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Old 05-07-2012, 09:32 PM   #1
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PNW Internet Cards

Does anyone have experience with either AT&T or Verizon laptop internet cards in the San Juans?

If, so do they work well?

And, do you have a feel for which one may work better than the other in that area?

Or, is there another company that I don't know about that should be considered?

And, what about Canada - Gulf Islands, Desolation Sound area?
Is Telus the recommended one? Or are there others that may work better?

I appreciate any info !
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:41 PM   #2
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While we don't use laptop internet cards we have found that Verizon's coverage in the islands is somewhat more comprehensive than AT&T's at least at the places we tend to frequent. And we have definitely had better luck with a Verizon phone (Blackberry) accessing Telus in Canada than an AT&T phone. Which is a bit surprising since overseas AT&T's connectivity to the services in other countries is far superior to any other US carrier's in our experience.
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nsail View Post
Does anyone have experience with either AT&T or Verizon laptop internet cards in the San Juans?

If, so do they work well?

And, do you have a feel for which one may work better than the other in that area?

Or, is there another company that I don't know about that should be considered?

And, what about Canada - Gulf Islands, Desolation Sound area?
Is Telus the recommended one? Or are there others that may work better?

I appreciate any info !
"Clear" works well in the San Juans.
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:01 PM   #4
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Can't comment on the San Juans.

In B.C. Telus still has the best coverage for cell phones particularily as you go farther west to Desolation. Even then it will be spotty unless you are near one of the population centers. In some areas you will simply not be able to use a cell phone, no towers, no signal at all.

In the Gulf Islands we usually have service on the cell although I'm sure somewhere there are dead spots.

We keep a Telus cell for that reason, they have the best coverage.

As for internet air cards if you can't get cell service you won't have internet. Some of your home services may not work in B.C. You need to ask your provider specifically and take some of it with a grain of salt. Most say full coverage, rubbish.

We have the opposite problem when we go south. We simply buy a cheap phone as the roaming charges for our regular home cell are still killers and wev'e been told by visitors the reverse is still true, either no/poor service or killer roaming charges.

You may find the same thing with the air cards as they depend on cell service.

However, if you can get cell service you should be able to use an aircard.
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:10 PM   #5
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C lectric is right on about very high roaming charges with US carriers in Canada. We try to limit our mobile phone use while in Canada and we turn off things like e-mail and text while we're up there. If we had more need to use a phone in Canada we would look into Skype. However we rarely find ourselves needing to phone anyone while we're up there so we haven't bothered looking into an alternative to our US carriers. Yet.......
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:16 PM   #6
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I use a Motorola Droid 2 phone with service from Verizon Wireless on it. I have a plan with internet service and use it as WiFi hotspot for my laptop. It does not work in BC. Works great right up to the boarder then nothing for the internet or email...

I have a USA / Canada plan with Verizon and the phone works great for making or receiving calls... just no internet service or email service north of the boarder. Oh and getting voicemail to work is an issue also.
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:16 PM   #7
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Our KVH VSAT system worked everywhere. Its not cheap but it is reliable.

I will say that having internet and phone everywhere changed the whole dynamic of our inside passage trip
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Old 05-08-2012, 02:03 AM   #8
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We have Sprint and it works in the San Juans if you can see Mt Constitution on Orcas Is.

Sprint worked well in BC where there is phone service. They have a special roaming rate, which is $4 per month and 20 Cents per min.

I have a Sprint air card (broadband card) which also works in BC, but the rate is $2.00 per MB. That's right, $2.00 per Megabyte. I turn off all auto updating on the computer, and turn off receiving email except on demand. We don't use Facebook or do very much web browsing until we get to a wifi connection.

Most marinas and resorts have either a free/pay wifi, or have BBX available.

The Desolation Sound area is well covered, except behind some mountains. The Johnstone Str corridor is well covered.
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Old 05-08-2012, 02:27 AM   #9
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I use a Telus Air card for internet while boating in BC waters, where there is cell coverage. Last July I used 1.6Gigs of data on my $50 plan. I called Telus and asked about using the same stick south of the border and was quoted a roaming charge that worked out to $16k for that 1.6 gigs. I don't know of any air card that doesn't have exorbitant roaming charges when using a cross border service. Just have to leave it at home when crossing the border.
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Old 05-08-2012, 12:00 PM   #10
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The company has used Verizon for 10+ years and seems to have the best coverage both in US/Canada and most foreign countries. For an extra fix monthly cost yu can added Canadian coverage which we have to sales/service employees that cover both US and Canada. On the boat we had until a couple of months ago the Verizon air card which is also a HOT SPOT through out the boat. We just got a Samsung Note Pad that is also a hot spot which we use 90%, and is also a good e reader.

You can also buy smart phone that you can tether a PC to the phone browser which our sales/service employees do when traveling. Between my Blackberry and not pad I am connect 24/7 to company and person emails.
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Old 05-08-2012, 12:38 PM   #11
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The company has used Verizon for 10+ years and seems to have the best coverage both in US/Canada and most foreign countries.
Hmmmm.... our (and Boeing's) experience has been exactly the opposite. We used to be Verizon but the coverage was very poor in Asia and Europe. AT&T does a much better job of interfacing with the Asian and European carriers, which is one reason Boeing switched to AT&T. Which is why if you buy an iPad and plan to use it for connectivity on a European or Asian trip, it's much better to buy an AT&T iPad than a Verizon iPad. I've talked to people who have and have used both overseas and the AT&T iPad is far more reliable with much better connectivity than the Verizon iPad.

In the US Verizon is generally considered by the people I've talked to about it to have better and more reliable coverage. In our case on the boat in the San Juan and Gulf Islands Verizon (my wife's Blackberry) has outperformed AT&T (my company phone and a friend's iPhone) by quite a margin.
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