 AM »
I have a Verizon Pantech UB150 usb modem that I use on my laptop to surf the internet.  There are days when it is very difficult to keep it connected.  And there is no way to make the modem redial.  It has to be done manually (unless I am missing something).  That would be my biggest concern about your plan.

My weather computer is on a dialup modem at 26.6 kbs and does wonderfully sending data for three stations.  That's the connection I rely on for stability.

Just a thought for you this morning.

Good luck  :)

Does that mean you have to manually redial it in order to ever restart the connection, or will it restart itself eventually after some period of time? For my setup, I wouldn't have a problem with occasional hiccups. So, for example, if out of the 144 scheduled WU uploads per day (using a 10-min upload frequency), the connection was down for 15 of them and thus those uploads weren't sent, it wouldn't be a big deal. But if the connection goes down and then I have to manually restart it - that, of course, eliminates any chance of me using 3G mobile broadband at all. I can only get to the site once per month or so during the winter. Perhaps different 3G devices behave differently in this way, and some restart their connections? I'll try to look into that. Thanks for the important info.


Average cwop upload is only 14976 bytes per day, so that would be .428 MB per month. So after CWOP you would still have 199.5715 MB to play with.

No idea how much is in the WU or PWS datastream.  You could probably find out though.

I'm looking into the 200 MB data plan option, for the sweet price of $10/month. I only plan on uploading my data to WU, CWOP, and PWS through Cumulus - I don't plan on having a separate web site for it (already have one for my non-remote home station), so my needs would be quite simple.

If I'm only using the 3G mobile broadband access to upload my weather data to WU/CWOP/PWS, will I be using any "data" according to the service provider's specs? I will not be viewing any web pages, opening any emails, etc. using the connection (I won't even be on-site, anyway). This is why I'm assuming the bare minimum data plan of 200 MB would be sufficient, since all I'd be using the 3G for would be uploading to those sites - probably once every 10 minutes.


It would count as using data, but ignore the 800 they quote.  that is assuming each page is averaging a quarter MB.
The site notes that the 200 MB data plan allows one to view roughly 800 web pages/month - am I correct in assuming that the act of Cumulus uploading weather data to a website every 10 minutes would not "count" as viewing a website? If it does, I guess I'd have to either reduce upload frequency, just upload to WU, get a more expensive data plan, or some combination of the three.

Using rapid fire all depends on how much is in that datastream.
Extending from the the topic of whether or not that data plan would be sufficient for 24/7 uploads every 10 minutes, I'm curious as to whether I'd be able to upload to WU RapidFire with that plan. I don't use RapidFire with my home station, and chances are I wouldn't want to use it on the remote station, either. But in the case that I did, would it be feasible under the 200 MB/month data plan?

Thanks in advance for any feedback.

Does the provider make you sign a contract?   Can you test drive it?  I know some cell providers offer their clients a test drive of their usb sticks.  Do they offer online bandwidth monitoring?  If you set it up on day 1, could you check on day 2 how much you used the previous day on their website?   

If you could borrow a stick.  You could do a quick test with something like BitMeter.  Turn on the 3G connection, run cwop, WU, and PWS for ten minutes, or an hour.  Then check the bandwidth on Bitmeter.  then multiply to get a daily number, then a monthly number.

I think you would probably be fine.  If the tests worked out, you could even try turning on Rapidfire to see what it did, or you could just use math to extrapolate a higher upload frequency.  Just make sure before you leave the remote location, you turn off windows updates or any other apps that automatically download updates.  One service pack could easily wipe out your monthly data quota.

Andrew


If uploading to CWOP uses that tiny amount of data, I can't see WU uploads using much more - certainly not enough to add up to 200 MB/month even when uploading to both places. I have to admit that I have no idea how to find out how much data an average upload to WU takes (or how much data uploading to anything requires, as this is uncharted territory for me!), but it seems I'd be safe even with that minimal data plan. Thanks for posting that enlightening statistic.

As for contracts, from the DataJack website:

Quote
DataJack has four service plan options available. With DataJack you can enjoy the plan of your choosing with no termination fees and no contract.

You select a device and get connected with no commitments, no credit checks and no hidden fees. 3G nationwide service is the Internet on your terms.

So that sounds great to me! I can't find anything about testing the thing, but thankfully the USB device will only cost me $45 outright ($25 off the usually $70 item until 2/1, according to the site).

I think my main issue, as SlowModem alluded to, could be with losing the connection and having to manually restart it. If that's the case, I'd be better off just paying more and getting WiFi. I'm hoping there's a way to answer this question online; if not, I'll probably buy the device and hope for the best. The upside is great (getting my data online instead of collecting it ~once a month) for such a reasonable cost.

Offline SlowModem

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2012, 10:07:10 AM »
Does that mean you have to manually redial it in order to ever restart the connection, or will it restart itself eventually after some period of time?

Below is a likeness of my verizon access program.  It must be manually dialed (or redialed) (unless there's a secret to it that I haven't discovered yet)  I have to move the cursor over to the "connect" button and click on it to get the modem to redial.  That is why I've kept the dialup connection.

Greg Whitehead
Ten Mile, TN USA


Offline NorthNJwx

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2012, 10:12:36 AM »
Does that mean you have to manually redial it in order to ever restart the connection, or will it restart itself eventually after some period of time?

Below is a likeness of my verizon access program.  It must be manually dialed (or redialed) (unless there's a secret to it that I haven't discovered yet)  I have to move the cursor over to the "connect" button and click on it to get the modem to redial.  That is why I've kept the dialup connection.



I think what I'd need with whatever software DataJack includes would be some option to automatically reconnect when and if the connection goes down. I'll see if I can find out if such an option exists, though I'm not sure I'll be able to find that info - it seems like too obscure an option to get an answer about online. What is the cell service like in your area? I'm guessing that's the primary factor involved here. My remote location has good cell service and is included in the coverage map DataJack has on its site, though of course interruptions will happen from time to time anyway. If there's a way the included software can automatically reconnect to the 3G network after some period of time in which it has been offline, I'll be golden.

Or, perhaps there's some external program that can auto reconnect 3G devices? I'll try to look for that as well.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2012, 10:16:34 AM by NorthNJwx »

Offline WeatherHost

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2012, 10:16:49 AM »
It must be manually dialed (or redialed) (unless there's a secret to it that I haven't discovered yet)  I have to move the cursor over to the "connect" button and click on it to get the modem to redial.  That is why I've kept the dialup connection.

Any chance of a third party program to handle that?  Something like the startup manager some of you are using to automate your weather programs?

(Note: only the the part of the post being responded to was quoted instead of the entire post.)

 
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Offline NorthNJwx

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2012, 10:20:43 AM »
It must be manually dialed (or redialed) (unless there's a secret to it that I haven't discovered yet)  I have to move the cursor over to the "connect" button and click on it to get the modem to redial.  That is why I've kept the dialup connection.

Any chance of a third party program to handle that?  Something like the startup manager some of you are using to automate your weather programs?

(Note: only the the part of the post being responded to was quoted instead of the entire post.)

 

I've just gotten to searching, and this seems like it could be a viable option:

http://www.softpedia.com/get/Internet/Other-Internet-Related/ReConnect.shtml

Saw this recommended in a post on a tech forum (came up when I Googled the issue) as a way to automatically reconnect 3G internet.

Online SLOweather

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2012, 11:02:26 AM »
We have 2 WeatherElement sites running on cellular connections. WeatherElement uses a hardware data hub rather than a laptop, and sends just a data string to the server of about 350 characters. With the response from the sever, it totals about 500 bytes per update.

The way Verizon rounds it, it works out to about 1,200 bytes per upload. During testing, we upload every 30 seconds. That amounts to less than 3.5 megabytes a day, or about 105 megabytes a month.

We have 2 different cellular connections in place at this time, on 2 different sites. One uses a BlueTree BT-6600 cellular router  (cell modem, Ethernet router all in one).



The router is on a Verizon 250 MB data only plan at $40 per month. That's about the best I can do with them until I get 4 more units on my account.

The other does indeed use a laptop, but not how you'd expect. The laptop has a Verizon AirCard installed, and Internet Connection Sharing active, and the data hub connects to the Ethernet port via a Cat5 patch cable. In essence, the laptop is being used as a cellular router.

In each case, they reconnect as needed. The laptop is running XP SP3 and rarely, if ever needs a reboot.

2 things to keep in mind:

Your cellular data plan provider almost certainly has an on-line tool to monitor the data use. Use it, especially for the first weeks and month, so you really know what you are being charged for. Verizon lets me download the file so I can import it into Excel for analysis.

You need to do that, because the cell companies calculate bandwidth usage on the total of upload and download use. We had to fine tune the response from the WeatherElement Apache server to minimize what was being sent back to the modems. Until we did, the response was bigger than the data upload.




Offline Bushman

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2012, 11:09:39 AM »
It must be manually dialed (or redialed) (unless there's a secret to it that I haven't discovered yet)  I have to move the cursor over to the "connect" button and click on it to get the modem to redial.  That is why I've kept the dialup connection.

Any chance of a third party program to handle that?  Something like the startup manager some of you are using to automate your weather programs?

(Note: only the the part of the post being responded to was quoted instead of the entire post.)

 

Clickoff will do this.  Free.

Offline NorthNJwx

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2012, 12:18:08 PM »

2 things to keep in mind:

Your cellular data plan provider almost certainly has an on-line tool to monitor the data use. Use it, especially for the first weeks and month, so you really know what you are being charged for. Verizon lets me download the file so I can import it into Excel for analysis.

You need to do that, because the cell companies calculate bandwidth usage on the total of upload and download use. We had to fine tune the response from the WeatherElement Apache server to minimize what was being sent back to the modems. Until we did, the response was bigger than the data upload.


Your setups sound fascinating (and I've seen your remote configurations in other threads before - amazing stuff), but I'll be the first to admit that I'm a technology end-user and that I understand very few of the technical aspects of that post!

That said, I found a page on the DataJack website that would apparently allow me to track my data usage and manage my account once I started using the device. Assuming it's simplistic enough, this seems to be what you were suggesting: https://www.datajack.com/register



Clickoff will do this.  Free.

So if the DataJack software is configured similarly to Slow Modem's software, will Clickoff be able to automatically "click" the connect button some amount of time after the signal is lost? I'm also curious as to whether or not the program I linked to in my previous post would accomplish this.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2012, 12:27:43 PM by NorthNJwx »

Offline Bushman

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2012, 12:49:54 PM »
Clickoff (and similar) work by watching for a d ialog box and then taking some action.  I have no idea if the one you suggested will work although it does say that it is for RAS clients.  not sure that will be your 3G client..

Offline SlowModem

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2012, 01:41:32 PM »
There's another option I didn't think of before.  You can get a router that works with a usb modem from verizon that will force the modem to dial (or redial) if the router has power.  Of course, you have to have a wifi card in your computer for this to work.

Here's an example:

http://www.cradlepoint.com/products/mobile-broadband-routers/ctr35-wireless-n-portable-router
Greg Whitehead
Ten Mile, TN USA


Offline NorthNJwx

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2012, 02:21:53 PM »
There's another option I didn't think of before.  You can get a router that works with a usb modem from verizon that will force the modem to dial (or redial) if the router has power.  Of course, you have to have a wifi card in your computer for this to work.

Here's an example:

http://www.cradlepoint.com/products/mobile-broadband-routers/ctr35-wireless-n-portable-router

That one in particular doesn't appear to support the DataJack service; it does support the major providers (such as Verizon), but I'm avoiding those due to their higher costs. I'm fullly willing to pay the $10/month plan, and would probably be willing to go up to $20/month - but beyond that, I'd probably drop the internet idea. 

Is this the same type of thing? I can't really tell, but it looks possible: http://www.datajack.com/datajackfsr
The problem is, the sticker price is higher and I'd be forced to get a more expensive monthly plan. I doubt I'd go for that, unless it was nearly foolproof.

I think as long as I can use one of those applications that could possibly restore my connection automatically (if that turns out to be a problem), I can avoid getting any hardware except for the little USB plug made by DataJack. Simplicity and affordability are the keys here, and form factor is important - small size and a limited number of pieces is very important with this particular location.

Offline SlowModem

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2012, 03:22:11 PM »
Is this the same type of thing? I can't really tell, but it looks possible: http://www.datajack.com/datajackfsr
The problem is, the sticker price is higher and I'd be forced to get a more expensive monthly plan. I doubt I'd go for that, unless it was nearly foolproof.

I really can't answer that question, as I am unfamiliar.  Your best bet would be to contact them and tell them what you're trying to do.  I'm sure they'd have suggestions, if they have the equipment.
Greg Whitehead
Ten Mile, TN USA


Offline NorthNJwx

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2012, 09:12:09 PM »
Is this the same type of thing? I can't really tell, but it looks possible: http://www.datajack.com/datajackfsr
The problem is, the sticker price is higher and I'd be forced to get a more expensive monthly plan. I doubt I'd go for that, unless it was nearly foolproof.

I really can't answer that question, as I am unfamiliar.  Your best bet would be to contact them and tell them what you're trying to do.  I'm sure they'd have suggestions, if they have the equipment.


Good point, and I'll be sending them an email tonight (based on what I've read, they respond to emails diligently). I'm going to inquire about the USB device, since that would be ideal in terms of cost, size, and simplicity. If I can figure out a way to make sure the connection can reestablish itself after interruptions - either via its own software or some third party program - this could be an absolutely great deal.

Offline NorthNJwx

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2012, 10:19:13 PM »
Also, I found some info on RapidFire upload bandwidth in this thread: http://www.wxforum.net/index.php?topic=6985.0

It's stated there by a forum member that the bandwidth usage w/RapidFire is roughly 0.9 KB every 3 seconds. I calculated that for monthly usage, and came up with 784.69 MB/month - well above the 200 MB limit of the $10/month plan. I definitely don't think RapidFire is necessary, though, and would probably have decided against it anyway (For archiving purposes, I much prefer the 10-min vector average wind direction/10-min average wind speed/10-min peak gust Cumulus uploads to WU in non-RapidFire mode to the much less useful instantaneous wind data that gets archived every 5 minutes using RapidFire).

Offline NorthNJwx

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2012, 02:17:29 PM »
I got a response to the email I sent a couple days ago regarding whether or not the USB device would reestablish connections. Tech support didn't address the USB device, but did point me at one of the other devices they offer (a mobile hotspot). Here's the response I got:

Quote
The MiFi 2200 device will automatically re-establish connectivity if it were to go down, I would also recommend getting the 5gig plan to start and understand what type of usage you will be incurring.

I didn't say anything about how much data I'll need in my email, so I'm going to go ahead and ignore the 5GB data plan suggestion (hey, they gotta make money). I'm sticking with the cheap 200 MB that I'll only use a tiny percentage of, thanks!  ;)

This is the device that Tech Support pointed me to. It's a bit more expensive (the hardware, that is) than the USB option, but the monthly rate is the same. Since it can reestablish its own connection, it sounds perfect: http://www.datajack.com/datajackmifi

I plan on purchasing this soon, and setting it up at the remote location in early Feb. I was just there to check on it yesterday, and the computer/Cumulus were running flawlessly after about a month since I'd been there last.

Offline NorthNJwx

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2012, 04:44:01 PM »
I received the DataJack MiFi 2200 this week, and went to the remote site to set it up today. All is working great so far!

Here is my station's WU page: http://www.wunderground.com/weatherstation/WXDailyHistory.asp?ID=KNJLONGB3

Offline SlowModem

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2012, 05:02:40 PM »
OK!  Looks good   =D>

I hope it works like you want it to!  :)
Greg Whitehead
Ten Mile, TN USA


Offline NorthNJwx

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2012, 11:13:45 AM »
OK!  Looks good   =D>

I hope it works like you want it to!  :)

Thanks! It did work well for a while - the details below:

So I got the internet connection set up and running on 2/4, uploading to Weather Underground at the ID of KNJLONGB3. Uploads continued flawlessly until stopping during the morning of 2/18.

I managed to get on-site on 2/20, and discovered that the DataJack apparatus was in hibernation mode. DataJack tech support (which is very helpful, by the way) wasn't sure why the unit had started hibernating on its own, and we came to the conclusion that there was probably a power failure involved. I got it working again while I was on-site on 2/20.

Uploads to WU then continued flawlessly again, until 3/3. This time, it appeared a thunderstorm had struck and that the power had probably failed on-site - the last observation uploaded to WU included a 38 mph wind gust and 0.30" of rain in 10 minutes. This was odd, because my station recorded wind gusts up to 47 mph on 2/25 and there were no power issues.

I got back down there again on Friday, 3/9. What I found was strange: the laptop was running and the DataJack was running (and still connected to the internet), so even if there had been a power failure, it hadn't lasted long enough to drain the batteries of my units. Still, I bought and installed a battery backup for future peace of mind.

But when I opened the laptop, I saw a message from Windows displayed that indicated "low virtual memory" on the computer. I don't know much about this, and have seen the message before on the laptop (and thought little of it). But Cumulus was open, and not running - it was frozen in time from 3/3.

I concluded that Cumulus had probably drained my memory, so I closed everything down and started it up again, this time also running VirtualVP and WxSolution alongside Cumulus. I assigned WxSolution to upload to PWSWeather, in case Cumulus had issues again.

Yesterday at 5:10 pm, uploads to both WU and PWS stopped. I'm almost positive this is due to the same "low virtual memory" issue as before. The laptop is quite old - from roughly 2004 or 2005 - and struggles.

The solution? I'm getting a netbook! A newer, stronger system should be able to handle these programs without a problem. The remote setup should be back in action within a couple weeks.

As a side note: I checked my virtual memory usage here at my home weather computer, and found the results to be very telling: Cumulus uses 67.2 MB of virtual memory, while VirtualVP, WeatherLink, and WxSolution use only 16.7 MB combined. So, on an old, weak laptop like the one I have at the beach, it's conceivable that Cumulus could have swamped my available memory and caused the laptop to stop working.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2012, 11:18:37 AM by NorthNJwx »

Offline SlowModem

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #21 on: March 11, 2012, 11:23:10 AM »
Thanks! It did work well for a while - the details below:

I can imagine your frustration.  But, the experience and knowledge you're gaining is priceless.  Plus if you get it going 24/7, you'll have that sense of accomplishment, too.  :D
Greg Whitehead
Ten Mile, TN USA


Offline neondesert

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2012, 11:36:17 AM »
I concluded that Cumulus had probably drained my memory, so I closed everything down and started it up again, this time also running VirtualVP and WxSolution alongside Cumulus. I assigned WxSolution to upload to PWSWeather, in case Cumulus had issues again.

Yesterday at 5:10 pm, uploads to both WU and PWS stopped. I'm almost positive this is due to the same "low virtual memory" issue as before. The laptop is quite old - from roughly 2004 or 2005 - and struggles.

The solution? I'm getting a netbook! A newer, stronger system should be able to handle these programs without a problem. The remote setup should be back in action within a couple weeks.

As a side note: I checked my virtual memory usage here at my home weather computer, and found the results to be very telling: Cumulus uses 67.2 MB of virtual memory, while VirtualVP, WeatherLink, and WxSolution use only 16.7 MB combined. So, on an old, weak laptop like the one I have at the beach, it's conceivable that Cumulus could have swamped my available memory and caused the laptop to stop working.

True, especially if your laptop doesn't have much physical memory. 

Another option would be a program like StartWatch http://www.softwx.com/windows/startwatch.html
This way you can set a program to restart automatically if it either crashes or hangs.
Larry
"But it's a DRY Heat!"


Offline NorthNJwx

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2012, 04:03:22 PM »
I can imagine your frustration.  But, the experience and knowledge you're gaining is priceless.  Plus if you get it going 24/7, you'll have that sense of accomplishment, too.  :D


Absolutely! While it's been frustrating for sure, I'm glad that I am working closer and closer to a solution. The netbook setup should be ideal. I plan on installing LogMeIn on it, too, so that I'll be able to access the computer remotely (keeping a close eye on bandwidth usage, of course).


True, especially if your laptop doesn't have much physical memory.  

Another option would be a program like StartWatch http://www.softwx.com/windows/startwatch.html
This way you can set a program to restart automatically if it either crashes or hangs.

I should check, but I'm guessing it only has ~128 MB of physical memory, maybe only 64 MB. Upgrading to a netbook with a gig will be a tremendous improvement.

StartWatch seems like a great program, as are the other SoftWx products. But I just think the old laptop is too decrepit to even try another fix on, at this point. I'll definitely look into using StartWatch if I have any problems on the netbook, though.


On the topic of netbooks: I've narrowed it down to the Acer Aspire One and the Asus Eee Pc. Does anyone recommend one or the other? Both seem to be used successfully by forum members, based on the searches I've done.

Offline SlowModem

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #24 on: March 11, 2012, 05:30:32 PM »
On the topic of netbooks: I've narrowed it down to the Acer Aspire One and the Asus Eee Pc. Does anyone recommend one or the other? Both seem to be used successfully by forum members, based on the searches I've done.

One thing you might want to consider is what I did for my parents last year for Christmas.  I really hate Windows 7 so I looked at getting them one that had come off of lease and was refurbished.  You can get a lot of computer that way for cheap.  Here's the thread with the links:

http://www.wxforum.net/index.php?topic=13861.0
Greg Whitehead
Ten Mile, TN USA


 

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