Author Topic: Using a Mobile Hotspot for Home Internet  (Read 683 times)

131071

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Using a Mobile Hotspot for Home Internet
« on: October 26, 2020, 07:13:39 AM »
In my location, we have a not-so-friendly duopoly of internet providers whose basic plans start at about $60/month.  Over the past few years, I've selected the option that didn't require a 12-month contract or equipment rental, but I'm still not especially pleased with my options. 

Recently, I switched to Visible cell service from another MVNO.  Unlimited data hotspot is included with the following caveats: max 1 device connected at a time, speeds capped at 5MB/s (though I've measured higher).  Visible recently announced that they are moving towards 5G coverage with no increase in price.  (Presumably this would require purchase of a fancypants new device to use).  Using data on my phone and not tethered, I am getting speeds of >75 MB/s in our area (large NC city).  My wife and I pay $25/month/line.

Has anyone explored using a mobile hotspot as their primary home internet service?  We have a seven year-old who now relies on our internet for full-remote 2nd grade education, which adds some complexity.  If there's a service you've used that can help slash the monthly payments to a giant telecom company to zero, I'd love to hear about it!

maizefolk

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5487
Re: Using a Mobile Hotspot for Home Internet
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2020, 07:31:03 AM »
My folks use a wireless hotspot as a fallback/supplement to a 20+ year old DSL. For browsing the web it is fine, but if your job requires you to jump on zoom frequently or video chats are a significant part of how you are keeping in touch with friends and family right now, the cell connection they have is not ideal for that (of course neither is the old fashion DSL).

Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4314
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
Re: Using a Mobile Hotspot for Home Internet
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2020, 08:52:43 AM »
Alternative: You say you're in North Carolina, yet you think you're in a not-so-friendly duopoly. If one of those two is AT&T, you might have more choices than you think. Poke your address into the service availability checks over at:

https://www.toast.net/
and
https://www.dslextreme.com/

You might be surprised at what's available, and how few hoops you have to deal with. Though I'll admit, DSLExtreme's not as cheap and friendly as they used to be.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2020, 08:57:52 AM by Daley »

LazyDavy

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: Using a Mobile Hotspot for Home Internet
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2020, 01:24:15 PM »
We use a t mobile Hotspot for home internet. It works pretty much the same as a regular access point, in terms of how we connect (wifi for some things, ethernet cables for others). Used by two guys in tech related jobs working from home, so we've run a lot of things from it - laptops, a thin client with no wireless capabilities, a proprietary backup device. Haven't had any problems except for chromecast disconnecting itself, which we fixed with an automatic reboot of the access point in the middle of the night.

alsoknownasDean

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2385
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
Re: Using a Mobile Hotspot for Home Internet
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2020, 05:21:01 PM »
I've considered doing the same from time to time, but I'll ask you this. How are you going to manage if the speeds are all over the place and it gets congested from time to time?

Wireless spectrum isn't infinite and if there's many on the tower the speeds will be slower.

For normal personal use that's no big deal, but for someone working or studying from home, I'd spend the few bucks extra for a reliable fixed line connection.

geekette

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2119
Re: Using a Mobile Hotspot for Home Internet
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2020, 05:29:26 PM »
We're in NC as well, and until recently had Earthlink via Spectrum (hack, spit).  Around here, Earthlink offers service via other companies (I imagine ATT, since around here it's ATT and google fiber, plus the gawdawful spectrum).

chemistk

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 848
  • Location: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Using a Mobile Hotspot for Home Internet
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2020, 06:34:16 AM »
One of my coworkers uses a hotspot when she works from home - she just wrapped up building a "cabin" (pre-fab design, assembled on site) in one of the more rural areas and the only phone/TV/internet is available either through wireless providers or building a 40ft flagpole and mounting a satellite dish.

She is able to do most tasks reasonably well, but video chats and accessing company apps not directly installed on her PC really bog her connection down. She frequently bumps up against her plan's data allowance towards the end of the cycle if she works from home frequently.

I don't think wireless hotspots are quite ready yet for full-time replacement of wired - especially at a time when videoconferencing and data heavy apps are so necessary.

lutorm

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 314
  • Location: A large island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean
Re: Using a Mobile Hotspot for Home Internet
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2020, 11:05:21 PM »
Have you checked out www.starlink.com, they just started a public beta? I think NC might be too far south for good coverage with the initial constellation, though.

alsoknownasDean

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2385
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
Re: Using a Mobile Hotspot for Home Internet
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2020, 05:52:39 AM »
One of my coworkers uses a hotspot when she works from home - she just wrapped up building a "cabin" (pre-fab design, assembled on site) in one of the more rural areas and the only phone/TV/internet is available either through wireless providers or building a 40ft flagpole and mounting a satellite dish.

She is able to do most tasks reasonably well, but video chats and accessing company apps not directly installed on her PC really bog her connection down. She frequently bumps up against her plan's data allowance towards the end of the cycle if she works from home frequently.

I don't think wireless hotspots are quite ready yet for full-time replacement of wired - especially at a time when videoconferencing and data heavy apps are so necessary.

I'd heard of it being common enough in rural areas here, especially as some modems/routers have antenna ports that can have an external antenna (mounted on the roof) plugged in for a better signal.

If I lived in a rural area where the choice was 4G or satellite, I'd definitely go for 4G :)

chemistk

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 848
  • Location: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Using a Mobile Hotspot for Home Internet
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2020, 11:54:53 AM »
One of my coworkers uses a hotspot when she works from home - she just wrapped up building a "cabin" (pre-fab design, assembled on site) in one of the more rural areas and the only phone/TV/internet is available either through wireless providers or building a 40ft flagpole and mounting a satellite dish.

She is able to do most tasks reasonably well, but video chats and accessing company apps not directly installed on her PC really bog her connection down. She frequently bumps up against her plan's data allowance towards the end of the cycle if she works from home frequently.

I don't think wireless hotspots are quite ready yet for full-time replacement of wired - especially at a time when videoconferencing and data heavy apps are so necessary.

I'd heard of it being common enough in rural areas here, especially as some modems/routers have antenna ports that can have an external antenna (mounted on the roof) plugged in for a better signal.

If I lived in a rural area where the choice was 4G or satellite, I'd definitely go for 4G :)

It's definitely common in rural areas, but also not great if you have to be on 2-3 videoconferences a day. Most software has a call-in option, but when you have to present slides or share your screen, that can really eat up a lot of data.

Are there Aussie equivalents to the satellite TV/Internet providers we have here (Dish Network and DirecTV primarily?). I've heard plenty of people have decent service using satellite so long as the dish is mounted unobscured (not really feasible in my coworker's case unless she put up a flagpole or cut down a few dozen trees). Obviously bad weather and other things really bugger satellite service, but it seems like a decent alternative.