nternet access

Submitted: Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 17:43
ThreadID: 24457 Views:2106 Replies:5 FollowUps:2
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My wife and I intend joining the grey nomads on the grand circle tour soon and seek advice on accessing the internet while travelling within Oz.

We are not happy using internet cafes where putting in passwords for banking accounts is concerned.

We will have a laptop computer and a dialup internet account.

Our question is, do most caravan parks provide a telephone socket to connect our computer to or is there another common method of connecting to the internet in major towns across Australia?

Thanks Jane & Allan
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Reply By: tonyjulie - Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 18:49

Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 18:49
Hi, we wanted to let you know that telstra now has a mobile internet that you can travell with, it is called a minimax. It is broadband and you can use it anywhere that your cdma phone is in range. The cost is $49 per month, brother has one tried it out and is faster than dial up. We too are about to leave for trip arounk oz and will have one on board. Tony and Julie
AnswerID: 118967

Follow Up By: Member - Smocky (NSW) - Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 20:02

Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 20:02
The Minimax uses the new EV-DO standard on CDMA. Couple of points.

1. It only works in certain (read: heavily populated (read: profitable)) areas.

2. Telstra I don't think have an all you can eat charging method, so be careful.

3. Vodafone has a $49 "fair use" policy that is kind of unlimited.

4. Three also has a 3G system with the same broadband capabilities as Telstra. In fact they jointly own the network.

Closely look at the Three network as it is 3G (high bandwidth) where available but I believe it roams onto the Telstra CDMA network.

There's going to be quite a few options in the coming months as Telstra, Optus and Vodafone all release more details of their 3G pricing plans.

Hope this is at least a little help.


FollowupID: 374162

Follow Up By: Muddy 'doe (SA) - Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 22:14

Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 22:14

I just got one of these MiniMax CDMA modems and can say it is great so far.

$49 a month gets you the modem for free (24 month contract) and 20 hours of internet access. If you use more than 20 hours it is $2.00 per 15 minutes.

All time (including plan time) is charged in 15 minute blocks, so if you connect for 2 minutes you have used 15 minutes of time. If you connect for 17 minutes you have used 30 minutes out of your 20 hours. Be aware of this!!!

In the city it connects to the EV-DO flavour of CDMA mobile network which (depeding on where you are) can deliver up to 10 times normal dialup speed. In regional centres it connects to the 1xRTT type of CDMA which is roughly same speed as dial-up. If you are in marginal CDMA reception then it can be really slow. But slow is better than nothing!

For what it does I think it is fantastic. Best use for traveller is to download emails and do online banking when passing thru regional centres without the insecurity of doing the internet cafe thing.

If you just use it for email and bills and maybe a little bit of surfing then u should have no trouble stying in 20 hours. On the $49 plan you can bump up to the 50 hour $99 plan for a single month if doing a big trip or there is a $149 plan that gives you 70 or 100 hours (can't remember which).

As Smocky says - this stuff is still in infancy and the plans may get more generous as other providers ramp up coverage. It can only get better.

If money is no object there is also a slightly bigger modem by the smae company (Maxon) to which you can fit an external high gain antenna and get better range. The MiniMax has a little antenna on it bt no provision for an external one. The bigger modem is not on a plan at Telstra (yet!) and is $489 to buy. You then have to sign up to the same $49 data plan to get service (20 hours a month).

Best of luck with it.
FollowupID: 374177

Reply By: tessa_51 - Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 19:17

Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 19:17
Be very careful using dial up in "remote" places - even if you can get it to work it can cost you an arm and a leg. I enquired at an Alice Springs motel if I could hook up my laptop to the local phone line and dial up. Was told that because they use a different system the cost can be astronomical - a traveller apparently did it and got a phone bill for over $500 on checkout. If you are in really remote places where the phone system operates via satellite your normal dial up will not work anyway. We used a lot of the "Telecentres" in the outback and found them cheap and very good. They are set up by the Fed Govt to give remote communities access to the net. Where they exist they are well signposted.

In major towns most of the van parks have their own internet cafes, for want of a better word - usually one pc with dial up access. As far as banking is concerned why not got to the branches - despite the hype they still have them in major towns.
AnswerID: 118972

Reply By: BenSpoon - Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 20:54

Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 20:54
Carry a few phone adaptors with you. I found this was the simplest way. Staying in motels, they generally have an internet cafe you can whip the phone line out of and plug it into your lappy. Caravan parks often have the old style orange phones. Again, you can just whip the phone line out of them and bung it into your lappy. I tried asking permission first at a few parks and just confused the crap out of the blue rinse brigade running the places, so now I just plug in- its not doing anyone harm if you put it back the way you found it.
AnswerID: 118992

Reply By: motherhen - Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 23:17

Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 23:17
When you are in WA check out the Telecentres - full listing if you go to http://www.telecentres.wa.gov.au. There is also a list of access points on this website.

They are community managed not-for-profit organisations, often run by a team of volunteers, so opening hours/days may vary in different locations; they are generally in small towns that could not otherwise have a viable Internet access business. Charges and services also vary with each individual centre, but charges will be reasonable. They may also be an access point for certain government departments.

For example if you come to Bridgetown, we have a phone line just for travellers to plug in their laptop, so long as it is local call cost, or with a network card which modern laptops seem to have, you can access ADSL through the server. Otherwise you can use the Telecentre computers, but i can understand reluctance at doing banking on any public access computer.

Saw a few Telecentres in SA too, and read of a funding initiative to put some into the NT.

Happy travels

AnswerID: 119031

Reply By: Member - Tonester (VIC) - Wednesday, Jul 06, 2005 at 09:41

Wednesday, Jul 06, 2005 at 09:41
Agree with Benspoon. A few choices of phone adapters will get you a long way - there's really not that many don't think. Alternatively, depending on your phone & carrier, you might be able to download software for your PC to use your mobile phone as a modem, expensive however. Failing that, Internet cafes I have found generally ok. If you know how and the thing lets you, just clear the history and cache before leaving. Passwords to bank sites aren't stored locally, and cookies they use are session cookies. Of course the PC itself might have keyboards loggers, but unlikely.
AnswerID: 119066

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