Internet access in US hotels

Aug 9th, 2004, 04:02 AM
  #1  
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Internet access in US hotels

Hi
I am taking my laptop on our forthcoming trip to the USA (mainly in order to download images from my digital camera!) - and it would be nice to be able to access the internet from it now and again. I realise that most hotels have access in their lobbies, but a lot of others offer internet access from rooms. Some have 'wireless' access - some high speed (broadband). Would I be able to access these, with my bog-standard laptop (all it has is a modem!). Otherwise, if I have to use the modem access, I will not have a service-provider in the USA and so will be stumped! I've thought about joining up with a company which allows you access throughout the world (forgotten the name of it ...) - although I am reluctant to give them my cc details and let them charge what they like!
Any info on this gratefully received.
wildblueyonder is offline  
Aug 9th, 2004, 04:41 AM
  #2  
 
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Well to use the wireless service these hotels provide, you would need a wireless network adapter. Sometimes these are built into the laptop itself (if it is newer)or you could buy an actual external card that plugs into your laptop. I purchased one of these cards for my laptop for approximately $30 US.

To use the high speed broadband connections, you would need to use an RJ-45 ethernet connection. Almost all laptops already have this connector built-in, so you might want to take a look at it to see if you have one. It looks like a larger version of the regular telephone connection the modem uses. If you don't, you can purchase an external card which runs about $15 here in the US.

If you really want to have internet access while at your hotel, it might be a good investment to purchase one of these cards as it might be cheaper than signing up for an internet provider, unless it is free.
islandboy81 is offline  
Aug 9th, 2004, 06:28 AM
  #3  
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Thank you ever so much for all this info. I've looked on my laptop, but can't find either of those things! It's more than a few years old (Toshiba Tecra 8000) and it uses a card as a modem (and has another slot of a 2nd card). I'm a bit dim on these things - and I've looked on ebay.co.uk and on PCWorld website - but am clueless - so I think I'll take it into a 'proper' computer shop and ask to be kitted out with the necessary - or I might leave it until I get to the States, as the cards might be cheaper there.
I'm also thinking of signing up with Tempest Telecom www.tempestcom.com/ as they will provide international internet modem access (at a fee!) in case all else fails.
Thanks again.
wildblueyonder is offline  
Aug 9th, 2004, 09:41 AM
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From other posts I've read here and elsewhere, it may be that buying the network cards in the USA might be a LOT cheaper. I don't know what "bog-standard" is, but it sounds like your laptop is fitted with the standard pc slots for external devices.

I'm looking at 2 devices I have in my office right now. A "wired" type Microsoft brand "Notebook Adapter MN-120" where you use a network cable to hook up to the hotel's WIRED network system, and also at a NETGEAR brand "Wireless PC Card MA-521" (faster ones are available) ... either of these, or similar products should suit your needs for wired or wireless access. I seem to find wired access more often then wireless, but as prices for wireless equipment continues to drop, I think wireless will become more prevalent.

I don't know if your modem will work in the states or not (probably will) so you should verify that it will. We have a company that allows free internet access, however only 10 hours a month .. www.juno.com AOL probably has the most number of local numbers, but I don't really like it very much, as installing their proprietory software changes too many other settings on your pc. One company I've recently found, but not used, has a decent number of cities that you can dial in from as a local call, yet inexpensive for it's service: VTISP.COM , $29.40 a year limited to 30 hrs/month, and it uses "normal" MS dial up connections, not proprietory software.

If you use dialup, please be aware that your phone call COULD be long distance. It's often advantageous to use pre-paid long-distance cards if you dial out in hotels. Some of our hotels impose a surcharge too if your call exceeds a certain number of minutes. As the hotel before you get an unpleasent costly "surprise" what the phone policies are. Good luck, and welcome to our country.
rb_travelerxATyahoo is offline  
Aug 9th, 2004, 10:39 AM
  #5  
 
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I took my Dell laptop to Chicago and couldn't get it to connect to the internet using a device my hotel provided. Fortunately, the hotel--like many here--had a "business center" which had two computers for internet access. Also, in the USA most cities and large towns have a store called Kinko's at which we get intenet access for 20 cents a minute. In other words, there are internet options other than dragging a valuable laptop around the USA.
jimshep is offline  
Aug 9th, 2004, 10:54 AM
  #6  
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Thanks very much for the further words of wisdom (it gets confusing, doesn't it?!) Well, I have just returned from our local PCWorld. I just went there to check out what I would be looking for, elsewhere really! And I think I have it sussed now. There was a wireless network adaptor at about equivalent to $40. There was also an RJ-45 (or LAN) ethernet 'internal' card (with connection outside, of course!) - at (wait for it) approxmately $90!!!!! So I shall look on eBay now!
Reading up on the info I have on the hotels we're staying in (it's a long trip!), 6 would probably only have dial-up/modem access - only 4 hs internet access - and only 1 wireless. So I shan't bother with the wireless (for this trip anyway!).
I'll join up with http://www.tempestcom.com/ Tempest Telecom for the modem access (although it is 8 c a minute - it might be handy).
My laptop isn't an expensive one (although, of course I wouldn't want to lose it). I am taking it so that I can download my digital camera photos really (don't have a card for it), because I'm likely to take thousands of pics! Other than that, I'll need to access the internet (from anywhere will do) - just to clear out the blasted spam from my email accounts - or the accounts will be filled and unavailable to 'proper' emails. Sign of the times <sigh>
wildblueyonder is offline  
Aug 9th, 2004, 10:55 AM
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Be careful with dial-up service from a hotel rooms. Besides the fact that you are paying for the service, most hotels in US have learned how to fatten their bottom line every time a guest picks up a phone.

Why don't you take your laptop to a computer store/center in your town and ask to have it outfitted for wireless connection, if it's not already. Once in the US, the best option and the most HotSpots are offered by www.t-mobile.com. Many airports are wired, many hotel chains are getting there, and if all else fails, the local Starbucks(most) or a number of McDonalds(new ones are being added every day) are wired. T-Mobile sells different packages, ranging from pay as you go to a yearly contract. You don't have to know anything, or sign up before you hit a HotSpot. If your laptop is wireless ready and you are around a HotSpot (any company) all you need to do is hit your browser icon and the computer will take care of the rest. You will be directed to the available connection provider with explantaion of any charges if any, as some are provided free. Only then you provide your CC number and you are ready to surf. The reason I mention T-Mobile is that they are the biggest provider all over the country as far as I know, but if you happen to be directed to a JoeShmoe.com operation for $10 per day, it's safe as well. I would not worry too much, just make a economic decision if it's worth paying whatever $ at the momement if all you need is few minutes. With T-Mobile pacakges, you will be able to surf in multiple places at any time. Look at their web site for the thousands of locations they offer HotSpots and the different package.

The other possibility is Ethernet connection offered in many hotel rooms. Somebody already explained that to you above, but it basically works the same way. All you need is a Ethernet port on your laptop, Ethernet cable and a hotel that offers this service in their room. It's a dedicated high-speed line that once you plug into and click on the browser icon, you will be told what charges are associated with using the service and you have a choice of either charging it to your room or paying with a CC.

I would stay aawy from a dial-up connections as they will get expensive, and besides they are slooooow.

Have a great trip!
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Aug 9th, 2004, 11:06 AM
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Here is a link to T-Mobile service plans:

https://selfcare.hotspot.t-mobile.com/services_plans.do


and this page searches for the thousands of locations around US and the world:

https://selfcare.hotspot.t-mobile.com/locations/viewLocationMap.do
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Aug 9th, 2004, 11:08 AM
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I just went to www.compusa.com and clicked on the "networking" link. I found wireless for $40 before rebates (D-Link DWL-650 Air 2.4GHz Wireless CardBus Adapter, 802.11b) , and wired for $30 before rebate (D-Link Express EtherNetwork DFE-690TXD 10/100BaseT PC Card Ethernet Adapter). You should find similar prices in a COMPUSA store, or similar chains. I don't know if you'd be able to get the rebates, which would drop the prices even further, but the $90 for the wired device is totally out of line.
rb_travelerxATyahoo is offline  
Aug 9th, 2004, 11:46 AM
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And here is a hint for you or everybody else. Some airports are totally wired, as in DFW and mostly wired as in ORD, but the ones that are not, try to find AA, Delta, or United Clubs. Just be close to the front door of the clubs and you should be able to get a good signal and if you sign up with T-Mobile, you can surf. You are not really "stealing" anything as you still have to pay for the connection, it's just that the clubs hace the only signal available and you "happen" to be catching it.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Aug 9th, 2004, 01:01 PM
  #11  
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Would something like this do me??
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...496357998&rd=1

Thanks for all the info and hints about the wireless access. I'll look into all that tomorrow. I don't know if my poor old battery would last very long, that's the trouble!! (Soooo ancient - but very friendly!

wildblueyonder is offline  
Aug 9th, 2004, 01:15 PM
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P.S.

I thought that local calls were free in the USA - so that, if you had internet dial access numbers which were local (as given out by Tempest), then you wouldn't have to pay anything (on top of the fee charged by Tempest, that is). But I have this wrong? (I wouldn't dream of trying to dial in using my UK server - would cost an absolute fortune!)
wildblueyonder is offline  
Aug 9th, 2004, 01:53 PM
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wildblueyonder,


I don't know for sure about UK, but every laptop sold in US is dual voltage ready. All I or any Ameican needs when traveling to just about any corner in the world is a plug adapter. Plug your laptop in and you are ready to rock. The US version of the power source will say something like (Input 110/240V) blah, blah, blah. If yours have someting similar, which I think it does, then just buy a plug adapter (not a converter), and you are ready to be on line, watch a movie on the laptop's DVD player, listen to your stored music, etc., for the duration of your trip.

Whether you want to stay on line for your entire vacation is a different topic.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Aug 9th, 2004, 03:08 PM
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That adapter should be just fine. Just remember to confirm that the hotel you go to has a high speed ethernet connection.

As for the question regarding local calls, they are free pretty much everywhere in the United States. However, most hotels here in the US charge quite a bit for any type of call, local or long distance. Make sure to check on that as well before you use dial-up from your hotel room.
islandboy81 is offline  
Aug 9th, 2004, 05:35 PM
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I am in The St Regis Washington at the moment... It is sort of a high end hotel and has high speed access. I was at an Embassy Suites in Orlando last week and there was no high speed, only a dial up connection to my own ISP.
Both hotels charge 1.50 for local calls and the .10 a minute after 60 minutes.
You can buy a month of service with IOLS that will work with local phone numbers all over the US.
http://www.iols.com/access/index.html
I have used this service for 4 years all over the country without ever having a problem.
I have a Tecra 9100 which replaced my old 8000! Basic laptops but real workhorses!
TxTravelPro is offline  
Aug 9th, 2004, 09:05 PM
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If your hotels are in major population centers, most likely dial-up numbers for internet would be local numbers. As already pointed out, some hotels do not have free local calls. In addition, sometimes the access number to dial is NOT a local call, even tho it may be in the same area code. A good example is here in the Adirondacks of New York. Most dial-up numbers will be for Albany, Schenectady, Troy, & Plattsburg areas, leaving lots of towns with no local number.

The link you provided (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...496357998&rd=1) is exactly what you could use, in fact I used the same model. My only complaint was it was easy to forget the "dongle". Don't forget to get a network cable too if you buy it.
rb_travelerxATyahoo is offline  
Aug 10th, 2004, 02:20 AM
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I'm a bit confused here (sorry!) The card which is for sale on eBay (url above) has a lead 'coming out' of the card (that's how it looks!) - so what does it plug into? Whereas, a card like this one here http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/s...tml?NGR-604073
Has an RJ-45 connector in it - so that something has to be plugged *in*, so the opposite to the other one?
What kind of lead would I need? Where would it go from and to?
What I am not grasping, is what the set-up is like for the high speed internet access at the hotels. I don't want to arrive and have the wrong bits!
(Thanks very much for your patience!)
wildblueyonder is offline  
Aug 10th, 2004, 02:35 AM
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The 2 cards are basically the same. The difference is that you would need to buy the cable for the NovaTech deal, whereas the cable is include with the e-Bay deal.

If the hotel offers Ethernet option there will be a dedicated plug that looks like a bigger phone type plug. As explained before, all you need to do is to plug it in, and click o your web browser and the procedure and cost will be explained to you.

I would still go with the wireless option. If your hotels doesn't have it available, most of the Starbucks in every city do. The Ethernet option is mostly available in business type hotels.

Ultimately, I carry both cards and I'm good to go about 95% of the time anywhere in the world. The other 5% of the time, I still need to do the dial up, and that's when I realize how lucky we are to have high speed.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Aug 10th, 2004, 03:45 AM
  #19  
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Ah thanks AAFF. Got confused when jb said I needed a cable with the ebay one. I've emailed that seller actually - so hopefully he'll get back to me (there is one on buy now for £9.99 which is reasonable - especially compared with PCWorld!)
Would this wireless card do the trick?
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...113630286&rd=1

Thanks! REALLY looking forward to our trip - just hope the West Nile mozzies stay clear!
wildblueyonder is offline  
Aug 10th, 2004, 04:52 AM
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Yes it would.

Good luck and have a grear trip!
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  

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