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Author Topic: Wireless USB Modem  (Read 8476 times)

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Re: Wireless USB Modem
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2012, 06:42:19 PM »
 Hi Rich,
 I need to go back to the beginning.
My current provider has NO OTHER options ... NO DSL or anything wireless ... nothing. nada, zip. And there is no competition. Dial-up only.

   The plan is to eliminate the phone line by switching to a US Cellular DATA plan with NO phone, no tethering, messaging, text or anything else ... data only.
They supply a small USB Modem that sticks into the PC.  Their website shows NO OTHER hardware, no antenna or cables and the SIM card cannot be removed to be used in another device. This arrangement ONLY works if I climb a tree.

What I want is to boost the reception to an acceptable level by putting the modem and/or antenna on the pole. I would need about 40' of usb or ethernet total.
Just not sure if the MODEM itself needs to be atop the pole, or if there is an external antenna with coax or something that would go up the pole keeping the actual modem inside.
   Some of the modem devices don't seem to be compatible with routers but there is a Hot Spot device that is availabl which might do the trick instead of a router.

So for now, we can disregard the router.
 The major issue is the laptop with the USB modem from US Cellular being able to see "over the hill".
Hoping they will be open tomorrow so I can talk to them.

Thanks Rich !
Russ :)

Offline Sam

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Re: Wireless USB Modem
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2012, 12:54:04 AM »
Russ, I have been in the same boat as you for many years. I've been down every road imaginable, trying to get some decent service. I tried the satellite option. I hated it. If it even LOOKED like rain, there would be no signal. This was NOT due to poor aiming of the dish, either. Even when I did get online, there was a cap on the amount of data you could receive within a period of time. Ping times were absolutely horrendous. Needless to say, satellite did not last very long at all. Next was ISDN. It is a digital line, rather than analog. Speeds were 12k. Pings were sub 100. cost was 40-50 a month if I remember correctly. Very doubtful that cost is still the same. Probably more like 80-90 month now. I currently have had wireless internet for about 2 years, and can't really complain. It's been a real life saver. Recently, we have upgraded to 4G with Verizon, and now surfing the web is a real breeze. As of this minute, pings are 75, download is 10Mbps, and upload is 12.5Mbps. I certainly cannot complain about that! No, it's not cable or fiber, or even DSL, but it sure is a helluva lot better than dial up or ISDN!! Before the 4G, (3G) pings were around 150-250, downloads around 2Mbps. I should note that I can see the towers from my window. Speeds will also vary according to "tower crowding" and signal strength. There are plans on the web for a simple DIY signal booster, called a "cantenna", which I did not have any luck with, or you can purchase a directional, or omni-directional antenna for your USB modem if need be. You have to purchase the correct antenna that works with the frequency of the service. Sprint uses a different frequency than Verizon, for instance. The only services that I know of are Sprint, and Verizon. US Cellular would not be an option, I think. Sprint data is capped at 80 GIG/month, and most likely only 3G in your area, and Verizon is capped at 20 GIG/month, 3G/4G. Cost is around 60-70/month. NOT CHEAP when compared to other /better services, but when that's your only option, you can take it or leave it. 20 GIG may seem like an unobtainable amount of data, but the reality is...when you have access to it, more than likely you will use every bit of it. The final word of advise is.....don't get service thru the phone companies, but rather a reseller. Millinicom charges a flat fee. No taxes. No access fees. No "this" fee. No "that" fee. No fee for 911 access or any bogus crap the cell companies would tack on. NO CONTRACT!!! You do have to purchase a USB modem, and pay some upfront fees, but after that, everything is good. If you get the Sprint plan, I think you can even get a modem off Ebay (or wherever) and save a few bucks.


Tech support is very good too, should you need it.

« Last Edit: December 26, 2012, 12:57:47 AM by Sam »
"CONFIDENCE: it's the feeling you experience before you fully understand the situation."
Re: Wireless USB Modem
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2012, 09:16:52 AM »
Howdy Sam !
Been there, done that, huh.
My dialup is at about 40 "K"bps. average. But, it's UNLIMITED. ha ha ha
Millenicom says NO service in my area.
USC looks to be the best, by just barely.
I'm looking at their 2G for $25 , $10 for 1G over.
I currently use about 2G and would have to resist going wild with it. (I know what you mean though)
Snow and ice today, might not get in to see them till it clears up.
Thanks for your input Sam.
Kindest regards,
Wireless USB Modem
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2012, 10:14:55 AM »
Not sure if I missed this going through the posts, but why not just get a signal booster? We use Wilson brand cell signal boosters for rural areas, in some cases going from zero connectivity to enough signal to get full speed data from the service provider.  See if you can find a local shop that will let you take one home and try it, or one that offers a try and buy
Re: Wireless USB Modem
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2012, 10:44:10 AM »
I'll certainly check into that !
Thanks for the info,

Offline RICH

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Re: Wireless USB Modem
« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2012, 11:22:03 AM »
Hey Russ,
Send me a PM with your telephone number ( not sure if i still have it ) and I'll give you call tonight / you pick the time.
At work got to go......

Offline RICH

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Re: Wireless USB Modem
« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2012, 12:59:37 PM »
USB modem ( the one from US Cellular) > amplifier > Mofi Router > connect wireless or by cable to any computer.

>.....means connects to

You need to have an adequate signal from US Cellular, the amplifier can improve that,once you have a strong signal the wireless router
can be used to connect to any pc / or pc's via CAT 5 cable or wireless.

Test that can be done:
 Mount the USB modem up on the pole / out the window on upper floor  and run a usb cable ( can buy a 15' for about $11) from the usb modem to the laptop. The usb cable is limited to about 15 feet but if it works may be able to eliminate an amplifier. The cable length can limit the data transmition rate from the router to the PC.  Certainly worth a try.

Re: Wireless USB Modem
« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2012, 06:18:29 PM »
Thanks Rich, the test yopu mentiomed is exactly what I was thinking earlier, but need more like 50'. I did a little scouting today.
OK, here's what I learned. The person at the USC store didnt know squat.
A techie friend said that a Wilson amp would work. It has 2 antennas, one picks up the weak signal, the other broadcasts the boosted signal. Then the USC modem receives the wireless boosted signal normally. No prob, except the $ of the amp. The modem must go to the PC ... no router. The PC can re-rout if necessary.(Or buy a modem for each PC)

The other thing to try is what I guessed first off, the modem on a pole ... ha , a "Modem Pole" ... convert the USB to Cat5 -50', back to USB then to the PC should work.

And, another thing to be aware of is that it's winter and the leaves are down. Summer might be a bit weaker signal ... or possibly NONE. It is borderline here.

The pole, cat5 cable and converters  is the cheapest experiment. I will try that next.

Re: Wireless USB Modem
« Reply #18 on: December 26, 2012, 06:47:53 PM »
Mention was also made of an "Active" USB extension cable ... as long as 32' I see, and they can be added in series as necessary.
Time will tell.
Experimenting when the weather breaks.
Out to shovel snow ... before it ices over.