#106 - Traveling with the Internet (Watt Thoughts) 7/1/2004
Many of you travel and would like to have the Internet available to you as you travel. Until very recently you only option was dial-up and to hope that you had a local dial-up number for where you were staying and that hotel surcharges were not real high.
Now you have several options depending on the hotel/motel. Many motels are now offering free high speed Internet access to their guests. Usually these can be spotted with a sign out front. Many of the chain motels are doing this but not consistently yet. These can be wireless or wired networks.
With a wired connection you will connect by merely plugging the cable they supply into your network port on your computer and you should access them in a minute or two. For most people this should work. If it does not, follow steps to setup new connection. The exception will be if you have a static IP address or you use wireless at your normal network (home or work). In either of these cases you can simply add another network connection and it should then work. To do that in Windows 2000 right click My Network Places, choose Properties, double click Make New Connection, click Next, choose Dial-up to Internet (I realize this will not be a dial-up but this is choice), click Next, choose the third option (I want to connect to the Internet thru a LAN), click Next, choose I connect thru a LAN, click Next, leave the defaults on proxy (un-check Manual Proxy if needed) and click Next, answer no on e-mail account (will setup Hotmail account if Yes), click Next, click Finish. It should now work. The steps will be similar in Windows XP.
If it is wireless and you have a wire\less network card in your PC it should work like wired. Most new laptops now have at least a 802.11b wireless card built in. A 802.11g card will also work as it can work with b or g. Wi-Fi and most public wireless networks are b. If you are buying a card buy g or the newer standard as it is adopted (letter not announced in late July, but likely will be n). If you have no wireless card, the motel will often let you use an access point they will check out to you. The other problem with motels using wireless is it may not reach all rooms. I stopped near Evansville Indiana on way back from Kiwanis international convention and clerk had to try three rooms for me until we found one I could use wireless in.
If motel does not offer free Internet access they might offer paid Internet access. I ran into this in Bowling Green Kentucky on same trip. (Two other hotels I was in on trip had free wired in room). The pay access works same except it will require you to pay when you get on before you can access Internet. I personally believe this choice will disappear soon as too many offer free. The pay may run you $9.95 per day and is same as in airports and McDonalds. I like free.
If they do not offer wired or wireless access then you are back to dial-up. Be careful with dial-up that you have a local number, know surcharges your ISP may charge for dial-up and lastly watch hotel time charges on calls. I have seen hotels that give free 20 minute calls, 60 minute calls, and unlimited. Know the rules and follow.
Ironically on my trip to international convention I ran into two hotels that gave me a laugh. I asked them if they had Internet access and they said yes you unplug phone cable, plug in your computer and dial 9 before number. This was two different brand hotels several hundred miles apart. I would not consider that as Internet access as that should be anywhere, but they are right technically. I guess hotels could go back in time and put pone phone in lobby and claim they have phone service. Ask on Internet if not advertised, often it is there for free.
For my training session at Jekyll Island in August I will be showing how you can do a web page for little cost if you have Word or WordPerfect and an Internet connection thru a ISP.
From the road (actually motel room)
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