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Cellular Internet Connection

Posted on 2014-08-21
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Last Modified: 2014-08-23
I have a job in an area that doesn't have any internet connectivity or Wi-Fi available.  It's a fairly urban area in Southern California, and my cell phone works fine.  I have AT&T for my cell phone service.  Is there any way to get a device for my laptop that will allow me to use my cell service to power an internet connection on my computer?

Thanks,

Phil
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Question by:philsimmons
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tailoreddigital earned 800 total points
ID: 40278206
If you have a smart phone, just use a hot spot.  I have ATT and an iPhone 5.    When i turn on the hot spot function, multiple devices can use the internet.   The phone serves as a modem/router.

So nothing extra needed for the laptop, just get a smart phone with hot spot functionality.  Then call ATT and tell them to add the feature.
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by:philsimmons
ID: 40278227
WOW!  That's simple.  Two bits of clarification, then we can be done:

1.  Is this the fastest way to connect to the internet, or are there external devices that will create a faster connection than my phone (or is all cellular connection limited by the cell provider)?

2.  Someone mentioned a "satellite" connection.  Is that the same as a cellular connection?

Thanks,

Phil
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Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 800 total points
ID: 40278270
If you have unlimited data service on your phone then I would CAREFULLY CONFIRM that you can activate the HotSpot feature from AT&T without losing the unlimited data.  Otherwise, GO SHOPPING.  AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile ALL offer hotspots that can be purchased and used.  Most, if not all, will have a severe limit on data - 5 GB is the max plan AT&T offers for $50 per month.  That means you can EASILY exceed it if you had to download a couple of DVD ISO images from somewhere.  If it's just for e-mail and light web browsing/research, it should be fine, but if you want to download CD and DVD media and watch Netflix, it's not the greatest solution (though it may be the only solution).

I do not know of any easily portable satellite internet connections that would be inexpensive.  You'd probably be better off getting multiple hotspots from a cell phone company.
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LVL 37

Assisted Solution

by:Kimputer
Kimputer earned 400 total points
ID: 40278401
1.  Sometimes an external USB stick (which will host the sim card for your data subscription) is faster (saves phone battery), because maybe your phone doesn't support 4G/LTE (if older). Of course, if there's no 4G/LTE coverage there, it doesn't really matter.

 2. Satellite is different. First you need a sat dish installed at the location, second you need some type of modem, probably connected to a landline (for the return signal!). Costly!
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Author Comment

by:philsimmons
ID: 40279980
I know this is a closed question, but something else came up.  I got the AT&T mobile hotspot set up.  My computer has a wireless connection that is working off of a wireless connection, but it doesn't recognize the mobile hotspot.  My computer (and a laptop in the same room) recognizes the internet connections from a variety of local wireless modems, but neither recognizes the Wi-Fi hotspot.  My cell phone identifies the mobile hot spot, so it's working, but why won't the computers recognize it?  Both of the computers are Windows 7.  Is the wireless reception from the computer different from the wireless reception on our phones?

Thanks,

Phil
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Expert Comment

by:akahan
ID: 40279988
I don't understand what you mean by "my cel phone recognizes the hot spot."  If you did what the previous posters described, then your cel phone IS the hot spot.  Did you turn the hot spot feature ON ?

Can you explain in precise, thorough, exhausting detail what you mean when you say "I got the AT&T mobile hotspot set up?"  What, exactly, did you do?
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Author Comment

by:philsimmons
ID: 40280167
I called AT&T and paid their charge to activate the mobile hotspot feature on my account.  I then went into my cell phone and activated the mobile hot spot feature.  I checked with a DIFFERENT cell phone to see if the other cell phone recognized the first iPhone's new hot spot, and it did.  But, when I tried to connect through my laptop (and a friends' laptop), neither computer could find the hotspot on the list of available wireless connections.  Yet it showed up on the available wi-fis on the other cell phone.  Strange, huh?
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Expert Comment

by:akahan
ID: 40280191
yup.  you might want to try updating the wireless NIC's driver in the laptop.  It sounds like you've done exactly what you were supposed to do, the laptop SHOULD be seeing the wireless access point.
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Author Comment

by:philsimmons
ID: 40280683
Thanks, Akahan.  Wish I had point for you :(.
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