||We are on the national "Single-Rate"
plan with Verizon. Supposedly our phone should work anywhere we get
a digital signal indication on the phone, with no roaming or long-distance
charges. We pay for a monthly allowance of 400 minutes. We pay
an extra $7/mo for internet browser capabilities. This includes
micro-browser capabilities built directly into the phone, which we don't
use. The connection cable plugs into the laptops serial port.
|The connection occurs very rapidly (6 seconds)
since it is pure digital. The 19.2 kb throughput is very fast in an
all digital environment because nothing is lost through the
modulation/demodulation function of a modem. Actual web browsing
performance is comparable to a typical 38 kb dial-up modem
connection. The digital connection holds on longer to a weak signal.
|Verizon's national digital network is not as
all-encompassing as they would have you believe. Early on we had to
demand that Verizon publish our telephone number to all the other
providers involved in their reciprocal relationship. Even still we
reach areas where digital service is denied. Also, getting through
Verizon's technical support maze is very discouraging as they continue
their effort to bring all their acquisitions under single control.
We would not suggest you use Verizon.
||Since digital signals are still reserved for
heavily populated areas, the majority of our travels cover a geography
most often serviced only by an analog signal, or no signal at all.
We purchased a Motorola Global Modem on a PCMCIA Card that is compatible
with our phone. The analog service by definition is slow, about 4.8
kb through a modem. This limits its use to voice, or simple e-mail
functions. Web browsing is out of the question at that speed.
||We have nothing positive to say about this.
||The Motorola modem connection is very
finicky. Verizon has worked hard to establish a reciprocal national
network for digital coverage, but the focus on analog providers is
missing. Many rural areas are served by small regional cellular
providers that aren't in Verizon's family. We have gotten no
productive use out of this connection, but plenty of frustration with each
||Earthlink is our ISP (Internet Service
Provider), e-mail host, and web host. We chose them because they are
the second largest in the country, and they try harder than AOL, the
largest. They have a large database of points of presence that allow
us to frequently connect via a local dial up, without charges. This
is for when we are in a campground that has a modem hook-up in the office
or at the campsite. Most of the campgrounds where we stay have at
the least, a connection in the office.
||Reliable. Easy on-line search tool to find
local dial-up numbers.
||Un-published directory of local dial-up
numbers. This requires us to connect via the 800# to use the
Earthlink website query tool to find a local dial-up number, then
disconnect and reconnect with the local number.
||Another reason for choosing Earthlink. We
pay an extra $5/mo for five hours of connecting via an 800#. This
permits us to dial-up from anywhere that we can hook-up without having to
deal with toll calls.
||$6/hour of use after the five pre-paid hours
have been used.
|For heavy web-browsing it is hard to beat the
convenience of library use. The library connections are usually much
faster than dial-up, and we can each surf simultaneously.
||Almost every single library we have visited has
at least a few computers connected to the internet.
||Most libraries limit use to once a day (20-60
minutes), though we can stay on longer if no one is waiting. Most do
not provide access to the floppy disk drive (no uploading or downloading
to/from our laptops).