Communications on the Road: Update
Since my last post on communicating on the road, we have had a major change in plans. Yeah, stop me if you've heard this one before. LOL A car (or now, our SUV) won't carry a satellite dish very well (especially since it will be packed to the roof with camping gear) so we are being forced to change our plans for internet on the road.
Some of the resources we utilized when researching this issue are the many full-time RV travelers out there. And somewhere along the way we decided to go with Millenicom. Basically we are now using the Millenicom plan which comes with a free USB cell data stick and 20GB per month of data. Eventually we will probably pick up some type of wifi hotspot (like the Cradlepoint CTR350 router) so that our iPhones/iPads/MacBook Airs, etc. can all get online even when we are driving down the road. This would be especially handy when we are in an area where AT&T is roaming. Sure, you can still make a voice call (who does that any more?) but if your Words With Friends app tries to connect to the network you start running into an interesting little-known data cap. AT&T has roaming agreements for voice that is so cheap that they don't pass the costs along to you. Not so for data! According to AT&T we can use no more than 24MB of data when we are roaming. That is like 8 songs on Pandora's streaming radio, or 20 photos on Facebook. If you go over, they might just simply shut your data plan off!
Of course, even though Millenicom uses a Verizon data plan with no such roaming limits for data, that doesn't help if you can't get a signal. We already hit a long stretch of I-40 from Amarillo to Albuquerque where we couldn't get connected at all. Our friend Steve Miller showed us his amp recently and how it worked during storm chasing, so we will probably be adding a cell signal repeater/amplifier to our gear arsenal in the near future. FYI, I'm writing this article using my laptop and the Millenicom data stick from the KOA on the north side of Albuquerque, New Mexico.