Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Staying Connected

Living on the road is adventurous and exciting but it also brings with it some challenges.

One challenge, in particular, is how to stay connected to the online world.  There aren't too many RV parks that have WiFi or Internet hookups.

I wanted to continue blogging, to keep up with friends and family on Facebook and email.

So, before I left to come out west I started searching online for solutions.

The few things I found were air cards and a broadband system.

Air cards confused me.  You pay by the month but you choose which package you wanted depending on data usage.

Data usage?  How the heck would I know how much data I would be using in a months time?  I assumed blogging and the photos I use in my posts would add up to be a lot of data.  And what if I went over my allotted data?  Would I get charged an arm and a leg?

I also did not want a service where I had to sign a two year contract.  A lot can change in two years.

No.  This wasn't the solution for me.  Next...

I found Broadband Blue that offered rural and unlimited wireless internet service.  From what I understand, it works off of cell phone towers.  Since CountryBoy had good cell service where he was I thought it might work.

I called them up to verify coverage in the area and when they said yes, I said "I'll take it"!

What I didn't understand was that it is just a modem and that I would need a router if I wanted to connect all our wireless stuff to the internet.

Great.  My router was 2,200 miles away!

The good news... my Dad and brother hadn't left yet to bring us our cargo trailer.  Whew!

So, I called my brother and told him where the router was and he brought it with them.

Meanwhile, CountryBoy and I were sharing the ethernet cable that came with the modem (which is a terrible cable because it had no clips on it and didn't snap in to the port.  So the least little shift and it would pull out losing connection).  I would use it during the day plugged in to my computer and he would use it at night plugged in to his Xbox with the modem sitting on the back of the couch being slid over depending on who was using it at the time and the antenna in the window.

This went on for over a week and was a pain in the neck and the signal strength was OK but not really strong (which, I guess, is necessary for online gaming).

Once the trailer and router got here, my brother hooked us all up and all was well.  For a day or two.  Then, we lost connection for some reason.  I checked my computer and could not find any sign of the router on there.

So, after purchasing a new, faster ethernet cable, I re-installed the router software and all is well again.

It's times like this when I realize that I have a love/hate relationship with technology.  I love it when it all works as it should.  I hate it when it messes up and I have no idea how to go about fixing it.  It's almost like you have to have a degree in computer science just to keep the household network going.

My brother says I need a Mac.  I agree.  One day!

Here's the setup we have...

The crazy tall antenna that hooks to the modem is now resting on a shelf above the window that my sewing table overlooks...

and the tucked away location (the corner of my sewing table) of it all...

Now, I can sit at the dining table, cable-free, while CountryBoy sits in the recliner playing his Xbox, also cable-free.  And, with the addition of the router we have a much stronger signal strength.  Nice!

I know this post will not interest very many of my readers, and for that I apologize, but I thought I'd share it with you just in case you or someone you know would like to be onilne but lives in a rural area and can't get DSL.  Maybe something like this would work.

Till next time,


Ronda Walker said...

I understand completely. When we moved from the city to the mountains our technology options dropped to one and is more expensive. No cable options available, satellite only, Verizon is the only cell company that doesn't drop calls up here. Our wireless isn't very reliable but the provider company won't let us use modems or routers from other companies. Frustrating. Okay I'll quit venting, but I do feel your pain. Glad you got it resolved.

Anonymous said...

I am definitely interested. As you know we live in the rural mountains and there is only ONE phone company/internet company that owns this tarrif or whatever you call it (so we have no choice to try for better phone service, etc.) I have thought about unhooking home phone and just using cell phone for our primary phone, except then we'd lose our internet - so now I know that it may be possible. :) Yay! Thanks!


Gail Dixon said...

You are faced with all sorts of challenges lately, but you are figuring it all out. I used to complain to my boss about our computer system and his reply was "We can always go back to the Selectric and triplicate forms!" Puts it in perspective. :)

Tanya said...

I was wondering if you are still enjoying broadband blue? I have been thinking about getting it but have found very little info on the Internet about people's experience with the service. Do you think it could handle streaming Netflix to a smart tv? Do you know if your working on a 3G or 4g connection? Sorry for all the questions but I am very curious about this!

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