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    Wireless Internet for Laptop??

    I will be starting my first graduate online class on July 13. This means that the time has come for me to figure out how to make sure I can connect to the internet while working at the gym - otherwise, I will NOT have enough time to complete all the classwork.

    I have an Asus EeePC laptop which has a built-in wireless connection. The building the gym is located in, has several free wi-fi signals, but as of several months ago, the only way to connect to any of them is to go into the handicap shower stall in either of the locker rooms.

    So, I have been trying to figure out what I can do to get a connection.

    One option I have found is getting a USB driver which connects to anywhere a cell phone would be able to connect.

    At&t has a plan for 5gb/month costing $60.
    Verizon Wireless has two plans: 2.5gb/month for $40; 5 gb for $60

    Every other plan I've seen is for other countries (India and Australia mainly!)

    If I went with this option, I would more than likely need to cancel my current DSL at home, which is $20/month for unlimited usage. However, I am worried that 5 gb/month won't be enough, between my normal usage + online coursework. I just can't see paying $80/mo though ...

    A second possible option is getting some kind of a signal booster/enhancer so that my computer will be able to "catch" the free wi-fi which currently can only be "caught" in the bathroom. This would be a one-time cost - just however much the booster would cost.

    Does anyone know anything about this???

    The third option, is to work a deal with one of the companies that have a locked wi-fi. Unfortunately, E, the gym manager, has been attempting to do this for at least two-months and has gotten nowhere.

    So, please, if you know of any other possible options, or see something I may be missing, help a poor grad student out here.

    #2
    Originally posted by FrugalTexan75 View Post
    I will be starting my first graduate online class on July 13. This means that the time has come for me to figure out how to make sure I can connect to the internet while working at the gym - otherwise, I will NOT have enough time to complete all the classwork.
    Will you be at the gym 24/7? Why not just use your home DSL to do your course work?

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by ActYourWage View Post
      Will you be at the gym 24/7? Why not just use your home DSL to do your course work?
      OP works at the gym, so probably spends a fair number of hours there.
      Steve

      * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
      * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
      * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

      Comment


        #4
        The connection through your cell phone might be a lot slower than your DSL at home... You may want to try it and see how good it is before cancelling your DSL. Depending on the cellular network, you might experience a 50% or more slowdown.

        On the other topic, you can sometimes get an external wired antenna you can plug into your WiFi card. Though, if it's an internal card it may not be possible. An option is to buy an external card that allows using an antenna, and disable your internal card.

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          #5
          If you haven't already, you should do a hard boot (power off) on the wifi equipment at the gym. Maybe its just hung up and you can restore signal.

          Comment


            #6
            My first step would be to try a "high power" USB wireless card with an external antenna. They can be had for pretty cheap, and usually offer GREATLY increased wireless reception over the internal cards in most laptops. They run at a higher power (and thus, have a longer range) and have external antennas that help pick up more signals.

            I bought one made by "RealTek" so I could get better signal in my apartment (I only picked up one unlocked network, and not very good). After installing the included driver and disabling the internal wireless on the laptop, I picked up about 3 or 4 additional networks and had "good" or "strong" signal from all of them.

            This is the one I got. There is another versions that is slightly less portable.

            Comment


              #7
              If you can only get wireless in certain areas, it means the problem is signal strength.

              The ways to "fix" it is to either boost the router's signal transmission, set up a repeater to increase coverage, and/or boost the signal of your laptop's reception.

              The last option is probably your most realistic one, but I'm not sure how far you're willing to go with this one... because the most effective way to boost your reception is to hack a giant antenna onto your laptop. (Edit: Oops, the USB route would be easier though. )

              You will also want to check with ASUS support to make sure you have the latest updated wireless driver, which may improve your stability and reception as well. This is less effective, but at least you don't have to cut or glue anything.

              Ideally, you'll want to do both. Good luck!
              Last edited by Broken Arrow; 06-19-2009, 09:43 AM.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Broken Arrow View Post

                The last option is probably your most realistic one, but I'm not sure how far you're willing to go with this one... because the most effective way to boost your reception is to hack a giant antenna onto your laptop. (Edit: Oops, the USB route would be easier though. )
                For what it's worth, with the USB adapter I mentioned earlier and a Cantenna I built for about $5 I can pick up networks that are ~1.5 city blocks away (with a clear line of sight).

                Comment


                  #9
                  Thanks everyone!

                  I am at the gym 35 - 38 hours a week, and have LOTS of thumb twiddle time.

                  I think I may try the option Red92s linked to of the RealTek - as long as I don't have to install any software. (Can't install software on my netbook.) The price sure sounds right to me.

                  If that doesn't work, then I'll have to keep looking.

                  Boosami, that is a good point about the usb/cell phone connection being a lot slower than DSL. I'm hoping I won't have to go that route for many reasons.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by FrugalTexan75 View Post

                    I think I may try the option Red92s linked to of the RealTek - as long as I don't have to install any software. (Can't install software on my netbook.) The price sure sounds right to me.
                    Pretty much any add-on USB adapter is going to require you to install the drivers. Why can't you install things on the netbook? If it's just the lack of a CD drive, I'm sure they can be downloaded.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by FrugalTexan75 View Post
                      (Can't install software on my netbook.)
                      Sure you can. DD got a netbook a couple of weeks ago and we've installed a number of programs so far by downloading them. Pretty much all software drivers are available online. In fact, even if you have a CD drive, you shouldn't use the drivers that come on the CD with a new product. You should always get the most current version from the company's website.
                      Steve

                      * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                      * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                      * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by disneysteve View Post
                        Sure you can. DD got a netbook a couple of weeks ago and we've installed a number of programs so far by downloading them. Pretty much all software drivers are available online. In fact, even if you have a CD drive, you shouldn't use the drivers that come on the CD with a new product. You should always get the most current version from the company's website.
                        You are right, most programs will have downloadable drivers. In fact, I asked the seller of the signal booster thingy if there was a downloadable driver available, and there is one.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          When you decide to fix up a wire less internet connection to your computer, be sure to get the one that has wider range of network.

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