ISP via WiFi? Huh?

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Old 11-06-05, 09:09 AM
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ISP via WiFi? Huh?

My neice bought a laptop that has wireless internet service where ever there are nearby (city blocks or miles?) " HotSpots". I see coffee shops are frequently locations of HotSpots, as per a web search.

Im confused. What is a HotSpot? How far from a hotspot can you be to use a laptop? (a mile? 100 ft?)

I plan on buying a pc with a built in $39 wireless networking card (for hotspots, or for residential wireless lans/routers ??). Do I need to find a WiFi provider? Or am I way off track about this wireless laptop access and maybe need to learn about something else that is providing cordless access to the net?

How much is this wireless service?
 
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Old 11-06-05, 11:02 AM
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well hots spots can be from any size it depends on how strong the signal is being sent out from place . but lots of places are getting smart now and once you hook into the link you need to go to home page and put a code in they give you our you get booted out .so i wouldnt rush
 
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Old 11-06-05, 02:45 PM
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You need to find an ISP and have service to your house. Then connect directly to the laptop via Ethernet. If you want to use wireless in your house then buy yourself a wireless router. And then make sure that you enable every bit of security that you can.

Do not rely on finding hot spots except while you are traveling. And make sure that you use a very good firewall.
 
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Old 11-06-05, 08:13 PM
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ok...hotspots...good info here:
http://www.wififreespot.com/faqs.html

basically,lets just say it's someplace that has an internet connection, and is allowing access to it via wireless connection. hotels,airports,cafe's are popular places for it.

the range to use depends on alot of factors, but say in general 1000 ft or less.


all you need at home is an internet connection(broadband is best) and a wireless router and wireless network card in your computer.
you could keep a hardwired connection at home, and use the wireless capabilities when out and about.
 
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Old 11-07-05, 02:05 PM
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Thanks all for the replys, and for the wifi link.

To clarify, my house is wired for ethernet already. But I want to buy a laptop and use it outside the home at various work jobsites. From what I see, my neice has hit and miss trouble with Hotspots. The posted url did help explain one of her email sending problem. Thanks.

To further complicate this, no one has mentioned what role, if any, the provider plays in hotspot access. I see T-mobile has several hundred hotspots for example. Does that mean only t-mobile laptops (huh?) can use it?

As best I can figure, no one actually pays a monthly bill for Hotspot service, since I don't see any Hotspot Plan Offerings anywhere.

Is there a more reliable way to get internet on a wireless laptop, such as maybe a satelite provider?

While Im on the topic.,,,, I saw a new cool device, not yet on the market in the US, called the Nokia 770, a small hand held web browser. I suspect that the web access is provided via nokia'a cell phone band somehow, for a monthly fee.
 
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Old 11-07-05, 02:49 PM
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All new cell phones these days come with web browsers. You pay for the service, either by the minute or as part of a plan. However, the browser on a cell phone is a very small window.

The cell phone providers even sell adapters that you can use to plug your computer (or connect it wirelessly) to the cell phone. The connectivity may not even require any external adapters if they are built in to the computer and cell phone already. Of course, using the service costs money.

Yes, there are ISPs that have satellite connections.

Hotspots around towns and cities are usually provided by businesses. Most of the time the service is provided to pull you in as a customer. Some hotels offer it. Some coffee shops offer it. Some bookstores offer it. And on and on. Sometimes it's free, while you are a customer. Sometimes they offer the service per minute and may give you so many minutes for a purchase, etc. Places like public libraries and such may even offer the service for free.

When you connect at a hot spot, you are using whatever ISP the business has a connection with, and you are using the router that the business has provided. You are also on the network with everyone else using the same connection, which is why security is so important.

You need to decide what your needs are. Is it a MUST that you be able to get connectivity wherever you are, or can you live with not necessarily being able to connect? Are you wiling to pay by the minute or do you simply want to pay by the month and not worry about it? Do you mind sitting in a possibly crowded room with others, or do you need privacy where you can off into the park by yourself and find a remote bench? Only you can answer those questions.
 
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Old 11-11-05, 11:36 AM
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It depends on the hotspot provider.

Hotspots are usually normal WAPs with some sort of control proxy, to allow only authorised users, with some mechanism for public access.
They are either free for patrons of a business, pay per use, or billed to an established account.
Most of them can use normal wireless cards/adapters.

If you are doing larger travels, you might consider a wireless cell card, which works off of the cellular network. You need to get a card that works with a particular provider.
 
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Old 11-11-05, 04:23 PM
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Thanks all for the replys. Every little bit helps.
 
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