A Wifi Option for RVers — Larry Dyer

Autonet Mobile is a handy way to get onto the internet. I have been using the system since October 2009. When we are in the States we can use it in our 5th wheel that is parked at Senator’s Wash or in our Jeep whenever we are out off-roading, geocaching or even just out for a ride.

At present it’s only available in the US. The company doesn’t offer a “vacation” plan yet but may introduce one at a later date. It is also hoping to have coverage in Canada by the end of this year.

Autonet is a 12-volt system that is ideal for use in RVs. It has a 110 volt to 12 volt converter so you can also use it at home.  Autonet runs off cell phone towers so it will only work if you can get a cell signal.

A monthly subscription is $29 for 1 GB (gigabyte) of data and $59 for 5 GBs. The 1 GB plan would be about 350,000 1-page e-mails. Larger files — like photos, movies, videos and songs — use much more data. Autonet Mobile also works with Macs, laptops, PDAs, iPhones and the like.  Although you are using cell towers you don’t need a cell phone contract — your Autonet contract provides internet access.

Autonet is fast and easy to use. There’s no software to install and no setup required. It works like any other wifi hotspot. The connection is secured with WEP encryption. (Public hotspots are unsecured.)

The router — the device that sends and receives the wifi signal — is about 6 x 8 inches and has 2 short moveable antennas on the back. And since the system is wireless, there’s no wire connecting the router and the computer. As long as your computer is within about 100-150 feet of the router you can still send and receive.

If you are on a 3G network — which refers to the technology used by some cell towers  — your download speeds will range from 400-800 kbps (kilobytes per second) and upload speeds from 128-300 kbps. If you are not on a 3G network your speeds will be slower. Either way it will still be faster than dial-up.

The system is available in the US direct from Autonet Mobile, some electronic stores and private vendors.

For more information check out the company website here.

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