Author Topic: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions  (Read 20649 times)

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Offline NorthNJwx

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #25 on: March 11, 2012, 11:04:34 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

I was thinking I'd probably go for a new one just to be in full control of what I'm getting (since there are models selling new for under $300), but I spoke to my brother tonight and he offered to sell me his Dell netbook - it's only a year or two old - for an excellent price. Since it's his netbook, I know that what I'll be getting has been taken care of very well; he's offering to sell it only because he doesn't have a need for it any longer. I'm just waiting for him to tell me the specs (it feels like I'm an MLB GM just waiting for a newly acquired player to pass a physical!) and then the deal will be done. As long as it has 512 MB of RAM or more, I'll be happy; he thinks it probably has a gig, but needs to double check.

Offline Bushman

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #26 on: March 12, 2012, 01:49:47 AM »
I have the Asus eee PC.  very good. Super easy to upgrade the ram - I have 2 gigs in mine.  Bro has the Acer - very good as well.  I would expect the same for Dell.  Good choice going for the Netbook.

Offline NorthNJwx

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #27 on: March 12, 2012, 04:55:34 PM »
I have the Asus eee PC.  very good. Super easy to upgrade the ram - I have 2 gigs in mine.  Bro has the Acer - very good as well.  I would expect the same for Dell.  Good choice going for the Netbook.

The Asus and Acer netbooks really seem to be top-notch; I'm glad you think the Dell will be strong as well. I have a Dell laptop (3 yrs old) and have been very pleased with it. The old laptop at the beach station is a Dell also, and was solid up until its recent old age issues. I was surprised to learn that Dell dropped out of the netbook market, but I'm guessing that had to do with having a low market share. 

Offline NorthNJwx

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #28 on: April 10, 2012, 09:01:18 PM »
UPDATE:

I installed the netbook on 3/24. It actually is an Acer Aspire One, and runs beautifully.

All was well for the 17 days until 7:20 pm tonight, at which point my uploads to WU and PWSWeather stopped.

I'll try to get down there this weekend to see what's up, unless somehow the problem fixes itself. 17 days is my new record for continuous uptime. Of course, that's not good enough - I need to get months at a time out of this setup, as I do with my home setup.

Since the netbook runs so well, I'm guessing this is an internet problem. DataJack claimed that its MiFi unit wouldn't hibernate on its own (as it did once to me in Feb), and also claimed that the unit could reset its own internet connection, but I'm not sure what else the problem could be  - until I get down there and see.

To be continued!

Offline SlowModem

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #29 on: April 10, 2012, 11:16:17 PM »
Keep us posted! 
Greg Whitehead
Ten Mile, TN USA


Offline NorthNJwx

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #30 on: April 17, 2012, 10:52:59 AM »
Keep us posted! 

I managed to get down there on Friday to fix things up (just been busy and couldn't get back to the thread until today!).

It looked like there was a power failure or issue of some sort, because the netbook was in some kind of extreme-hibernating mode when I got there, and was just starting to charge (was plugged in the whole time) with 22% battery life. Once I got back into Windows from the weird hibernation mode, I found that VirtualVP, WxSolution, and Cumulus were all running - but that they weren't doing anything, and my records had cut off at 7:20 pm last Tuesday (when my uploads to WU and PWS stopped). I restarted the programs, made sure the netbook was charging, and everything was working fine again in no time. The DataJack 3G internet device was on, but didn't seem to be transmitting - so I restarted it.

I'm hoping that whatever happened was an isolated incident. The house was opened for the season last week, and maybe some weird things happened - power could've been turned off for a time, etc. Either way, all has been working well since Friday!

Offline NorthNJwx

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #31 on: October 12, 2012, 10:40:18 AM »
Don't usually like to bump threads this old, but an update on the situation:

The DataJack 3G device has been, in a couple of words, totally unreliable. The unit decides to go into hibernate mode at random intervals - sometimes it will run for a couple of weeks before going kaput, and other times it will only last for a couple of days. In order to get it connected to 3G again and allow uploads to WU/PWS/CWOP, I have to physically reset the device - and often I can't go down to do that for weeks at a time. I've been through it all with DataJack service, and they didn't even respond to my last email because they've exhausted their options. The thing is no good for 24/7 usage.

So I'm looking now for something - anything - that will be reliable. Something that will only go down in the event of an extended power outage. The area is serviced by Comcast, and the house already has a TV package, so maybe I will just buy their internet service with it and get a modem and router. I see no real reason as to why that wouldn't be reliable; my internet connection at home certainly doesn't have any problems and just keeps on ticking until the power goes out (which is quite rare). Do you guys think this is the best option? I'm not sure what the cost will be, but probably $30-$40/month. Not cheap, but worth it (and I will make up a good chunk of that by not having to make as many trips down). Any other options I should consider before going that route?

Offline SlowModem

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #32 on: October 12, 2012, 11:14:30 AM »
I would say go for the cable.  They probably have several packages.  The cheapest with internet would be the way to go ( unless you're going to be there and watching HBO and stuff).

Good luck!  :)
Greg Whitehead
Ten Mile, TN USA


Offline NorthNJwx

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #33 on: October 13, 2012, 10:36:49 PM »
I would say go for the cable.  They probably have several packages.  The cheapest with internet would be the way to go ( unless you're going to be there and watching HBO and stuff).

Good luck!  :)

Thank you, and I think you're right. It should be the most reliable option.

I checked out the Comcast rates, and it looks to be around $50/month for the cheapest option. Might be able to get a better deal for the first 6 months or something, but I'm more concerned with the long-term rate. It's way steep compared to what the DataJack service costs ($10/month), but unless the DataJack unit could consistently stay online for at least a month at a time (and it never has), it's just not worth it. Not guaranteed I will do it yet, but I factor in the amount of money I'd save by not having to take the 250-mile roundtrip every month. Of course, the WiFi will have to be as reliable as what I have at home; anything short and it wouldn't be worth the cost.

Offline SlowModem

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #34 on: October 13, 2012, 11:07:23 PM »
I checked out the Comcast rates, and it looks to be around $50/month for the cheapest option. Might be able to get a better deal for the first 6 months or something, but I'm more concerned with the long-term rate. It's way steep compared to what the DataJack service costs ($10/month), but unless the DataJack unit could consistently stay online for at least a month at a time (and it never has), it's just not worth it.

Verizon wireless and Hughesnet are both around $59/month with much slower service and limited bandwidth.  So you'll do well at $50.
Greg Whitehead
Ten Mile, TN USA


Offline Bushman

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #35 on: October 14, 2012, 01:15:54 AM »
The less wireless stuff you have at your remote site the better.  If you can cable it, do so.

Offline NorthNJwx

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Re: 3G Mobile Broadband Plans: Some Questions
« Reply #36 on: October 19, 2012, 08:09:07 PM »
Have mulled this over some more and will not be going after the Comcast WiFi - just too much of a hurt on my (college student) budget. But I've done additional searching, and like this:

http://store.truconnect.com/devices/truconnect-usb-data-card.html

It looks like it's generally the same USB option offered by many providers, DataJack itself included. Before I got the DataJack MiFi, I was looking to get the DataJack USB - but their response to my email about using it 24/7 guided me instead to the more expensive MiFi unit. Whether they knew what they were talking about in terms of its 24/7 running reliability or not, I probably would've been better off getting the USB option in the first place. At least a USB stick, powered by the USB port, won't have the option to go into "hibernate" mode for no apparent reason, like my MiFi unit has. The USB stick has a dialog window open with a "connect" button that needs to be pressed if the connection is lost, and going off a suggestion made to me in this thread months ago, I could just use Clickoff or something similar to automatically press that button at some interval.

As for why I'd rather switch to TruConnect, rather than stay with DataJack: well, I guess it's clear that I'm fed up with DJ! But there's another advantage to TruConnect, and that's the cost. Service costs a $5 flat fee plus 3.9 cents per MB each month. At my usage (maybe 50-75 MB/month), that comes out to less than the already great $10/month I'm paying DJ for my 200 MB/month plan. $7-$8/month is an incredibly mean deal. Hopefully, this will work!

 

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