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  1. #1
    Registered User Philip's Avatar
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    Default WiFi Access along AT

    After completing two back-to-back masters degrees I will be job hunting during my hike (SOBO 2010). This necessitates bringing a small netbook along on the trip.

    Can anyone tell me if availability of WiFi Internet access at businesses along the trail is fairly common, or do I need to carry my own wireless Internet card? Do any of the guides list WiFi specifically? I've got the Companion and the Data Book, and neither mention a word about it. The Companion does list places where computers are available, but nothing about Internet access itself.

    The card would cost me around $50 a month whether I use it or not, so of course I would rather not get one if I don't have to have it. Plus I would have to sign a 2-year contract when I'll only need it for the duration of my hike. Where I live (Houston), WiFi is everywhere and I use a cable modem at home.

  2. #2

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    I use a PDA with Wi-Fi on the trail and found many hostels down south have thier computers on wireless which you can tap into. Many motels also have Wi-Fi and you just need to get close to tap into them, if thier not locked. Most McDolands have Wi-Fi, but you have to buy into it. The farther north you go, the fewer open WiFi networks you will find.
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  3. #3
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    Check the ALDHA thru hiker guide. It does list trail towns where wifi is available.

    You do not have to pay for access at McDonalds if you have an AT&T account. My experience at McDonalds is they didn't even know they had it. You have to be lucky enough to find the one employee who can tell you what the password is.

    For some reason I always seem to have a connection in laundromats.

    From a Blackberry standpoint I can tell you that Cingular sucks and Verizon seems to have way more coverage that any other provider.
    Pain is a by-product of a good time.

  4. #4

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    Many coffee shops and most libraries have free wifi. Some libraries that didn't have wifi have computers you can use for free.

  5. #5
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    This is a good question. Hopefully the authors of the various publications will consider a more complete listing for wireless opportunities in trail towns.

    Perhaps the moderator of this thread can pass this along to ATTroll.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Most McDolands have Wi-Fi, but you have to buy into it. The farther north you go, the fewer open WiFi networks you will find.
    Hmmm......I've used McD's wifi all over the US and overseas. The only time I ever had to "buy into it" was in Ft. William, Scotland. We bought a cup of coffee and that was enough to get in but there was a time limit. I've never had to get a password from any one. Many Burger Kings have it free as well. Many hotels have caught on to people hijacking their wifi from the parking lots and have started encrypting it. If a business (coffee shop, cafe, bookshop) has a sticker in the window that says "Free wifi" then it's free. But if the sticker shows a provider's name, like AT&T or TMobile for instance, you're going to have to pay for it.
    "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."

  7. #7
    Registered User buzzamania's Avatar
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    I carried a blackberry storm on my most recent section and had spotty coverage but the wireless coverage was enough to warrant the weight. I was able to take pictures and video, call, text, upload pictures and browse the web freely while in my hammock each night. Loved it. Even if you carried an extra battery it would still weigh less than your netbook. I can't imagine a through hiker carrying even the smallest of netbooks. What does yours weigh?
    alifelongpursuit.blogspot.com

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Baggins View Post
    If a business (coffee shop, cafe, bookshop) has a sticker in the window that says "Free wifi" then it's free. But if the sticker shows a provider's name, like AT&T or TMobile for instance, you're going to have to pay for it.
    Good observation. You will save people time and money.

  9. #9

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    The only time I had wifi at McD's is when I had to pay $3 per hour through bongo or something.

    I'll see if the field editors can ask in their respective trail towns which establishments have it.

  10. #10
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Traditional WiFi unlocked - very hard to come by on the AT....

    Some phones have a new wifi that they can pick up from the towers and today I got several CNN video stories by cell phone with a earbud and watching the screen on a Nokia digital cell. I am still working on web pages on the same method. $15 a month on ATT above phone calls

    Media Net offers real time weather radar while hiking!
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Baggins View Post
    Hmmm......I've used McD's wifi all over the US and overseas. The only time I ever had to "buy into it" was in Ft. William, Scotland. We bought a cup of coffee and that was enough to get in but there was a time limit. I've never had to get a password from any one. Many Burger Kings have it free as well. Many hotels have caught on to people hijacking their wifi from the parking lots and have started encrypting it. If a business (coffee shop, cafe, bookshop) has a sticker in the window that says "Free wifi" then it's free. But if the sticker shows a provider's name, like AT&T or TMobile for instance, you're going to have to pay for it.
    McDonald's WIFI is provided by AT&T. Having AT&T for internet is how I knew they were in McDonald's to begin with. I certainly don't eat in them.

    http://attwifi.know-where.com/attwif...design=default
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  12. #12
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    Many of the 'trail towns' along the AT are so small that they lack the fast food and Starbucks locations that have WiFi. It makes more sense to use the easily available computers at public libraries, some hostels/motels, and similar locations than to carry a notebook. Wilreless reception from some providers is problematic as well.

    TW
    "Thank God! there is always a Land of Beyond, For us who are true to the trail..." --- Robert Service

  13. #13

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    As a practical matter I don't know how much job hunting you will be able to do on a thru.

    I use a netbook as my 2nd computer and I wouldn't dream of taking it on a thru.

    If you are really serious about job hunting I'd take a blackberry or something similar with cell phone technology to access the web.

    Personally, I'd do the thru or the job search. Not both.

  14. #14
    Registered User ragincajun's Avatar
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    im thinking of bringing computer but before i can decide we need a response from someone who actually carried a laptop the whole AT hike with info on how many times and how often he could tap into internet free even if it means camping in woods 40 feet behind a hotel , hey maybe we need someone to be thr first and post accurate info with locations along way

  15. #15
    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    As a person who just found a job, let me offer some advice: Finding a job is a job in itself. Sending out resumes is easy enough, it is being available for follow up phone calls, interviews , paper work, etc that really takes up the time.

    As someone mentioned, doing a thru and actively looking for a job may not be an easily viable solution.

    Good luck.
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  16. #16
    Registered User TheKO's Avatar
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    So your doing your thru hike and someone wants to interview you next week. What are you going to do? Run off trail and than automagically get travel to the destination and have a coat and tie ready to go in?

    Sorry - doing a thru and finding a job at same time doesn't make sense even if you have two "Masters" degrees!

  17. #17
    Registered User Cool AT Breeze's Avatar
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    Keep all that tech crap off the trail, please.
    The trail is ever winding and the party moves every night.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cool AT Breeze View Post
    Keep all that tech crap off the trail, please.
    Good luck with that.

  19. #19
    Ron Haven's Avatar
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    hikers,
    I have Wi-Fi at all three of my motels in Franklin,NC
    Budget Inn,Franklin Motel,Sapphire Inn

    I also have computers too.If my guest are not using them,I will allow you to use them even if you are not checked into a motel in Franklin like if you just come in to resupply.

  20. #20
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragincajun View Post
    im thinking of bringing computer but before i can decide we need a response from someone who actually carried a laptop the whole AT hike with info on how many times and how often he could tap into internet free even if it means camping in woods 40 feet behind a hotel , hey maybe we need someone to be thr first and post accurate info with locations along way
    Why bring it? You're in towns every few days with access?? If you need it that badly and cannot use a smartphone for it, you may need to rethink doing a major hike and concentrate on the job or whatever you need it for (which is understandable). The trail is going no where. Like I'm a writer (so phones are impractical). I have no contracts right now (finished my last book this week). So the time is open for me to hike. if I had a contract or "job", the hike would have gotten booted.







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