Author Topic: Wireless internet on the TransAm?  (Read 5924 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline ward&sallie

Wireless internet on the TransAm?
« on: January 17, 2010, 10:05:32 pm »
Our life must continue while we take three months to ride the TransAm route.  This necessitates wireless access to the internet.  Is it readily available in towns and campgrounds across the US? Input appreciated.

Offline Tourista829

Re: Wireless internet on the TransAm?
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2010, 12:32:04 am »
This is a very good question. Is this for your phone or computer? What service provider do you have? I would think that a data card would give you the best chance rather than trying to find wifi hot spots. Seriously, if you must stay in touch, with your office or clients, on a daily basis, it could be spotty, in certain parts of the country. I would contact your service provider and have them send you a coverage map. I would be curious as to the replies you receive from cyclists or ACO staff, who have taken the TA and "actually" experienced coverage issues 

Offline BobG

Re: Wireless internet on the TransAm?
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2010, 07:01:15 am »
Ward, Sally- wifi locations are abundant on the TransAm. You may go a day or three without a place to connect but most town libraries have service.  Motels, cafes, and public buildings with wifi are in abundance. Even the "Split Rock Cafe" in Jeffrey City WY had wifi. The town park campgrounds will most likely not have service but larger campgrounds such as the KOAs will. I rode the route with a group last summer. Cell phone service? Verizon and Tracfone seemed the most consistent.


Offline staehpj1

Re: Wireless internet on the TransAm?
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2010, 07:20:09 am »
Even the "Split Rock Cafe" in Jeffrey City WY had wifi.
It should be noted that Jeffrey City is pretty much a ghost town.

Don't expect to have WiFi every day, but you can find it frequently.  McDonalds now has made their WiFi free so towns large enough to have a McDonalds are a good bet.  On my Spring tour in Kansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico I found WiFi in most towns even very small ones.  Sometimes it was someone's home or business network and sometimes a motel, library or restaurant.  I was surprised how many were just someones wireless router that they didn't bother to password protect.

I refuse to carry even a netbook, but my Nokia N800 is only 7 ounces.  That said I will probably take a smart phone of some sort on my tour this year.  It is hard to beat a 6-8 ounce device that is a phone, camera, internet appliance, GPS, and computer.  I am undecided whether to take my work Blackberry or buy something like an iPhone, gPhone. android, or Nokia 910 for my personal phone.  My work Blackberry is on the Nextel network which in the past had really lousy coverage in the rural US.  Anyone know if the coverage is much better these days?  If not I might take my personal (verizon) phone.

Offline dstory

Re: Wireless internet on the TransAm?
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2010, 11:43:52 pm »
In the summer of 2008, we relied heavily on public libraries.   We didn't have to worry about coverage and it was always a nice break.

Offline Tourista829

Re: Wireless internet on the TransAm?
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2010, 12:18:05 am »
I don't know if you must check email daily or if you will take your laptop. If so, I saw this on DownTheRoad.org on how Cindy and Tim kept in touch, while traveling around the world. It is slow, may be a bit antiquated, by todays standards, but it would give you another option. All you need is a pay phone. I have included a small excerpt from their website. I wish I could have provided a picture but you can see it on their website.

"For regular email and posting to our web site we use an Acoustic Coupler.  I believe that the Acoustic Coupler was one of the first kind of modem.  It is a devise where you place the handset of a phone into the coupler and it literally transfer the digital data by sound to and from the internet (see photos on this page).  The advantage is that we can use any hotel or pay phone in the world.  The Acoustic Coupler eliminates the problem of weird phone jacks and multi-line phone.  We simply roll up to any old pay phone and get our email and update our site."




 


Offline scott.laughlin

Re: Wireless internet on the TransAm?
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2010, 03:22:20 am »
In December McDonald's announced they would provide wifi.  No purchase necessary.

Offline dubovsmj

Re: Wireless internet on the TransAm?
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2010, 07:46:17 am »
public libraries best bet/most reliable thing to hang hat on, in my opinion.
esp through a lot of the remote stretches

Offline staehpj1

Re: Wireless internet on the TransAm?
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2010, 10:28:17 am »
public libraries best bet/most reliable thing to hang hat on, in my opinion.
esp through a lot of the remote stretches
If you mean the public computers in libraries, I found them to be a huge hassle in many cases.  The reasons:
  • Short hours and limited days of operation.  Many small town libraries seem to be open three days a week and short hours.  More often than not they were closed when we passed through.
  • Often a wait to use one.
  • Often a rather short time limit on usage.  This combined with slow performance made uploading picture to a journal almost impossible.
  • In one case they wanted us to sign up for a library card first.
  • Tiny towns did not have a library.

If you mean using their WiFi, I haven't had too much experience with that since the only times I tried it was on my Spring 2009 tour.  My success rate was maybe 5% then though.  The reasons:
  • WiFi turned off when the library was closed
  • WiFi password protected and library closed.
  • Library had no WiFI, and there wasn't a computer in sight anywhere even behind the information desk!  Interestingly enough there was an unlocked wireless access point in the auto parts store next door.
  • I found other WiFi before finding the library.
  • Tiny towns did not have a library.

I had much better luck just looking for an unlocked wireless access point.  Most towns had some open access point either at a business or a private residence.

Offline vgbailey

Re: Wireless internet on the TransAm?
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2010, 01:18:59 am »
When I was doing the Western Express in 06, I found that service was available near the interstates such as I-70, but in many places out in the west, I lost service if I was more than 5-10 miles off the main hwy.  I would spring for one of the card deals that allow you access no matter where you're at - especially if you have to stay in touch.  Of course, there are the libraries, but I went thru many small towns in remote areas that had no library.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Wireless internet on the TransAm?
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2010, 08:32:19 am »
When I was doing the Western Express in 06, I found that service was available near the interstates such as I-70, but in many places out in the west, I lost service if I was more than 5-10 miles off the main hwy.
Are you talking about WiFi or cellular?  It sounds like cellular.   FWIW, my experience is that for cellular, Verizon is the hands down winner, but there will still probably be days where you (the OP) have no signal.

BTW:  Leaving our phones on when the signal was weak or non existent killed the battery fast.  It is best to turn them on only when making a call.