Connecting to the Internet ?

How to get online with your laptop and cell phone

Last summer (2005) I decided to buy a laptop computer and connect it to my cell phone so I could “cut the cord” and be free ... free ....... free as a bird, go anywhere I wanted and still get my internet fix each day..

I could see it now .... Sitting in my canoe with fishing pole in one hand and laptop in the other ... Sitting in the fast food drive through and surfing the net..

Oh such sweet dreams man’s follies does produce.

Then the problems started coming up like pop-up ads on a porn site..

Problem #1.
My cell phone was not compatible for connecting to a laptop.
Well .... OK, I ‘ll get a new phone, after all, I’ve had the old phone since the 1980’s.

So away I go to the cellular phone store.. Now I admit that I am sometimes TOO practical in certain situations.. Here’s a classic example...

If I am going to spend money on a new phone, it would be foolish to get just another phone that will be obsolete in six months, So I tell the clerk that I want the latest, fastest, smartest, top of the line phone on the market.

I walk out with the most expensive phone made. It sings, talks, dances, plays games, emails, surfs the net, tells me the time and wakes me up with an alarm, reminds me of things like appointments, takes pictures... And only God knows what else it does..

After several long and frustrating twenty hour days of reading the instruction book and trying to understand all the things it could do and wondering why I could not get it to do those things, even though I followed the directions to the letter ...........................

I finally return to the phone store with a booming headache, blood shot eyes and a nervous tick, where I exchange it for a different phone that has the things I need but none of the things I don’t.
It was also forty dollars cheaper.. That helped my headache..

Problem #2.
Now that I have the proper cell phone, I needed the cord to connect the laptop and phone together.
WHAT .... $40.00 !!! Are you people crazy ?!?!?!!!!

I don’t want a cord long enough to reach from the computer to the telephone office, just to the cell phone.. Do you have a shorter on that cost less ?
Harummmmp.... some sales people have no sense of humor.

Problem #3.
At last, ..... I am now a broke but happy camper, I have a new phone, a new laptop and two foot of gold called a data cord.

I install the software CD that came with the data cord.
Faithfully following the directions precisely, I make my first attempt to get on the Internet..

I connect the phone to the laptop as per the instructions and click on my internet provider’s icon like I usually do when I want to connect to the Internet.

Nothing, Nada, El Zippo ...... No dial tone. No humming, buzzing, beeping or squealing like the desktop computer does when connecting..

After five days and many, many, many hours of talking with the cell phone company’s technicians, they give and I give up... They say it can’t be done.. I must have a bad computer..

I yield to the modern age of miracles and resign myself to being ignorant and start thinking about what I could do to make the old desktop computer faster, smarter and portable. Maybe a Honda generator in the car trunk ? Wonder how much that will cost ?

Then with the darkness of despair slowing enveloping me in its mist, an angel appeared and .... Ok, so it was the driver of the porta-potty truck ...... and said why not get an “Air Card”?
Huh ? Wadaheck is an air card ?

He explained, I listened, I searched, I found, I bought ... an “Air Card”
I had to travel over a hundred miles to find a store that had the air card in stock.

I once again read the instructions and installed the air card accordingly.. So I am now ready to try going on the internet again.. I click on my internet providers icon and ....
Nothing !! ..... Nope, nothing... What was I doing wrong... ?

Surely it had to be me................... It was.


I found out that when using an air card or cell phone with data cord connection, it worked a little different from the landline way of getting on the internet..

With a landline connection, all I had to do was click on my internet provider’s icon and it took me onto the internet highway and then to my ISP’s home page automatically..

But with an air card, you are taken to the internet highway and dropped off at a bus stop. And the bus is owned by the Cellular Company that controls your air card.

The bus cost me $59.99 per month to ride. But I can ride as many times and for as long as I want to. There are no limits with the $59.99 plan.

I then have to ride the cellular bus to my ISP’s web site and change busses.

Now I am on my ISP’s bus and can go anywhere I want to on the web. There are many different ISPs on the market... Some are free, some cost a little and some cost a lot.

Some ISPs are good to you and some are like a virus that takes over your computer and only allows you to do only what it wants you to do.. (most of you know the nAme Of the internets’s Largest virus, right?)

With my ISP’s bus I can send and receive emails, go to the malls, or just spend the day riding the ISP’s bus up and down the internet super highway, stopping along the way as I feel like it..

This is how your Cell Phone or Air Card works when you use them to get connected to the internet.

Now..... I‘m at last a happy camper... Where‘s my fishing poles,.... Maybe I should stop off at the fast food drive through and grab a lunch....

Happy New Year everyone,
Connecting to the Internet ?

Great storey John :laugh: I'm glad it worked out for you in the end, but for heaven's sake don't drop it overboard when fishing.


Senior Member
Connecting to the Internet ?

I know the feeling. I think it is partly an age thing......I normally have to call SON on stuff like this. Those that grew up with those darn things know just what to do, but for us folk that grew up with manual spreadsheets, pencils and paper, etc., it gets a little scary. I remember a few years back when my grand-daughter was around 3 years old (now 11) she could turn on the PC, boot it up, select a CD game, load it, play the game, save the game, remove the CD, and shut the PC down. I would just stand there with my mouth wide open and my brain starting to sizzle. I'd wait til no-one was around and try what she did and yea, you guessed it, I could not do it. WE now have our fourth grandchild who is now two months old, and I'm scared to death, that I might get an email from him any day now...... :) ;)
Re: Connecting to the Internet ?

I had a sweet hook-up with my old phone but when it came time to update phones I had to also buy a new cable $40 but the problem I had was that what was free with the old phone I now had to pay $59.00 per month. I looked at getting one of the cards but that was $49 per month and you had to sign a year long contract. I opted to pay the $59 per month for broad band for my phone via a cable but the advantage of this meathod it that I can discontinue it anytime with no contract. When I know I need it, I activate it and then stop it when I don't. So when I connet my phone to the computer it works very well, just like DSL. I used Verizon as they are nation wide and I have had no problems.
Re: Connecting to the Internet ?

This is great! I just went to the Cingular store yesterday to ask these same questions. The AirCard is the way to go. You CAN bypass the $59 monthly fee by buying the AirCard outright. Then when you desire to connect, just take the SIM card out of your regular cell phone and install it in AirCard and connect. They showed me how to do it and it worked great. You do have to have Cingular to use the Cingular AirCard though. Your minutes used are unlimited which is great and it works while you drive with one hand and surf with the other. Of course non of us do that, eh? LOL
RE: Connecting to the Internet ?

You know what is even better guys? The fact that you can now connect a device called slingbox to your TV at home and then install a piece of software on your computer. when you are on the road you can use the internet to watch all your channels from home and never pay for cable or sattelite. I saw someone using this a few weeks ago but Im not sure of all the details
RE: Connecting to the Internet ?

We used the Altel aircard and it worked with no problems up and running in minutes. Only issues were I had to download a special driver that allowed near dsl speeds. With Adaware software and Mcafee enterprise virus protection. You will be fine no popup's virus or anything else. Good Luck have fun!


Senior Member
Re: Connecting to the Internet ?

Problems I have found with wifi is that you get a weak signal if you are not parked next to the transmitting device. And also because of weak signals one has a problem with the net continuously shutting down due to loss of signal. Also we have found many places they say they have wifi and when you get there they say its down for one reason or another but they hope to have it up by the following monday sometime. Lastly were the places that said they had wifi and you get there and they say no its an internet service you have to buy at 20 dollars or more a month even though you are only a day or two there. Not withstanding are the ones that tell you this good stuff and will not refund your reservation so you can find a place that does have wifi that works.


Senior Member
Re: Connecting to the Internet ?

And, since most 'public' wi-fi are set up to be used by a lot of people, they often have little or no security. So it is possible that someone nasty could access your machine. Plus, if there are a lot of people using it, you might notice performance problems.

DL Rupper

Senior Member
Re: Connecting to the Internet ?

John, if you have your own security system/firewall installed on your laptop(McAfee), can they still acess your computer?
Hey utmtman, is that Utah Mountain Man? My wife and I are both from SLC. Can't wait to get back West.


Senior Member
Re: Connecting to the Internet ?

I don't know. Certainly it should reduce the odds. But any software may eventually prove to be vulnerable. Perhaps a hardware firewall would be even more secure (I've been hearing ads for it, but don't have a clue how effective it really is).
RE: Connecting to the Internet ?

If you have an unlimited EMedia package from Cingular and a compatible phone, there is a software package available called PDANet that I have been using for two years that works great. The program does all of the setup. Anywhere I can get a phone signal, I can get internet access.
RE: Connecting to the Internet ?

I use a 3G PC Card Modem, Sierra Wireless AirCard 860 by Cingular. I pay $70 per month for unlimited internet use. It's not the fastest (dial-up speeds) but it is nice to surf the net while the DH is driving us down the road.
When we get to our next stop I always say, "Wow! That didn't take very long did it?" and he says, "That's because you were on the internet the whole time and missed all the boring roadside sights!"
Ahh, I just love it!


Senior Member
Re: Connecting to the Internet ?

Hey DL yea thats Utah Mountain Man, born and bred. LOL I have hiked most every mountain in Utah, done some repelling and climbing on others. I have also fished almost every stream here as well. My daddy taught me how to live off the land and survive and I have spent many a time with those who are trying to keep up mountain man traditions. I live in East Carbon, down south of Price going towards Moab. Have the Tavaputs/Boulder Mountains as my back yard and the desert as my front.
Also retired Army, I take it you are retired Marine? hooaah
RE: Connecting to the Internet ?

I've been using the Verizon Wireless card in my laptop for Internet access for the past year. It basically works any where that a Verizon phone works. In over 40 mjaor US metro areas the signal is WiFi. In small towns and other places it provides speeds that are about twice as fast as dial up.

It costs me $79 a month and since I make my living online it is well worth it.

Happy connections.
Re: Connecting to the Internet ?

Pat, what are the connections speeds WiFi vs. Verizon network? Or is it one and the same? In other words, is it WiFi or nothing?


Senior Member
Re: Connecting to the Internet ?

Wi-Fi tends to be faster, but very short range. So if where you are has it, and it is working correctly, and you are in range, it can be about as fast as anything you are likely to have in your home. It may or may not be free. But that is a lot of ifs.

The Verizon speed varies from adequate (perhaps 3 times dial up) to pretty good in some locations (near to what I get with 1.5M DSL at home). I use my cell phone and a cord to the laptop, $60 a month for unlimited usage; more of a hassle than an air card, but no 2 year contract to sign.
Re: Connecting to the Internet ?

(( what are the connections speeds WiFi vs. Verizon network? Or is it one and the same? In other words, is it WiFi or nothing? ))

This is going to get very confusing, but hope fully, I can make it as clear as a muddy river.

WiFi and Air Cards are tottally different. They are not interchangeable. WiFi can be broadcast from a Air Card Modem, but it is not required to have a modem to use a Air Card.
The three major different EVDO speeds on a Air Card are:
1) 1xrtt -- this gives you national coverage at about 2-3 times dial-up speed.
2) Rev O -- this will get you into the 800-900 download speed range
3) Rev A -- this will get you a max of around 2.4 meg down load speed. This is the latest system being deployed by Verizon and Sprint. Both companies are working very hard to convert all there towers to Rev A as fast as possible.

For more information and a better understanding, go to the following links

Now isn't that just as clear as a muddy river?