Off grid internet

carolinabigfoot

New Member
What kind of equipment is needed to connect a laptop to the internet via satellite or cell phone tower? What are approximately the energy requirements?
 

Ampster

Renewable Energy Hobbyist
What kind of equipment is needed to connect a laptop to the internet via satellite or cell phone tower?
It is specific to the provider. Depending on the service the antenna may be self contained or separate. Generally Satelite requires a separate antenna. For a while I used a cellular Hotspot but it was more expensive than cable Internet because it was priced by volume.. In my area we also have the option of microwave as well but coverage is limited to line of sight.
 

rmaddy

Solar Addict
What kind of equipment is needed to connect a laptop to the internet via satellite or cell phone tower?
Satellite requires a big dish and very expensive and slow service. Though Starlink is changing some of that. Starlink is in its early stages and you may not be able to get it yet.

Cell is simple. Go to the nearest AT&T or Verizon store (or whatever your local cell carrier might be) and get a data-only plan and a mobile hotspot device (fits in your hand). If you don't have a very good cell signal you might need to buy a cell signal booster/antenna. The only problem here is that mobile data-only plans in the US are fairly expensive for little monthly data.

I have no idea what the power needs for satellite may be but the cellular mobile hotspots use less than your laptop.
 

Texas-Mark

Solar Addict
Cell is simple. Go to the nearest AT&T or Verizon store (or whatever your local cell carrier might be) and get a data-only plan and a mobile hotspot device (fits in your hand).

Check the rates first. I found it cheaper to get a pay as you go phone from walmart that had more hotspot data and unlimited voice and text for less than than one of those hotspot only devices.
 

rmaddy

Solar Addict
Another option may be to use your cell phone. Check your plan and see what it allows in the way of hotspot data. Basically your laptop connects to your phone through either built-in WiFi or Bluetooth. Possibly upgrading your cell phone plan with sufficient hotspot use could be the simplest and cheapest option.
 

Wellbuilt

Solar Addict
I just use my I pad with AT&T at the cabin I use a booster .
I can stream movies most of the time .
Text call it works good
 

Rednecktek

Solar Enthusiast
If you can get 4g or Starlink those are your best options. Satellite internet is horrible in every way and is only viable if you can't train carrier pigeons to carry thumb drives.
 

Weldman

Sunlight Welder
I live off grid and I have WeBoost to get a cell signal here Verizon is my carrier for 45 gigs of data for $125 a month which if I go over drops to 600 MBPS. I use my cell phone as a hot spot. Ran with Hughes Network for internet since I don't watch TV and that was a nightmare in itself for customer service to nickel and dime you for anything down to if it moved not even quarter of a inch you lost service, cloudy day you lost service and good luck finding the signal again.
There is two of us here that rely on this, wife does online college classes and stock trading, I research and learn new things.
 

Vince14

New Member
I agree with Rednecktek, if Starlink has become available in your area it will be your best option. While it may be considered expensive by some, it has received good reviews regarding speed, latency and reliability. It depends on how important you regard an internet connection.
 

Don B. Cilly

Energetic energy padawan
45 gigs of data for $125 a month?
I get 120G (practically unlimited), free calls and all for €22/month.
Which includes a dual-sim, which means I have two with the same number, one I keep in the phone - which I carry around - and the other stays in a little 4G router which... I don't :·)
I have to use a booster antenna, or coverage would be nonexistent, but otherwise, it's just fine.

I agree on satellite. Thing is, one sat can only have so much bandwidth (and it's not a lot). It's expensive, you have to share that limited bandwidth with a lot of users - or it won't cover the costs. The math itself is... horrible.
 

Mia

New Member
Maybe look into Visible … heard lots of positives on another forum about their unlimited plan not being restricted as frequently as the others… but it’s all 2nd hand info…
 

RobertGreen

Solar Addict
Maybe look into Visible … heard lots of positives on another forum about their unlimited plan not being restricted as frequently as the others… but it’s all 2nd hand info…
It seems that in the past few months, Visible has become much more restrictive about allowing the use of hotspot or tethering data.

I've been in a rural area and using an unlimited 4g data plan from ATT for 20$ a month-- but it was tricky to set up. There's a lot of misinfo out there about these plans. If you can get an ATT signal coverage at your location, it's probably about the best bang for your buck that I can find. If not, Verizon or verizon-based MNVO's are the second best choice, at least in my region
 

LuckyRux

New Member
https://www.rvmobileinternet.com/planpicks/

I found this site pretty helpful when I was looking for a cellular plan that offered unlimited data for my Android phone. I have T-Mobile Magenta Max plan for i believe $70 a month. It has unlimited 5G for my phone and 40 gigabyte a month of hotspot data. There are ways around that monthly limit if you are handy with a computer.

You just need to first make sure whatever plan you go with has service in your location. Im assuming by your username you are in the U.S., then you shouldn't have too much issue finding service.
 

Texas-Mark

Solar Addict
Satellite internet is horrible in every way and is only viable if you can't train carrier pigeons to carry thumb drives.

Years ago I had Wildblue sat internet because it was all that was available, and it really was not that bad other than the data limits. Heck, I had sat internet back when you needed dial-up for the outbound data and only used the sat for inbound. I'm surprised it worked at all.
 

Mia

New Member
It seems that in the past few months, Visible has become much more restrictive about allowing the use of hotspot or tethering data.

I've been in a rural area and using an unlimited 4g data plan from ATT for 20$ a month-- but it was tricky to set up. There's a lot of misinfo out there about these plans. If you can get an ATT signal coverage at your location, it's probably about the best bang for your buck that I can find. If not, Verizon or verizon-based MNVO's are the second best choice, at least in my region
Good to know… the one positive about Visible was that it was a month to month type plan so you could try it out and if you were in a group of 4 or more it was only $25 a month…
 

Gizmo740

New Member
Both Verizon and AT&T have newer "Rural Internet" plans. We are in rural Ohio with no access to cable or DSL. Tough to find associates that know much about them. Kids game and stream aLoT so I kicked them off my AT&T plan. Mine is unlimited 4g with Netgear Nighhawk router. With kids on we were using over 1k gig a month with no throttling but didn't want to risk losing it. Router cost me 250.00 (could BYO) and has battery for backup and mobile use. We take it traveling and camping. Runs me just under 100.00/mo.

Kids signed up with Verizon after I locked them out of router. Unlimited with equipment around 80.00/mo but locked to our local tower. Won't work if you move from "home address" without having them re-provision router.

Verizon is running about twice the speeds of AT&T in our area but not being mobile kept me on AT&T. Verizon is averaging 85m down and 20m up. AT&T is averaging 45m down and 15m up. Lot of factors will play into this but our averages.

Both routers allow up to 10 wifi devices to connect, or in my case, cat5 to Time Capsule and run whatever you want.
 

Rednecktek

Solar Enthusiast
Man you've got it good! At my place I have the options of Frontier DSL at "Up To" 16Mb or... umm... carrier pigeon?

The worst part is that AT&T has a fiber line running through my yard... grrr...
 

Texas-Mark

Solar Addict
Man you've got it good! At my place I have the options of Frontier DSL at "Up To" 16Mb or... umm... carrier pigeon?

The worst part is that AT&T has a fiber line running through my yard... grrr...

For years I used to get "DSL coming soon" fliers from AT&T. Of course it never came. Then when AT&T started running a fiber cable down the road I got all excited, but it turned out to be nothing for us.

AT&T did finally put up a cell tower about a mile a way. Prior to that I had no cell service at all here (I still have a land line). They are eventually going to offer that 5G home internet service, but nothing yet.
 

shavermcspud

Solar Addict
If you can get 4g or Starlink those are your best options. Satellite internet is horrible in every way and is only viable if you can't train carrier pigeons to carry thumb drives.
Starlink is satellite based, I have it as my main connection here in the UK, it draws 90 watts under full load and give me around 300/350Mbps
 
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