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swissbarry

Can Anyone Get Down To My Level?

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Can anyone manage to explain to me, in ridiculously simple terms such as you might use with a nincompoop, what I should do and buy in order that we can be sure of having wifi for our laptop in the caravan no matter where we are? We probably spend 5 months a year in the van, traveling in France, Spain, Portugal and Italy.

 

An added bonus would be if we could have this facility with our iPads, since they're easier to store in the van than laptops. And true delight would be if we could also watch UK TV and get radio 4.

 

Or am I hoping for too much. ?

 

Don't know if this is relevant, but we live in France, but would be happy to buy a UK product if necessary.

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Hi, i have been using a MiFi unit for a few years now.

 

Its basically a mobile wifi hotspot which is connected to the 3G mobile phone network. The unit is portable and can operate on battery power for upto ten hours allegedly.

 

You can have them on Pay as you go or a 30 day rolling month contract with upto 15GB of download.

 

Not sure how you would go about using it in France though as my knowledge of French mobile phone networks is poor.

 

Anyway, the MiFi unit allows you to connect upto 10 device and share the same connection. Obviously the more devices connected the slower the data and connection speed will be.

 

This is the one i have

 

http://store. three. co. uk/view/product/ql_catalog/threecatdevice/2635;jsessionid=1EB62988723A6AFC208BE020962ED47F

 

An external aerial connection is available to improve reception and it also has a micro SD card slot to store data on.

Edited by Mark the spark

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As your ipad got 3g if so you can get a monthly rolling contract from all the major mobile companies.

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Mark the Spark. ......my '3' mifi has been around the world and as far as Europe is concerned it picked up a connection in Gibraltar and in the Naval Dockyard in Toulon. ......and that was it.

 

 

As your ipad got 3g if so you can get a monthly rolling contract from all the major mobile companies.

 

This sounds a much better idea.

 

geoff

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The key thing you asked is "be sure to having our wifi no matter where we are" the more guarantee you need the more expensive it can become, because as soon as price is mentioned, suddenly the requirements become more flexible. If you want guaranteed Internet anywhere in Europe no matter where you are, you can get a satellite Internet dish, guaranteed connection, £3500 fitted and 25 to 80 pounds a month connection, you will also get TV and radio direct from the TV satellite (free) but not in the whole of Europe.

If that is a bit rich, a wifi booster will search out local wifi hot spots and you will be able to log onto one of them if they are not password protected, you are limited by what you can pick up, so not 100% coverage. Then there is the 3G service, can be expensive, and you are limited by the network, which again can be patchy.

So, you need to judge your requirements with what you are prepared to pay, this is, or can be quite an involved subject, but I hope I have been simple enough.

http://www. motorhomewifi. com/ can provide all these different solutions, and they are very knowledgable on the whole subject.

Edited by Marks

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Hi

 

Another vote for THREE UK that will give you a connection and in certain countries, such as Italy, Austria etc it is the same tariff as the UK, so for example, in the UK, if your tariff gives you 500 minutes talk, you can use these in Italy without further charge when on the THREE Italia network.

 

In other countries you may use an unlocked SIM card.

 

I have found an Italian SIM that for 10 euro per week, gives you 125 in bound minutes, 125 outward minutes, 250 texts and 500MB data. The downside is these can only be bought in Italy. I have one already and this is their new tariff. I'm going to investigate bringing a few back in April. It's the lowest cost data and roaming I have even known.

 

Russell

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I'm currently on a site in Costa Blanca (Camping Marjal) which offers 'free' wifi included in the pitch price however the signal varies from very weak to quite good and obviously the speed depends upon the time of day. Am I right in thinking that a signal booster as mentioned by a number of members will improve not only the coverage but the strength/speed of the wifi and does a signal booster need to be plugged into the device or can it work wirelessly?

 

(I know this info is already covered somewhere in the forum, searching with the slow signal . ....)

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I am on Marjal Guardamar, and have been using the iBoost from motorhome wifi. com sice last winter. It works wirelessly so you can connect any number of devices to your own van network, and makes even this signal fast and strong at most times of day. That in itself is quite something, as the signal on this site is rubbish most of the time! The unit is pricey, but it just works, and has saved me the expense of throwing my ipad out of the window in frustration!

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The MiFi is the best way for you I think as you can get a broadband card PAYG in the country you are in and put it in the MiFi and it should give you internet connection. I use a 3 card as well in my MiFi (Huawei ) make. This works really well in UK and as it is unlocked I can use any sim card in it. I have also bought a ' ASUS fonepad' which is a 7" tab with 3g connection and is also unlocked so I can use any sim in that too. I can also use this tab to give a wifi or bluetooth connection to my laptop or phone etc thereby allowing the laptop to receive internet etc. With the 7" tab I downloaded a free app which allows me to watch TV via the internet live and this works well too.

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I have a Chromebook with built-in 3G, insert the sim card and you are on-line.

 

Many smartphones can be turned into a Wi-fi hotspot, just enable it in settings.

 

I also have one of these 3G Mobile Wireless Router Broadband Power WiFi Hotspot from eBay

 

Charge it up via USB. It has 3 functions -

1) Plug in a USB Modem (dongle) and it turns it into a Wi-fi access point, powered from its internal battery. You can then connect your iPad, Tablet, Laptop etc, and share the data.

2) Plug in a wired ethernet connection, such as you might find in a hotel room, and it turns it into Wi-fi, so you can use it with your iPad, tablet, or other device that doesn't have an ethernet socket.

3) Plug in your phone and it will power the phone and charge the battery. Great if you run out of battery. It claims it can do a full iPhone charge.

 

I don't pay for the data either. I use a Samba Sim. The SIM costs £2. 50 then you gain credit by watching adverts on-line. Either on your device, so you can top it up when mobile, or at home on broadband. I just open a new tab in my browser, click on an advert and let it play in the background, with the sound turned off, while I surf something else in another tab. Data gained from ads never expires (I currently have over 3GB "banked") or you can buy 1GB of data for £9 but these expire in 30 days.

 

You need a USB dongle from Three for the Samba SIM, or an unlocked one.

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You have asked multiple questions, I'll approach them one-by-one.

 

Technology. Whilst there are options for wifi boosters, range extenders etc I think the best tech to meet your requirements would a mifi device. These essentially 'convert' the global mobile network to a local wifi network you can connect multiple devices to, just like your home wireless router. A reasonable 3G+ example for £42 would be here. If you want to future-proof, a 4G example for £113 would be here.

 

Mobile network. Whilst not the simplest, your cheapest options for these countries would be to buy a SIM only mobile broadband / mifi package in the country you're in by visiting a local mobile phone shop. If you plan to tour the UK too, you might consider a Three SIM because you can also use this without any additional costs in Italy (but not the other countries you mentioned). As you will be using multiple networks it is imperative you buy an 'unlocked' mifi device.

 

UK TV. You will undoubtedly know what TV you can in these countries over the terrestrial airwaves, I've nothing to contribute on that. You can stream all the UK channels via their website, comprehensive details here, although some will prevent you viewing them if their systems detect you are outside the UK, a classic example is BBC iPlayer. You can workaround this irritance by using a free VPN (virtual private network) service. A useful round-up of the most common UK services is here.

 

Bandwidth & data. Streaming video requires a fast data connection in order to avoid irritating 'buffering' delays and uses a lot of data. I would recommend at least 2. 5Mb/s, which means that you must be in an area where the mobile network you're on supports the latest 3G technology (e. g. HSPA or HSPA+), anything prior to this (e. g. GPRS, EDGE, UMTS) is just not going to be nearly fast enough. Even site wifi can sometime not be fast enough. If streaming video is important to you, consider buying the 4G mifi device. To stream one hour standard quality video from iPlayer at say 500kb/s would consume 225MB of your data allowance - or put another way, if you had a monthly allowance of 1GB you could only watch four and half hours of standard quality video. A high definition two hour movie would consume around 2GB from your data allowance. Compared to streaming video, streaming audio is almost irrelevant so I'll not bother with the calculations.

 

I've done my best to answer your questions as simply as I know how but I'm more than happy to explain any point I haven't quite made clearly enough.

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Thank you all. The fog is starting to lift from me, and in view of your various suggestions I'm going to try to get hold of a wifi booster and then see what options I have here in France for a sim package, and look on the internet for similar information for Spain, Portugal and Italy. Hope this makes sense.

 

Thanks again.

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Someone on a pitch nearby recommended this company -

 

http://www. motorhomewifi. com

 

He thoroughly recommended their equipment and service especially the iboost Pro 8 system which seems to be particularly useful on sites when only one device is allowed to be connected (such as CC) as this kit effectively makes its own hotspot allowing anything to connect

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You have to have a signal to be received for any of these solutions to work even a ginormous amplified directional aerial on a high pole won't work if you are in a poor area and there's no signal.

The most reliable will probably be a satellite set-up but again only if you can see the sky where the satellite is located - trees, buildings or mountains in the sight-line will stop that working as well. .

Amplified or directional aerials,or signal boosters might help but there isn't anything out there that will guarantee you a signal or satisfactory service however much you pay. Even land-line systems don't work in all areas.

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I just tether my tablets to my phone which works well though clearly a signal is needed but that's also true for the mifi so I fail to see the advantage of purchasing further equipment but I am happy to be educated on this. I believe some phone suppliers restrict tethering, Virgin do not, below are their rates, could possibly get cheaper elsewhere but for me I get all I need in one place. Suits me. I will be purchasing a pass later in the year.

 

===============================

Accessing mobile web, mobile broadband & BlackBerry outside the European Union:

£5 per MB

 

From within the European Union, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Switzerland:

10MB Travel Pass = £3

 

25MB Travel Pass = £5

 

100MB Travel Pass £10

 

250MB Travel Pass £20

 

Text 'BUY 10MB' to 23456

 

Text 'BUY 25MB' to 23456

 

Text 'BUY 100MB' to 23456

 

Text 'BUY 250MB' to 23456

 

EU Data Travel Passes last for 3 months

 

EU law requires us to limit your data usage to a value of 50 and not allow you to transmit or receive more data when that limit is reached unless you proactively elect to do so. If you purchase EU data passes, your data usage will not be limited to 50 but will be limited to the value of data purchased.

 

For more information on using mobile web abroad, click here.

 

Got an iPhone or iPad? Click here for information about surfing the web abroad.

===============================

 

Hope this helps, looks dear on the face of it but the allowance lasts for 3 months so no waste. Also no sim card changing or messing between countries.

 

The data allowance would not suit the streaming of video I imagine, that's not something that would bother me.

 

 

John

Edited by JCloughie

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