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Totally O/T I Know - But Mobile Internet Access? - I Need Advice!

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Initial post: 8 Jan 2014 23:29:02 GMT
Last edited by the author on 8 Jan 2014 23:34:53 GMT
Hiyah everyone...x
I am sorry because this is completely O/T for the Music Forum but I feel sure that I can trust you lovely lot to be able to steer me right on this one. I am going to be staying in a holiday cottage for a fortnight at the end of February - one that unfortunately has no Internet Access.

Now, this would not be the end of the world before now, but being disabled means that I often have to plan days out far more carefully than most people would (wheelchair access is not always available or as useable as you would assume it to be), and being restricted on my ability to just pop out to go shopping, I'd naturally like to be able to use supermarket home delivery as a back-up. To be able to pack my laptop and go online whenever the need arises then is pretty essential these days. Plus I'm sure that you'd really miss me posting my usual daft drivel on here?!!...wouldn't you??? ;o>

What I know about the Internet could be written on the back of a postage stamp - and so I am getting very confused and a little stressed as to what to buy to get myself Mobile Internet Access? A friend told me that I should get the cheapest Android phone possible and then use that with a Pay As You Go sim card to provide my laptop with access. But they aren't all that cheap, are they? - and some reviews suggest that they can be erratic in that they freeze up or lose connection?

I came across this Three Mobile Huawei E3231 Dongle Ready To Go 3GB Preloaded Data and while looking at them, I then found this TP-Link M5350 High Speed 3G Wi-Fi Unlocked Modem (HSPA+, 21.6Mbps, 2000mAh Internal Battery and LED Display)? - and the reviews really make it sound the business? But I would need to find a great deal on a sim card for the TP, wouldn't I? And I think that it has to be at least a 3GB one too for more moderate than light use over the full fortnight - and the one my friend suggested says it is for handset use only and not for 'tethering' to a laptop. Also I thought you could only get one kind of sim card? - but I have just discovered that it seems I need a 'Data' and not a 'Voice' one?...

Can someone please advise me on what sounds to be the best one to go for? Or recommend other and better ways? - I really don't want to waste any money on finding out the hard way on this!

Posted on 9 Jan 2014 00:30:06 GMT
Last edited by the author on 9 Jan 2014 00:32:15 GMT
RedAlFire says:
Don't know if this may give you a few insights suzy...

I'll keep my eyes open for more when next online. :-)

Posted on 9 Jan 2014 08:23:28 GMT
T. Franklin says:
Hi suzy, depending on where you are visiting it might be worth finding out which networks have the best coverage for the area. 3 are pretty good in my experience - and certainly better than either T-Mobile or O2 (the second, which I had in a previous mobile phone, had a habit of dropping out).

That Ready To Go 3 dongle should include a sim card surely? It wouldn't be ready to go without!

Posted on 9 Jan 2014 10:57:04 GMT
TheFoe says:
I would also avoid Orange as they are useless. Vodaphone have good coverage too.

Posted on 9 Jan 2014 12:37:30 GMT
Lez Lee says:
Suzy, do you know anyone in the area, the cottage owner for instance? They might be able to help regarding coverage.

Posted on 9 Jan 2014 15:35:00 GMT
Last edited by the author on 9 Jan 2014 15:36:23 GMT
Awww thank you guys and bless you all for responding...x
I have had a very quick look at those sites, Al, and the info given looks like just what I am after - so I shall sit down tonight and have a good read through...Cheers!...x

Lez Lee, we have stayed at the cottage once before and so I know that it meets my needs even though technically it is not listed as disabled-friendly. I have found that I dislike intentionally disabled-friendly places because they assume you will be in a wheelchair all of the time and so are usually large, clinically-styled places with everything down at waist level. And ironically I find them to be hard work as I potter around. My wheelchair is simply because I have no power in my legs to walk very far or for too long - we use it to get me to places and then I use it like a walker until I get tired and have to get back in it again. I don't use it inside the house at all.

This cottage has a downstairs loo, an easy to use kitchen, a fairly manageable staircase and two beautiful ensuite bedrooms, one of which has a lovely large walk-in shower. And although it is tucked away behind another house and virtually invisible from the road, once you get out of the short driveway and cross the road it is barely 100 yards, if that, from a fantastic and thriving little village high street. This makes it absolutely perfect for me to walk independently of a carer/companion pushing my own wheelchair as both a walking support and also a shopping carrier(!). The only negative is the lack of Internet access.

This is a device that I have been seriously considering buying for some time anyway, because while I know that my 17" Sony laptop would seem to be far too big and bulky to some, I absolutely adore it and it actually packs very well in the suitcase or just in top of an overnight bag. I would get something smaller but because of my hands now I would probably struggle - I am certainly finding it much harder and very painful to use my very basic mobile to text these days and so my laptop suits me fine.

Tim, I have checked online and it has very good coverage of 3G(?) according to the 3 website. And yes, that 'dongle' comes preloaded but reviews across the net on it are very mixed. The TP however appears to be sim-free so it will need to have one bought for it...and maybe this is just a girly thing? - but I was very impressed by all of the technological spec that suggests that it could be of far better quality than the '3 dongle' and maybe also a much more reliable option? Plus apparently the TP powers up to 10 devices at once? - which could prove very handy during a power-cut, router breakdown (ours plays up a lot every now and then) or even possibly a house move as well. I really don't intend to spend the money on what I get now twice - so perhaps it might be wiser to spend a little more than I intended on something that will last well hopefully for a few years to come?...and that was the very point at which I then started getting bewildered by sim cards! - and which one would offer me enough for moderate rather than light use (I understand checking out YouTube simply eats up loads of data?) and at the cheapest rate possible.

Posted on 9 Jan 2014 17:34:20 GMT
Suzy, I have been with "3" for about 6 years now and have found them a better company to deal with than Orange or Vodafone, my previous providers. I use their network for 75% of my internet browsing including being on here. Whilst there have been occasions when the internet connection is not available (although the phone signal is), they are pretty reliable. However when you get out in the sticks, which includes valleys in Cornwall, the signal will disappear altogether. I would find out from the cottage owner if a mobile signal is available there before you invest any money in purchasing anything for your trip.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jan 2014 17:40:36 GMT
yup, agree with quality of 3's service, been with them a similar amount of time. sometime think you could get a signal down a coal mine (if there were any left). i am of the impression their coverage is the most widespread, as well.

Posted on 9 Jan 2014 18:55:08 GMT
Last edited by the author on 9 Jan 2014 18:58:09 GMT
Thank you all so much for this...x

Okay, so I've still got to read through the info on Al's recommended sites to get a clearer picture of how it all works and what's available, but in the meantime, it is looking like the Three Mobile Huawei E3231 Dongle Ready To Go 3GB Preloaded Data is probably the one that I should go with then? As so far no-one thinks that the TP device even if it is loaded with a 3 network sim card is going to be any better? I guess that the dongle will lock me into only using the 3 network whenever I need to top it up in future? Which seems to be no bad thing judging by all of the positive feedback on here - but are they also, on the whole, a reasonably cheap provider when it comes to just occasionally topping up on a PAYG tariff too?

And do I risk limiting myself to 1GB or go for 3GB? - I want to be able to freely check out Amazon and eBay on most days, access my email Inbox, YouTube possibly, surf the Net for last minute day-out ideas depending on the weather(!) and perhaps do a couple of supermarket shops - so just maybe 1GB for the full fortnight would be more than enough for this?

I have a very basic mobile that works well at the cottage on Lebara, but according to their website, their sim cards don't allow for 'tethering' to any device - they can only be used in a handset unfortunately.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jan 2014 19:28:42 GMT
easytiger says:
I used 3 mobile dongle for a long time in UK and recommend it; I've used it basements. If it's ready to use it has to have a SIM or it wouldn't work would it? On a pay as you go, vodafone and T-mobile will have you insane when trying to top up. Keep away.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jan 2014 22:53:10 GMT
I think that I shall give the 3 dongle a go then. After all, it does come preloaded and ready to go, and if I do buy the TP (which if I'm honest, I'm still more than just a little tempted by) it will also require a 3GB loaded sim card to be bought for it as well. And I have decided that it is an expense that I could really do without at the moment.

It's always good to get feedback from those who have firsthand experience - the 3 network it is then ;o>

Thanks everyone!...lots of love and very best wishes to all, suzy...x

Posted on 10 Jan 2014 19:46:57 GMT
Last edited by the author on 10 Jan 2014 19:55:51 GMT
...Three Mobile Huawei E3231 Dongle Ready To Go 3GB Preloaded Data...on sale and instore now at my nearest Argos - - just £26.99?!! - Sorted!!! ;o>

P S...However, I shall still be keeping the TP-Link in my basket and a close eye on the price - because I really do think that it will prove to be an asset well worth the having in the future. And it being unlocked means that I can just shop around every time that I want to buy more PAYG data. Thanks to everyone - you have all been so helpful and really encouraging.

Lots of love, suzy...x...x...x

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jan 2014 23:00:15 GMT
nae bother. oh! by the way, we're all coming with you :)

Posted on 10 Jan 2014 23:20:33 GMT
Last edited by the author on 10 Jan 2014 23:26:26 GMT
HA HA HA HA HA!!!...actually? - you ARE!!!

I couldn't not take my laptop with me now and so I'll continue to do the odd post between icecreams and fish 'n' chip suppers!!! Oh? - and don't forget your wellies and pac-a-mac, tech, because it rains a lot in the Lake District! ;o>

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jan 2014 23:26:49 GMT
RedAlFire says:
I've got me case you need my dongle too? Oooh!

Glad you're sorted suzy, hope everything is just great for you.

Posted on 10 Jan 2014 23:38:07 GMT
Lez Lee says:
Hope you have a great time, suzy.

Posted on 11 Jan 2014 06:19:48 GMT
Tikka says:
We've got one of those TP things in the office for our iPads that can't use the locked down in-house wifi. It was a lot cheaper than getting separately billed 3G enabled iPads.

Some smartphones (recent Android and iPhones) can be used as mobile wifi hotspots as well.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jan 2014 13:11:50 GMT
Hiyah Tikka,
Hmmm, I did toy with my friend's idea of using an Android phone - he showed me how to do it, but the very cheapest ones that I saw were a lot dearer in price and also usually much bigger than these very neat little devices. And the reviews were mixed about some them being able to always locate and then consistently keep the signal when used to 'tether' whereas these seem to be far more reliable overall?

There is also a fair bit of wandering around the phone menu and button pressing to get connected on an Android phone every time too which can be rather a challenge for me because my hands are affected by OsteoArthritis and can be as good as useless on some days. I wouldn't use it for any calls because I already have my own basic mobile that more than meets my needs (I love my Doro PhoneEasy 332 - it has a very handy little panic button on the back that will automatically ring several numbers for me if I fall when I am on my own) and so to buy yet another phone despite the extra advantage of it also being able to make and take calls seemed a little excessive. And so that was why I eventually came to rule out that particular option for me.

Now that I have reserved it, the 3 network 3GB dongle is going to be my first experiment with mobile broadband whilst away. Thanks for answering about the TP, Tikka - it sounds on it's spec like it is a fantastically versatile bit of kit and so I have pretty much decided to dig deep and buy the TP-link as well, only when I can better afford to and the price is right (although £41.99 right now seems to be a very good price) because the Internet is such an essential, entertaining and incredibly liberating lifeline to me now that I simply couldn't bear to be with it anymore.

Reviews on any of TP's products certainly suggest that they are an extremely good brand and a quality make - and if our home router continues to play up or we eventually do go ahead with our plans to move house soon, then it will certainly prove to be essential until we manage to get ourselves properly up and running. And if the 3 network works out as well for me as it clearly has done for everyone else then I'll start with using one of their sim cards in it first...x

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jan 2014 13:14:30 GMT
Ooh! You Are Awful...but I like you! ;o>

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jan 2014 13:22:20 GMT
Last edited by the author on 11 Jan 2014 13:22:43 GMT
Thanks Lez Lee...x
We only went away twice just for a few days at a time last year and unfortunately it was for rather sad family reasons - this time it is a proper holiday and purely for pleasure! - I'm almost as excited as a little kid, I can hardly wait! YAYYY!!! - Roll on February the 21st!!! ;o>

Posted on 19 Feb 2014 11:23:13 GMT
Last edited by the author on 19 Feb 2014 11:50:31 GMT
I never realised it until now? - but I guess that I really must be a dizzy (strawberry!) blonde airhead after all?!! ;o<

I've just got the Dongle out of it's box - laid everything out, read the Quick Start leaflet, opened up the Instruction Booklet and folded it back at the right page, snapped the pre-loaded sim card very carefully out of it's outer casing and...?

Nowhere, anywhere, does it actually show or say exactly which way around the flaming thing is supposed to be fitted?!?!?

Now? - obviously everybody else simply knows this? - but I didn't! - and naturally I didn't want to risk damaging it in trying to find out the wrong way either! Yes, I realised that it should go Gold side down - but with the snipped off edge facing outwards? or inwards? and should it be fitted into the very edges of the slot allowed? or pushed in as far as it could go? ARRRGGGHHH!!!

I've just had to go all around YouTube watching video, after video, after video of 'unboxing and setting up' which annoyingly kept skipping the actual sim card insertion part until - !HALLELUJAH! - a lovely man speaking in what might have been Russian? finally showed me what to do!!!...I am no longer a Dongle 'virgin'...! ;o>

It had just better flipping well work now!!! - HA HA HA!!! - LOL!!! ;o>

Posted on 22 Feb 2014 01:15:44 GMT
Last edited by the author on 22 Feb 2014 01:48:21 GMT
Johnny Bee says:
Better call Saul! ;-)

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Feb 2014 03:40:44 GMT
Forget Saul!

It has barely stopped raining since we got here? - better call Noah! ;o>

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Feb 2014 14:04:05 GMT
Brass Neck says:
Once you've engaged in dongle insertion you are emphatically no longer a virgin.

Posted on 28 Feb 2014 14:45:02 GMT
ooh! matron! - the sky in killie is blue and the sun is shining (still raining, but) so i'm sure something tropical must be heading your way - then you can get a suntan on yur dongle :)
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Discussion in:  music discussion forum
Participants:  12
Total posts:  31
Initial post:  8 Jan 2014
Latest post:  1 Mar 2014

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