Author Topic: Secure, consistent internet access for laptop while travelling?  (Read 4316 times)

Tulip

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Hello Everyone!
 
I'm looking to do some long(er)-term traveling (both in the U.S. and abroad) and will have a telecommuting job, thus will have a need for secure, consistent internet access for a laptop. I'm looking for advice on how best to go about this?

I've read some about VPNs, Boingo, AT&T Unite Pro, but honestly, I have no idea what I need or what would be best. Any advice?

Thanks!

Salim

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Re: Secure, consistent internet access for laptop while travelling?
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2015, 07:26:53 PM »
I'm looking to do some long(er)-term traveling (both in the U.S. and abroad) and will have a telecommuting job, thus will have a need for secure, consistent internet access for a laptop. I'm looking for advice on how best to go about this?

I've read some about VPNs, Boingo, AT&T Unite Pro, but honestly, I have no idea what I need or what would be best. Any advice?

Thanks!

4G wireless service is available for laptops with a USB modem. (I don't have 4G on my laptop, but I do have a Kindle with 4G and it works great.)

humbleMouse

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Re: Secure, consistent internet access for laptop while travelling?
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2015, 09:22:44 AM »
If you have a decent smartphone I would look into hotspotting the 4g LTE data connection.  I have tmobile and use hotspotting on my iphone exclusively for internet access.  I use it for VPM remote work and it works great. 

catccc

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Re: Secure, consistent internet access for laptop while travelling?
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2015, 09:47:34 AM »
Something like freedompop might work for this?  But IDK what their heavy user plans look like.  I've only used them for occasional hotspot needs.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Secure, consistent internet access for laptop while travelling?
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2015, 10:05:08 AM »
Echo HumbleMouse for within the U.S.  TMobile rocks for this.

For overseas, not sure how it would work.  You would have to have an international data plan that makes sense.

historienne

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Re: Secure, consistent internet access for laptop while travelling?
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2015, 10:17:18 AM »
If you have a decent smartphone I would look into hotspotting the 4g LTE data connection. 

This.  Make sure your smartphone is unlocked, and you'll be able to get a local SIM and data bundle pretty much anywhere you go. 

StetsTerhune

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Re: Secure, consistent internet access for laptop while travelling?
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2015, 02:31:20 PM »
Depending on how much/where you'll be traveling in the US, it might be worthwhile to looking into getting both Verizon and AT&T. Obviously it's not cheap to have both, but there are places that have one and not the other and it has saved me quite a few times to be able to switch to the other carrier.

I don't know what kind of work you do, but I've found that you don't need much data if you're careful and can arrange to do anything data intensive while on wifi somewhere.

Tulip

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Re: Secure, consistent internet access for laptop while travelling?
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2015, 09:04:58 AM »
Thanks so much to all who responded! I'll look into all of your suggestions. Thanks!

GizmoTX

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Re: Secure, consistent internet access for laptop while travelling?
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2015, 09:25:44 AM »
We've rented a mifi unit in France, Great Britain, & Italy (3 separate trips). It converts local cellular service to wifi & can support (share) at least 5 devices. It is your own password protected hotspot, so it's much more secure than hotel or public wifi, always available (as long as you are within the device's cellular network), portable (the size of a cellphone), & rechargeable battery powered. It usually comes with a charger cord, local plug adapter, & prepaid addressed mailer for the return. While you can rent an international mifi in the US & take it with you, we've found that it's less expensive to pre-order & have it waiting in the country we're visiting, either at the airport or the first hotel. We paid about $5/day during a trip to France last May.

StetsTerhune

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Re: Secure, consistent internet access for laptop while travelling?
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2015, 10:57:42 AM »
We've rented a mifi unit in France, Great Britain, & Italy (3 separate trips). It converts local cellular service to wifi & can support (share) at least 5 devices. It is your own password protected hotspot, so it's much more secure than hotel or public wifi, always available (as long as you are within the device's cellular network), portable (the size of a cellphone), & rechargeable battery powered. It usually comes with a charger cord, local plug adapter, & prepaid addressed mailer for the return. While you can rent an international mifi in the US & take it with you, we've found that it's less expensive to pre-order & have it waiting in the country we're visiting, either at the airport or the first hotel. We paid about $5/day during a trip to France last May.

Gizmo, do you mind sharing what company you used for that?

GizmoTX

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Re: Secure, consistent internet access for laptop while travelling?
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2015, 12:00:25 PM »
In France, we used HipPocketWifi. http://hippocketwifi.com/en/
Since we were taking a train from Paris to Dijon, we specified our Dijon hotel rather than taking the time to find the location at the CDG airport -- a good plan in retrospect, because our flight was delayed. I ordered it online while in the US & used a CC that doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee. HipPocket has a "standard" data allowance plan calculated at 500 MB x number of days you want the unit, & it displays how much you've used -- we had 3 users & found it adequate. You can buy more data in advance or as needed. The company promptly replied to my emailed questions & kept us informed. I would definitely use them again in France. Recently they've expanded to other European countries but you'd need to check if this is competitive.

We used XCom Global several years ago in Italy. This company ships to a US address but with the target country SIM installed; you pack the unit there without knowing in advance if it is working & mail it back from the US. It's 3x what HipPocket charges.

We shared the mifi in Great Britain with friends; I don't know what company they used but they picked it up & dropped it at London Heathrow. Its cost was also significantly less than XCom.

Tulip

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Re: Secure, consistent internet access for laptop while travelling?
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2015, 08:15:16 AM »
Thanks for this information, GizmoTX. I had found something similar when searching for alternatives for internet access in other countries, but the daily price for renting the device was more expensive. I wasn't sure about the whole "renting" a device anyway, so it's good to hear a personal experience.

Daley

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Re: Secure, consistent internet access for laptop while travelling?
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2015, 08:57:58 AM »
If you're looking to use a lot of mobile data domestically, your best and most reliable bet is going to be going either AT&T or Verizon based mobile broadband (I'd actually recommend Verizon between the two), but be prepared to pay a pretty penny, but be willing to pay for what you need. No matter how cheap T-Mobile's data is, I wouldn't recommend them for reliable mobile broadband if you're traveling a lot (especially with destinations that might fall outside of large metro areas), the data network is just too small and too much of their network is still 2G EDGE. If you already have an Android or iPhone, definitely do WiFi tethering. Make sure the device is carrier unlocked, too.

Internationally, given some of the prices quoted and the two best domestic providers proving phones potentially with global GSM band support, it might be worth looking into KnowRoaming. You can just slap the SIM sticker on over your existing SIM card and switch over for cheaper international service while abroad, no device rentals, no SIM shopping and juggling, and continued incoming calls from your domestic phone service. Works well if you want to go with an MVNO like Selectel, too.

Tulip

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Re: Secure, consistent internet access for laptop while travelling?
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2015, 01:28:25 PM »
Thank you so much, I.P. Daley! Very helpful. I do have an iPhone (I'm currently with AT&T), so I'm looking at the WiFi tethering option when traveling in the US. I was not aware of KnowRoaming, but after looking at their website, it looks like it would be a good option when traveling internationally. Thanks again!