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 Post subject: Need 3G mobile hotspot with AT&T and external antenna
 Post Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 3:29 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:47 pm
Posts: 94
Presently I'm camped out in the Rockies of Colorado and I'm looking at the DataConnect 3G Hotspot from AT&T here:

http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-phone- ... -plans.jsp

I need an external antenna to get my cell phone to work. So I'm pretty sure I'll need the "mobile hotspot" (I think that's the correct term) to accept an external antenna.

Unfortunately, all the mobile hotspots available from the carrier (AT&T) manufactured by Novatel do not accept an external antenna. Customer service said I could get another make of hotspot and just put the AT&T sim card in it and it should work.

The type of mobile hotspot is also described here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellular_router

It can also be referred to as a "compact", "integrated", or "embedded" cellular router. Customer Service over at AT&T referred to it as a GSM router. Note this is not the kind of router that takes a USB cellular modem or aircard to make it work.

I've been looking all over eBay, and I can't find anything with an external antenna.

My questions:

Do you know of any such mobile hotspot that will take an external cellular antenna?

I know that AT&T and T-Mobile use the same frequencies and that phones can be "unlocked" and made to work with either carrier. Can I take a T-Mobile mobile hotspot, "unlock" it and then make it work with an AT&T sim card to be an AT&T mobile hotspot? I found a T-Mobile mobile hotspot with an external cellular antenna:

http://cgi.ebay.com/D-Link-Wireless-G-R ... 2a12264357

Also, I've seen these antenna cables that attach to a cell phone with an adhesive. I've never tried one and have been pretty sceptical about whether they would work or not. Do you think it would be worthwhile to try attaching one of those to the hotspot?

And, I'm sure I won't do this, but I'd be interested in your answer. Do you think sticking one of those "gen x" sticker antennas:

http://cgi.ebay.com/12-Internal-Cell-Ph ... 3ef5427620

would do anything? They've worked on some of my cell phones.

It would be so awesome to get internet out here!


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 Post subject: Re: Need 3G mobile hotspot with AT&T and external antenna
 Post Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 4:58 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 11:44 am
Posts: 5829
I wouldn't recommend that mobile hotspot, it is way to expensive for temporary use. A much better, less expensive option is to use your existing cellphone as a modem (often called "tethering"), which can be extremely effective if you have 3G service. I started doing this back in 1998 with a Nokia 6160 analog phone connected to a 3COM PCMCIA modem card in my laptop, which offered a 9600bps connection. Since then I've always been able to go online via my cellphone.

With modern phones and USB/Bluetooth tethers, the connection speeds can be up to 2Mbps or more. For example, I recently spent a week on the road teaching, and was online via my AT&T 3G cellphone at up to 2Mbps (I was on the top floor of a building and had a great connection). As a test I connected via my cellphone while I was writing this reply, and with only 3 out of 4 bars I still get pretty good results:

Image

If you are using ATT, you can go online via a USB connected non-smartphone by merely adding a $10 per month data plan. Technically that type of use is "unathorized", but even if you choose one of their authorized tethering plans it is much cheaper to use your existing phone and add the tethering option vs. buying some new device complete with a separate plan. Scott.


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 Post subject: Re: Need 3G mobile hotspot with AT&T and external antenna
 Post Posted: Fri Jul 15, 2011 1:12 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:47 pm
Posts: 94
Presently I'm using Tracfone, but I suppose I could switch to AT&T. I can get a 450 minute Nation Plan from AT&T for $39.99 add $15.00 for an unlimited data plan. So it works out to $54.99/month doing it that way. Definitely keeps equipment costs down.

Thanks for addressing my problem. Bob.


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