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New incar wi-fi setup

I have been reading all the posts about using Sprint, Cingular, Verizon, etc.. data cards for high speed internet connections. It seems the card srun about $200-$250 and unlimited data plans are anywhere from $40 up to $80 and you have to sign at least a 1 year and most of the time a 2 year contract and the card only uses that company's towers am I right??

Well my chase partner found this new "gadget" that Avis is putting in all its cars that promises wi-fi anywhere you go. It uses any and all available cell towers no matter what company it belongs to and has a 95% coverage rate for the US (so they say). The cost of the "gadget" is $399 and then its $50 a month for unlimited data. It plugs into the cigarrette lighter and then becomes a wi-fi hotspot able to connect multiple devices so I guess anybody in the car can use it at the same time. It is suppose to have a range of 100ft so unles you secure it I guess anybody pulling up next to you could use it also. High speed access ranges from 600Kbps-800Kbps. Upload speeds about 200Kbps.

My teammate (Phil) loves trying new toys and has already pre-ordered it and we will be testing it out during our chase vacation in both vehicles and I will let you know how well it works. he also has a Sprint card as backup but this seems cheaper per month and should have better coverage so if it works then we will be dumping the Sprint card and if it is as good as advertised then I will be able to run Gr3 and wont need WxWorx either. Should pay for itself in a few months. It isnt available to the public until May sometime.

Here is a link to their webpage.
http://www.autonetmobile.com/wp/service

Like I said we will let you know how our field testing goes.
 
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That sounds so cool... I will be looking forward to hearing from you later on about how well thsi works in the field.
 
Are you aware Jay if they require a contract? I was unable to discern this from their website..



I have been reading all the posts about using Sprint, Cingular, Verizon, etc.. data cards for high speed internet connections. It seems the card srun about $200-$250 and unlimited data plans are anywhere from $40 up to $80 and you have to sign at least a 1 year and most of the time a 2 year contract and the card only uses that company's towers am I right??

Well my chase partner found this new "gadget" that Avis is putting in all its cars that promises wi-fi anywhere you go. It uses any and all available cell towers no matter what company it belongs to and has a 95% coverage rate for the US (so they say). The cost of the "gadget" is $399 and then its $50 a month for unlimited data. It plugs into the cigarrette lighter and then becomes a wi-fi hotspot able to connect multiple devices so I guess anybody in the car can use it at the same time. It is suppose to have a range of 100ft so unles you secure it I guess anybody pulling up next to you could use it also. High speed access ranges from 600Kbps-800Kbps. Upload speeds about 200Kbps.

My teammate (Phil) loves trying new toys and has already pre-ordered it and we will be testing it out during our chase vacation in both vehicles and I will let you know how well it works. he also has a Sprint card as backup but this seems cheaper per month and should have better coverage so if it works then we will be dumping the Sprint card and if it is as good as advertised then I will be able to run Gr3 and wont need WxWorx either. Should pay for itself in a few months. It isnt available to the public until May sometime.

Here is a link to their webpage.
http://www.autonetmobile.com/wp/service

Like I said we will let you know how our field testing goes.
 
Sounds very interesting, especially if that's the pricing and you don't have to contract with individual providers. Avis supposedly was set to roll it out to the public last month: http://stormtrack.org/forum/showthread.php?p=118079&highlight=avis#post118079
I hope I'm wrong, but it sounds a little bit like it's "too good to be true". The part I'm skeptical about is that they will be able to get broadband accounts with competing providers that would undercut their own service.

I'm planning to bring a Verizon aircard and Linksys mobile wi-fi router on the road. The differences between what Autonet Mobile seems to offer and the Verizon setup are that my service costs $60/month with a contract and another Verizon plan, has a more limited coverage than what Autonet Mobile claims, the router costs $250, and I can plug the aircard into a computer without being tied down to the wi-fi.
 
I have been waching this company for awhile, I am concerned this device is delayed as promised AND that there seems to be no option for external antennas...
 
I haven't heard anything about contracts but like I said Phil has already ordered his and soon as we test it I will let you know the details.

The one big advantage it seems to have is it isnt tied to 1 carrier so if you dont have coverage with Cingular you might hit a Sprint or Verizon tower so you still have coverage. It is alot like my old Cellular 1 account. It was a generic company so it used all towers available and they pay that company for usage. My cell coverage was much better then compared to Cingular I have now. I always had a signal.

As for Antennas, since this thing looks like an actual router and has 2 antennas already sticking up I dont see much need for another external antenna. It will probably depend on where you set it. I will probably have it somewhere up higher instead of something like under the seat. Maybe even the dash. We will test it in different spots of the truck to compare.

I do know Avis did alot of testing with this and seemed quite impressed or else they wouldnt be installing it in all their cars. I think that is the delay in getting itto the public is they have to fill Avis' contract 1st and they are making them as fast as they can.

I am not trying to promote this in any way. I have nothing to do with them. I just think it may be a cool device that in the long run is better than some of these cell cards and plans we are using now. Phil and I are the lab rabbits here and I will post a full report once we use it as a courtesy to my fellow chasers :).No need for anybody else to get it until we have an idea that it lives up to the hype.
 
The question I have is, why would I get the Verizon (or Sprint or etc.) service for more money with a contract when I could get the Autonet Mobile gizmo for less money and never have to worry about the usage or coverage limitations of my specific carrier?

I'd think there almost has to be a way to plug in an external dual-band cell antenna somewhere. Has anyone seen a spec sheet?
 
The question I have is, why would I get the Verizon (or Sprint or etc.) service for more money with a contract when I could get the Autonet Mobile gizmo for less money and never have to worry about the usage or coverage limitations of my specific carrier?

I'd think there almost has to be a way to plug in an external dual-band cell antenna somewhere. Has anyone seen a spec sheet?

Thats the whole point is you wont have to pay for those cell data plans that have more limited coverage. We all know that wireless internet will end up covering the hole country in the next few years. This is just the next step. I am sure the cell companies arent very pleased and wont be sharing this information with anybody.. It hurts their plans.

And we will let you know about any external antenna jacks soon as we get our hands on the actual product.
 
From the website:

"We run over both 3G and 2.5G (EVDO, 1xRTT) cellular Data networks."

This means that the device was designed for CDMA type towers only (ie. Verizon, Sprint), not GSM based towers (ie. Cingular). Still makes for an interesting device, however this might be a factor for some users depending on provider coverage in their area.

I'll be interested to see how this pans out..
 
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From the website:

"We run over both 3G and 2.5G (EVDO, 1xRTT) cellular Data networks."

This means that the device was designed for CDMA type towers only (ie. Verizon, Sprint), not GSM based towers (ie. Cingular). Still makes for an interesting device, however this might be a factor for some users depending on provider coverage in their area.

I'll be interested to see how this pans out..

Given that it uses EVDO and 1xRTT...it's basically a sprint card on steroids. My guess is the only difference is the new in-car system has a built in amp. You'll probably do just as good with a sprint card and amp which will likely cost you the same as the in-car system.
 
Given that it uses EVDO and 1xRTT...it's basically a sprint card on steroids. My guess is the only difference is the new in-car system has a built in amp. You'll probably do just as good with a sprint card and amp which will likely cost you the same as the in-car system.

Many EVDO devices will "roll back" to 1xRTT (EVDO is an enhancement to 1x) if that's all that is available, so that aspect of this device is nothing new. I would personally be a bit cautious since there's not a lot known about this company yet, the service or the device. Who says there's an amp for instance?

Things I would want to know:

-Does this company have roaming agreements with all the CDMA providers out there or only specific ones? Which ones?
-Can I use an external antenna? Real world experience has indicated that this is a necessity out in remote areas. I'm sure this device works great in populated areas but the plains might be a different story..I'd like my antennas outside please.
-I like to know the specs of any device I'm buying before I make my mind up...hopefully these will be forthcoming or available on request.

I'll look forward to hearing about actual experiences with this vs. other setups.
 
Cingular is currently the largest network. My friend Gene uses it and he can hold a connection for hours almost anywhere. Much better than my Verizon. It is also much faster than Verizon as he has broadband 100K+ almost anywhere - even out in the boonies.

I think any serious tool such as this would be required to also utilize the Cingular network; otherwise there will be problems and holes in coverage.
 
Cingular is the best that I've seen. Chris and Tyler both have Cingular for mobile internet and we've had good success with it... even up in NW Kansas and other places we thought wasn't possible to get internet connection.

I have everything to get connected with Cingular, just not the service yet. I just wish I didn't have to get sucked into a 2 year contract..
 
Cingular is currently the largest network. My friend Gene uses it and he can hold a connection for hours almost anywhere. Much better than my Verizon. It is also much faster than Verizon as he has broadband 100K+ almost anywhere - even out in the boonies.

I think any serious tool such as this would be required to also utilize the Cingular network; otherwise there will be problems and holes in coverage.

I don't know Bill, I don't know if it was the Nextel merger of the new roaming agreement with Alltel, or the new towers, or a combination of them all, but Sprint has TREMENDOUSLY improved areas where we have data. In fact, I have found VERY FEW and SMALL holes so far in Texas this year. And this is in areas across the rolling plains where we had NADA before. Needless to say, I have been very impressed with Sprint's efforts in that area.

Looking at the map on that company Jay posted, I am fairly sure that is a Sprint map.
 
I contacted AutoNet a month or two ago. I was interested in it, but wasn't going to preorder it if it was going to end up coming out after I was already done chasing anyway. I also asked about contracts.

They gave me a blanket reply with all of the EXACT same information that's on the main page of their site.

Based on that interaction and lack of individual detail, I won't be preordering like I had planned. It was clear I had already visited the site, since I used the form on their site to contact them. So, why would I want the same information I had already read?
 
I don't know Bill, I don't know if it was the Nextel merger of the new roaming agreement with Alltel, or the new towers, or a combination of them all, but Sprint has TREMENDOUSLY improved areas where we have data. In fact, I have found VERY FEW and SMALL holes so far in Texas this year. And this is in areas across the rolling plains where we had NADA before. Needless to say, I have been very impressed with Sprint's efforts in that area.

Looking at the map on that company Jay posted, I am fairly sure that is a Sprint map.

I'm not really up on the latest with Sprint. I know I used to not like them, but sounds like that could have changed. I guess I'm just impressed with Cingular compared to what with my Verizon setup. Gene only pays $25/month unlimited data too. I know Cingular since it's merger with AT&T now claims the largest network. From that I am assuming it would be desirable to include them. Guess we'll have to see how this thing develops. If they can make a box that would truly work with all these networks that would really be sweet.

As for me and Verizon....it works ok for me. My data comes out of my voice minutes with no roaming or long distance. They no longer offer my arrangement. I use it because it works. It's a bit slower but the tech is stable. There are definite holes though in the areas in remote parts of Tx that drive me crazy. Probably I should switch to another provider, but I'd have to do the whole new contract, new equipment, and new set up and troubleshooting. Usually nowadays I mostly just do my detailed forecast in advance and know where I want to go. Along the way I can pick up an occasional wifi signal for free if I wish. If I really want an internet product I can usually connect and get something. Threatnet in the background lets me know what's generally happening, and helps also in navigation. Gene runs internet on the side a lot though using other radar products to interrogate a cell to see what it looks like compared to the Threatnet blobs. There is certainly value in this from my experience.
 
Autonet Mobile

Kevin Myatt & I are headed out on May 13th leading a group from Virginia Tech thru the end of the month(just in time to enjoy the giant ridge now showing up in the GFS). I contacted the Autonet folks back in the winter, and they are providing us with a router to test for them while we are on the road(due to arrive this week). We will report coverage holes, etc. back to them. Like Jay who posted this thread, we can post a coverage review on ST since we may roll through the OH & TN Valleys on the way for chasers there. Here are some more details about the system (it evidently uses Verizon/Sprint/Nextel infrastructure):

http://www.macworld.com/news/2007/01/03/autonet/index.php

As Jay mentioned earlier, I think they are running a bit behind trying to produce units and are currently really busy. It took a while to reach someone (I e-mailed and called), but when I did get through they were extremely nice and easy to work with.

We also use Verizon Wireless, and will continue with that this year with a couple of Gordon Spencer's Max Signal amps, which have been impressive in local test runs here in VA. In years past, we've had a connection when we needed it with Verizon.

We will be driving two minivans with "VT" logos on the back. Find us and check out the rig if you like, and grab some free wi-fi on the road!

APRS:
http://www.findu.com/cgi-bin/find.cgi?call=KI4KZW-15&radar=***

Cheers!
icon7.gif
 
Autonet

Yeah John, I hope we can get enough info. to see how good the coverage actually is...coming from VA, I use Verizon (great coverage in the east), and typically do pretty well in the northern plains, but we haven't made it to TX chasing during our May window since 2003, & Verizon coverage seemed much spottier down there back then. I don't have any experience with Sprint/Nextel, so someone who uses Sprint may be able to give us some input on southern plains coverage...
 
The MacWorld info is somewhat of an amplification of the same PR from early January. The use of the Verizon/Sprint/Nextel networks is a consequence of the technology. I hope I'm wrong, but I really wouldn't count on renting this system unless you're a fleet owner or rental car customer -- and even the latter isn't available yet AFAIK. Here's why.

AFAIK an aircard requires a phone number, and is assigned by a carrier. The carrier manages the account according to the access terms it has negotiated with the other carriers which handle that sort of traffic. In other words, the internal aircard(s) are specific for and managed by specific carriers. All carriers are offering competitive broadband access plans at more than $50/month with a contract. They would be cutting their own throats if they gave Auto Mobile such a sweet deal that they could take a cut and offer month-to-month service at $50/month to individual accounts. Not going to happen IMHO.

FYI, found this useful site of a competitor(?) to Auto Mobile: http://www.internetinmotion.net/
 
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The MacWorld info is somewhat of an amplification of the same PR from early January. The use of the Verizon/Sprint/Nextel networks is a consequence of the technology. I hope I'm wrong, but I really wouldn't count on renting this system unless you're a fleet owner or rental car customer -- and even the latter isn't available yet AFAIK. Here's why.

AFAIK an aircard requires a phone number, and is assigned by a carrier. The carrier manages the account according to the access terms it has negotiated with the other carriers which handle that sort of traffic. In other words, the internal aircard(s) are specific for and managed by specific carriers. All carriers are offering competitive broadband access plans at more than $50/month with a contract. They would be cutting their own throats if they gave Auto Mobile such a sweet deal that they could take a cut and offer month-to-month service at $50/month to individual accounts. Not going to happen IMHO.

That's just a tech issue. I'm sure the companies could implement a number that can be registered on all providers. It would only be an issue of whether they would want to do this or not. AutoNet says they are the intermediary and have already arranged this. So...sounds like it will happen to me. The providers probably consider this additional niche income from their infrastructure for the time being as AutoNet would start with small market share. Most people wouldn't know about it for some time so it may be selling to people that wouldn't be using their service (Verizon, Nextel, Sprint) anyway.
 
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