Internet Access for Free

How will I connect to the internet?

(Putting aside the question of “Why should I connect to the internet?”)
Millenicom’s rates are now $89.99/mo for 20 gigs of data. That is way out of bounds.

This is a great how to from the Interstellar Orchard blog

  • For the US, internet use is the highest in the evening hours. More people in a campground will be online then than at any other time…which will slow it down. Try to arrange your schedule so that you’re getting online during non-peak times for better speeds and less disconnects.

  • When you’re choosing a site at a campground that has WiFi, pick one that is near to the source. Usually campground WiFi originates at the park office, but if you’re unsure, ask. The greater the distance the signal has to travel, the weaker it gets.

  • The same is true of obstacles, whether they be trees, buildings, or other RVs. Even the shell and other gadgets in your own RV hampers the signal to a certain extent. Set up your computer near a window, and away from other electronics. Try to position yourself so the signal doesn’t need to cut through other RVs to get to you.

  • Even if your campground has workable WiFi, make a point while you’re exploring the area to figure out backup places to get on the internet nearby, in case of an outage.

The equipment you have and how you use it can also play an important role in how effectively you can get online using public WiFi.

  • Think about battery time. You’re going to have a harder time finding places that have both WiFi and a place to plug your gadgets in. Make sure they’re charged before you leave your RV if your heading out to find WiFi. When you’re shopping for laptops or tablets, make good battery time one of your priorities. Run only necessary programs when you’re away from a power source to conserve battery.

  • Consider WiFi boosters if you routinely have problems picking up a signal. These come in all sizes and price ranges, from a USB plug-in smaller than your thumb to satellite look-alike arrays that stand on poles taller than a person. Important Note: These will help with the range at which you can pick up a signal, but not the speed. For instance, they’re helpful if you’re parked at a campground on the opposite end from where the WiFi originates and you’re having problems getting bars, but they will not help if you have enough bars but there are so many people on the WiFi that it’s slowed to a crawl.

These are important safety tips:

And last but not least, a couple precautions for those of you who are planning on relying primarily on public internet sources. Public internet is less secure than private sources. By which I mean it’s easier for other folks to spy and see what you’re doing on the internet, and possibly even easier to hack into your computer.

  • Invest in good anti-virus software, preferably the kind that includes anti-spyware capabilities too. I use Avast!, which is free and so far has done a fine job. Keep it up to date.

  • If your operating program doesn’t have a Firewall built in, get one of those too. Windows has a Firewall, and I’ve also installed ZoneAlarm (another free program) on top of that. Again, keep it up to date.

  • Be careful when accessing sites that have sensitive personal data on them, especially bank accounts and the like. Always look for the https:// in front of the URL instead of the standard http://, that means the site is more secure. I try to do my banking from private internet sources whenever possible to reduce the risk, such as visiting friends.

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