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Communications Connecting - internet cafes, laptops, Palm devices, cell phones - how to connect, use, which one, and Bike to Bike and passenger intercoms.
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  #1  
Old 22 Feb 2009
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Anywhere internet?

Hi There,

I am planning a trip from Canada to Ushuaia and back. I work online and would like to be able to continue working while on this trip. Does anyone know of a good satellite internet company or any other means so that I can pull over on the side of the road anywhere and have wifi?
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  #2  
Old 6 Mar 2009
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If you want truly "anywhere" internet, that means satellite. Portable (motorcycle-portable) satellite options here:
BGAN Satellite Internet & Phone From Ground Control

Relatively expensive and slow. Really only feasible if your paycheck is large and/or you work with very little bandwidth consumption.

Another option is to use a route through larger cities. It appears that mainstream broadband is fairly common throughout Latin America...so work a while then ride a while?

Good luck
Sean
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  #3  
Old 12 Mar 2009
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Thanks. Yeah I looked up Boingo (wifi hotspots) and that seems to be the much cheaper way to go but a little less convenient.
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  #4  
Old 14 Mar 2009
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I've been working via internet on the road for the past three years (or trying to) and it isn't easy. Internet cafes are VERY easy to find easily until you reach Chile, then you can purchase a modem plus pay as you go from Claro. All the other companies, PLUS all the companies in Argentina want a 6 month contract...if you're lucky. Some are 1 1/2 years minimum. In some of the main areas in Chile you can do wifi endlessly from Copec gas stations. Gets more difficult when you head further south. In Argentina, you can try the YPF stations, but I've never had much luck.

I had the dream of working in the middle of nowhere, but that won't happen without satellite.
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  #5  
Old 27 Mar 2009
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Thanks Lorraine. We're only going to go as far south as Ecuador now. Did you plan in advance what internet cafes were where and therefore what route to take or did you just go and find them as you went? As in do I need to stay to a route that will take me through big cities or can I just ride and say every 3 hours I'll find a cafe?
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  #6  
Old 8 Apr 2009
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You will be amazed with what cities have internet access.

limatambo, peru - Google Maps

I found a great internet cafe in this tinnny little town!! I mean, everywhere... every country will have internet access. It may be slow (satellite), but it will be somewhere.

Especially in Central America, where there are people and villages all over the place. My opinion is that because there are fewer individual owners of computers, internet cafes are all over the place.

Not once was I anywhere in central/south america looking for internet and not finding it.

oh, and HI Lorraine! Hope the dogs are well!
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Old 25 Apr 2009
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Hi Dave, the dogs are doing great!

I have to disagree with you though. We've found internet cafes are more difficult to find in Chile and Argentina. (sometimes VERY difficult to find in Argentina). Which however, agrees with your theory of cafes being common where people have less money to have their own computers...
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  #8  
Old 1 May 2009
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Update. In Chile, you can now purchase pre-paid plans for all THREE internet providers, Entel (which has the widest coverage), Movistar and Claro. Right now, you can buy the Entel dongle for about $120, which gives you two free months unlimited access. Yeeha! Using it right now as I write in my van. :-)

Does anyone know about similar programs in Argentina or elsewhere?
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  #9  
Old 13 May 2009
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mixed internet

Hi

I travel around a lot for work as well as when I escape from the job, and so although I don't have experience of the Americas I've had a reasonable experience of trying to connect in Africa, Middle East & Central / SE Asia.

Your best bet is to go for a mix of internet options - don't try to find one thing which will give you a global solution. A Thuraya with a data cable (or Bluetooth with the newer ones I believe) will get you e-mail at least, and coverage is good (except the Americas!).

There is a Thuraya modem driver for Mac OSX available online - I think it's the Motorola Sprint driver - if anyone can't find it & needs a copy PM me

Unfortunately the Iridium phones have had the InfraRed modem removed in later models (the window is still there but nothing behind it) so you only have the bulky cable option there, but they will work almost everywhere (but VERY slow!)

If you want to guarantee web access everywhere except the poles then the various BGAN systems from Inmarsat are the way to go, but not cheap... Don't be tempted by an 'R'BGAN from e-bay - they just turned off the system so they are just plastic paperweights now!

But - the 3G USB data modems are really coming into their own now - I'm in Sudan at the moment using a Zain one (with terrible network coverage, but hey, it works as long as you are prepared to keep hitting redial until you get a connection) - try to find a network which spans several countries you plan to visit and you may be able to use the same SIM card in all of them. Also check online when you have a chance and see what they show on the coverage maps - and remember - you might get a signal from the top of the hill even if nothing in the valley!

Just using your normal phone as a modem through a cable or Bluetooth is also a good option - surprising how many networks support GPRS / 3G data. I have a Vodafone SIM which works in most countries and will let me get my e-mail (at a price for the roaming!) if nothing else works.

Then there are Internet cafes - and of course you can always try to find unsecured WiFi networks & hop onto them - get a WiFi detector gadget rather than trying to cruise through towns with a laptop open in front of you...

Also, if you know someone with a connection to a single computer you can set that machine to share it - so someone with a laptop connected by a USB modem can share their connection via WiFi (Win XP and onwards, plus all 'proper' operating systems as well) so even if you can't use their connection direct you can piggyback on their micro-network.

So, no one solution - lots of partial fixes. Get to know how to swap around between network settings (Macs are much better at this if you are looking for a laptop to take, but getting drivers for 3G USB modems is a bit trickier - but mostly possible)

Carry ethernet cables and a small WiFi hub if you have space - it makes it much easier to hook into a network if the opportunity comes up, and learn all about the various networking options on your computer before leaving home...

Don't expect broadband, but if you just need to check your e-mail every couple of days then it's usually possible, with patience & an ability to bodge. But then you wouldn't be reading the HUBB if you weren't like that!

Tony
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