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Aircards
Old 09-09-2008, 01:36 PM   #1
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Aircards

My son showed me his company provided aircard while we drove down to Florida last month. While in the van, he was using his Mac laptop, and was emailing and chatting with friends (I was driving) until his battery ran down, which was a while. His service was Verizon, but AT&T also has them, and I think they have a dedicated phone number. Does anyone else have any experience with these aircards? They are different from the area wifis in comparison. Any recommendations?
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Old 09-09-2008, 01:47 PM   #2
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I have a similar question. My brother uses a Verizon cell only and will be moving into a condo that includes Comcast cable TV. He basically just surfs the web, receives an e-fax from time to time. Would an "aircard" make sense for him?
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Old 09-09-2008, 01:47 PM   #3
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I have a Verizon aircard. The service is fast and good where there is Verizon broadband. Other areas it can be quite pokey. Good for when you are on the road. It is pricey at $60 a month, unlimited use.
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Old 09-09-2008, 02:11 PM   #4
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Comcast is charging $43/mo for dsl but the City may add franchise fees which they couldn't add to the aircard. Hum... I wonder if the limited Verizon aircard program would be comparable. Does anyone on the Board have that service?
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Old 09-09-2008, 02:55 PM   #5
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I use a Verizon card for access at my weekend house and on the road. Like Martha says, in Broadband areas they are great if pricey. The Broadband coverage is expanding rapidly.
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Old 09-09-2008, 03:15 PM   #6
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I live in a rural area where the only available broadband is via satellite or aircard. I've tried aircards from AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. Each works well in their primary coverage area but those areas vary significantly by carrier. 95% of my web time is spent at home so I went with Sprint as it had better coverage/speed at the house.

Since then (Nov of last year) Verizon added better coverage in my area and it would be a toss-up as to which I would go with if I had to make the same decision today. Although you would think differently, AT&T's coverage doesn't appear to be as fast or as widespread as the other two.

For me an aircard is definitely the way to go. The ability to plug it into a wireless router to create a home LAN plus being able to take it with me on RV road trips is very nice.
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Old 09-09-2008, 03:49 PM   #7
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I have an ATT aircard. It has a dedicated number and no contract. Costs about $60 per mo after taxes and fees. It works really well were there is 3g service and is awful without. Check the coverage areas in your part of the country - this was the deciding factor for me between the various providers.
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Old 09-09-2008, 05:31 PM   #8
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I also have an ATT aircard, and travel extensively with it on business. It works fairly well across most of the country, but if you can't get a 3G connection it is almost slower than dial up. Connectivity in rural areas can be a real problem. And I do notice that it burns through my battery life a lot quicker than if I am just doing spreadsheets, etc.
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Old 09-09-2008, 05:31 PM   #9
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I've had a Sprint aircard for about 17 months. It's $60/month. It works well wherever there's cell tower coverage. I've often used it in the car to check and send e-mails while someone else is driving. I bought an adapter that lets me plug my laptop into the 12V cigarette lighter, so I don't have to worry about running out of 'juice'. It's also handy to have, in case I need to check something quickly on my laptop -- like a specific address, to find a local AAA office when I'm traveling, to check local theaters for their movie times "on the fly' if we decide to catch a movie on the spur of the moment, find a restaurant or museum, etc. Heck, I even used it a month ago while sitting at my campsite enjoying the view of Lake Michigan (in northern Michigan). I've also used it in airports while waiting for a flight. It's also great to help avoid the $15/day fee that many hotels charge for internet access. I feel like it gives me a lot more control over my privacy and I never have to look for WiFi spots which often seem to be located in high-priced coffee shops, etc. I love the 'constant connectivity' -- especially, because I'm FIRE'd, none of it is work-related . omni
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Old 09-09-2008, 06:10 PM   #10
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I had been thinking about getting an aircard for my laptop. But I thought that the monthly contract was a bit steep. I instead got an iphone, just $30 a month for unlimited data transfer. Just fine to check emails and surf the web while on the go.
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Old 09-09-2008, 06:35 PM   #11
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I had been thinking about getting an aircard for my laptop. But I thought that the monthly contract was a bit steep. I instead got an iphone, just $30 a month for unlimited data transfer. Just fine to check emails and surf the web while on the go.
Yep, this is the way to go, and if you must use a laptop, you can always spend another $30/month to get the tethering plan for your 3G phone which works out to be the same price as a dedicated air card at $60/month, but now you have the option of carrying only your smartphone if you don't feel like carrying the laptop.

There also are tricks to get shared networking going so that you can share your phone's 3G access with your laptop without paying the additional $30, but you are violating your contract if you do so.

If any of your relatives work for a large company, don't forget to ask them to use their company discount which can be 20% to 27%.
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Old 09-09-2008, 09:41 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by BunsGettingFirm View Post
Yep, this is the way to go, and if you must use a laptop, you can always spend another $30/month to get the tethering plan for your 3G phone which works out to be the same price as a dedicated air card at $60/month, but now you have the option of carrying only your smartphone if you don't feel like carrying the laptop.

There also are tricks to get shared networking going so that you can share your phone's 3G access with your laptop without paying the additional $30, but you are violating your contract if you do so.

If any of your relatives work for a large company, don't forget to ask them to use their company discount which can be 20% to 27%.
I have also been looking at the iphone as a replacement for my Razor, and the expandibility to a tethering plan with an aircard to my laptop is very attractive. If I should get it, too, the networking will be a plus. Right now though, the iphone is being offered only by AT&T, so wouldn't the broadband coverage for the iphone be the same as an aircard from AT&T (I mean 3G not as good in certain areas)?

BTW, thanks for the replies, it has been quite informative.
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Old 09-10-2008, 08:38 AM   #13
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We returned, last week, from a trip that took us from Denver to Annapolis MD, then to Chicago and Wisconsin, and then back to Denver. I was able to access Broadband Internet all along that route. We are leaving, later this week, for a ten day trip from Denver to West Yellowstone, Montana to Gillette, Wyoming and Back to Denver. I suspect we will have many lapses in coverage since normal Cell Phone coverage is, at best, terrible in most of that area. Next month will be travel from Denver to Wichita, Kansas into Oklahoma and then back home -- I don't expect any problems on that route.

Refer to my response to this same issue last week for a full description of my setup. Basically, I use the Cradlepoint Router because that allows both of us to utilize the Verizon Aircard at the same time but this is not required if you have a single laptop.

In any event, the $60 a month is an expense that I would prefer to live without but what's a person to do?
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Old 09-10-2008, 03:41 PM   #14
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I have a Sprint Aircard too (actually it sticks in the usb port) ..It is excellent.. I am on a commuter rail car coming home from work right now... It is slow in some areas and does not work where there is no cel service but it is definitely worth the $60/month
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Old 09-11-2008, 01:59 AM   #15
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I bought a Sprint aircard for my laptop at my Az condo in Feb. Sprint had 2 plans at the time - unlimited at $69 per month and limited at $39 per month. I bought the limited plan. The only problem was that my monthly limit was used up in about 4 hours of use the first day. I didnt want to pay the $69 per month, so I canceled and bought a wireless cable system for the condo instead. But I would get an aircard with unlimited plan if I traveled extensively to areas where public online access was difficult
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Old 09-11-2008, 03:14 AM   #16
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I am reading that these aircards utilize cellphone technology to make a connection which is probably great in most parts of the country but i was curious about the few references to a satellite signal that i assume would be much more reliable in those out of the way places,is it better than the cellphone type of signal and what would be the monthly cost?..
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Old 09-11-2008, 06:34 AM   #17
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Jambo, here is a link to a satellite internet provider to give you an idea of price: WildBlue - Official Website - High Speed Internet via Satellite

You pay more for higher speeds and the reliability is similar to sat TV. There are some issues with latency (delay due to the distance from the sat). And unlike an aircard, it isn't very portable.
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Old 09-11-2008, 06:40 AM   #18
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but i was curious about the few references to a satellite signal that i assume would be much more reliable in those out of the way places,is it better than the cellphone type of signal and what would be the monthly cost?..
Better? Perhaps. Off the top of my head, however, I can think of a few disadvantages.

One is the bulkiness of such a system. The Cradlepoint Router I use is "pocketsize" -- 3" x 5" x " -- and, thus, very portable. The satellite antennae is very heavy, relatively large, and not all that portable; you can't take it into your hotel room, for example.

Two, the antennae has to be aligned with the Satellite very exactly. This almost eliminates the possibility of accessing the Internet while drivng down the road. There are, however, automated devices available that keep the antennae aligned but that certainly adds to the problem pointed out above... not to mention the cost.

Three, I believe it is much more expensive. At least, it is up front.

Another suggested place to start your research is at Internet Anywhere.
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Old 09-11-2008, 09:11 AM   #19
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I plunked down $29.00 ($79 - $50 for rebate) for a Verizon aircard yesterday, $60/month for unlimited service. The aircard fits into a usb port, and you can use it on any number of laptops or desktops anywhere, as long as you load up the 'puter with the aircard software which comes in a disk. I have cellphones under AT&T, but looked at the coverage maps in the U.S. and compared them, and it looks like Verizon has better saturation, at least in the areas I usually travel to. It does have an assigned (dedicated) tel # to it. I chose the usb port aircard, because it is small, and usable in any puter with a usb port, and cheaper. I hope I don't lose it, because of it's size.

I travel between two homes in the area I live, and both of them have dsl wireless subscriptions over the phone lines in each place, which I will now be giving up. I also go down to our place in Florida, where I have no dsl service. One aircard solves all my internet problems of connectivity with three computers. Heck, I don't even need three computers, cuz all I need now is my laptop.
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Old 09-11-2008, 09:40 AM   #20
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I thought the satellite reciever might be the size of the one for my XM satellite radio,guess i'll forget this idea as the hardware for reception is definitely too big.
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