Travelling and connecting notebook to internet

Submitted: Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 11:39
ThreadID: 5169 Views:1501 Replies:11 FollowUps:8
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We are planning a trip through Queensland and to Cape York, and on the way would like to be able to connect our notebook to the internet and check our emails, do banking, pay bills and submit my eBAS (so that I dont get fined from not paying my GST). I have ADSL at home and was toying with paying for a dial up connection as well and then with Telstra I could dial up from anywhere for the price of a local call. Problem is finding phone points that I could use. I guess I could rent a motel room and use their phone, but there must be practical options - someone on Cape York that would let us use their phone for half an hour or something like that. What is everyone elses experience.
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Reply By: Member - Peter (WA) - Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 11:57

Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 11:57
I have just purchased NOKIA data suite so that I can plug my mobil diret to laptop ,I have an older Nokia 5110 the cable and CDrom cost me $99 at the Nokia shop , Allphones Perth ph 94815555 you can also use it to send SMS mesages from the laptop hope this helpsBorn to drive a 4x4 , not a keyboard
Peter York 4x4
AnswerID: 21372

Follow Up By: Member - Nigel - Friday, May 30, 2003 at 22:52

Friday, May 30, 2003 at 22:52
Good luck with GSM coverage on the cape. Though a data cable with a CDMA serves me well, and faster than normal GSM too.
FollowupID: 14017

Reply By: Member - Sam (NSW) - Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 12:48

Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 12:48

that is possibly the most cost effective option. You could always leave the home computer on and have a modem hooked up to it and just dial into it (this is the setup I have - use an old crappy machine that runs 24/7 with a modem hooked up to it. The machine also acts as the internet gateway for the home network, allows me to dial into home, access the net and also any files etc), but by the time you add up all the long distance calls, a monthly subscription to bigpond might be the cheaper option.

How long will you be away for and how often to you think you will need to dialup?

AnswerID: 21376

Reply By: SimonIT - Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 12:59

Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 12:59
Hi Andrew,

There is a Telstra service called GPRS. It allows you to use your mobile phone to connect to the internet - and therefore your laptop. Unlike older services, with this new service you only get charged for data transfer, as opposed to on-line time. Therefore, if all you're doing is checking emails, paying bills etc... it is quite cost effective. The only catch is that you need a GPRS capable mobile. If you already have this then it is a quick call to Telstra (if there is such a thing!) to have this service turned on for your phone.

If you go to the telstra website you'll be able to track down more info there.

AnswerID: 21377

Follow Up By: SimonIT - Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 13:04

Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 13:04
Here is some pricing info for you:

1. A flat session fee of 22 cents is payable every time you access the service. After each 24 hours of continuous connection, an additional session fee applies.

2. Data you send and receive is charged at 2.2 cents per KB transferred.

3. These charges may be included as part of your voice call plan's "included calls" component.
FollowupID: 13930

Follow Up By: Member - Sam (NSW) - Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 14:33

Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 14:33
I might look into this myself aswell. Will need a new phone though first.

Andrew, the web adress for the GPRS info is

FollowupID: 13934

Follow Up By: Member - Nigel - Friday, May 30, 2003 at 22:56

Friday, May 30, 2003 at 22:56
I take it no one has looked at the GSM coverage map of cape york?

That's coz there isn't one....

I use a Kyocera CDMA at present with a USB data cable - get 14.4 K
hopefully CDMA 1X (similar to GSM's GPRS) will extend beyond sydney and melbourne soon.
FollowupID: 14018

Reply By: ExplorOz Team - David - Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 13:45

Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 13:45
We have tried avery option available including asking every van park and place we stay if we can use the phone line. It is difficult but can be done. These days we use a Nokia and dial up at the crap rate of 9600 and use the systems this way. When we are really out there in the bush we don't really care however when we hit town the mobile makes some very long calls to the Internet. We bank up all our work and let it go when we are in a town with service. Usually start at 7PM for the off peak rates and sometimes the calls take a few hours to complete however it does not cost all that much. Telstra has a service for it's mobile phone customers that does not cost you anthing addtional to the call charges to access the Internet so you only need to dial from a Telstra mobile to the number provided and you are directly connected to the Internet.

I cannot remember the name of the service however there is some information on the Telstra site. The number to call is - 0418 707 638 - You do not need to register or setup anything with Telstra just be a MobileNet user and use your mobile to make the connection and presto you are up and connected to the Internet. It is fund via the call costs which I cannot remember but they are good when you consider you do not have to setup another ISP account.

Hope this helps - this is what we use and we publish large chunks of the site, Internet banking and heaps of other stuff in this fashion.Regards
ExplorOz Team - David
Always working, not enough travelling ;-)
AnswerID: 21382

Follow Up By: Member - Nigel - Friday, May 30, 2003 at 22:58

Friday, May 30, 2003 at 22:58
Hi David - I use a Kyocera CDMA and find the 14.4k slightly more tolerable than GSM's 9.6k.

Hopefully CDMA 1X networking will extend beyond the boundaries of sydney and melbourne oneday - 160k on cape york - now that would be nice.
FollowupID: 14019

Reply By: chopper - Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 16:46

Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 16:46
CDMA phones using Telstra Mobile Internet have a higher download speed than GSM, and in the cities you can use CDMA 1x (which is apparently 3-4 times fatser than dial up)
AnswerID: 21392

Reply By: Member - George (WA) - Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 17:13

Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 17:13
Depending on how often you want to check your email box, an other alternative way, and the most ecconomical, is to call into an Iternet Cafe and dail direct to your email provider.
This is also a lot !!! faster than mobile a phone connection @ 9600 bps.
Also a lot quicker when you want to send a long email

Cheers Just made it, King Edward River
AnswerID: 21396

Reply By: Member - Bob - Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 18:08

Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 18:08
I was in the Telstra shop the other day and saw an "AirCard" (memory's shot - it was something like that). Plugs into PCMCIA slot and connects you through the CDMA network at a very respectable speed. I don't know if this service is available wherever CDMA is available, and there would be large coverage gaps in FNQ. Cost $990.
AnswerID: 21400

Follow Up By: Member - Nigel - Friday, May 30, 2003 at 23:00

Friday, May 30, 2003 at 23:00
!X is only available in selected capital cities at present. Let's hope they extend it to all CDMA coverage areas.

By the way, you don't have to spend $990, as you can also use 1X with a Kyocera 2235 and a USB data cable.
FollowupID: 14020

Reply By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 18:59

Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 18:59
Andrew with all that to do is it worth leaving home will you have time to
see anything.
All the best
Eric 02 4294 3496
Pete 07 4094 1745Cape York Connections
AnswerID: 21402

Reply By: Rob - Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 21:11

Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 21:11
Your basic options for travelling are:

2. GSM dialup
3. Normal phoneline.

GPRS is a new technology. It is quicker than a normal GSM phone dialup, but not a quick as the marketing would have you believe. The connection is also established very quickly, much quicker than a normal modem dialup. GPRS means you pay for the data you transmit, much like a broadband (cable, ADSL) connection, as opposed to the duration of the call.

However, for use in the bush, I wouldn't recommend GPRS. It is very expensive, $20+ per Mb. The additional speed isn't really worth it, and who cares if a connection takes 30 or 3 seconds to establish.

The best answer is to use a normal GSM phone for dialup, and a cheapie Internet access account. I have a $10/month account with Optus which I use on the road. It's slower than GPRS, but it still works for Internet banking and email checking. You wouldn't want to be sending large amounts of data though.

There are several options to connect a phone to a laptop; infrared, cable and Bluetooth. I would stay away from infrared as it doesn't work too well in the sun, is slow and you need to ensure the phone points at the laptop's IR port. If you can get it, use Bluetooth (eg Nokia 6310i), or buy a cable to connect the phone to the laptop. An alternative is a special PC Card with a GSM phone built in, but I think that's a needless expense.

Best of all is to wait till a normal phoneline can be found. That'll be the quickest, and cheapest option.

It is possible to access your home PC, connected to a broadband connection, at home. However, this is not straightforward. There are some security and networking concerns, and unless you're au fait with both it is best avoided. Without going into details you'll need to deal with a changing IP address, and have some form of secured link.


AnswerID: 21418

Reply By: Froilan - Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 22:05

Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 22:05

Ther is another option available from Tesltra now. It is called Blackberry and I believe it uses GSM. It is small unit similar to a PDA, the main advantage is that you do not dial-up. Email get's sent to it directly, and has other features such as calendars, to-do list, etc. The company I work work will be demoing a few units in a couple of months. You can get more details from
AnswerID: 21422

Reply By: Andrew - Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 22:18

Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 22:18

It's just phenomenal how great this forum is and how lucky we are to be able to access everyones collective advice. Thanks to everyone who has posted. I am sure that eveyone will have a solution that works best for them given the variables of destination, amount of data, depth of pockets etc. In the Cape it looks like there is no GSM service so for up there I would have to either get a CDMA phone or 'air thingo' or sweet talk someone into letting me use their phone line. Maybe a door knock with a slab under one arm and my notebook under the other..

Thanks to everyone for sharing their experience.

AnswerID: 21425

Follow Up By: Nifty,, - Friday, May 30, 2003 at 16:55

Friday, May 30, 2003 at 16:55

If your laptop has an infrared port and you're prepared to purchase a Nokia 6385 CDMA phone which has an infrared modem built in that's all you need . The coverage of CDMA is much better than GSM, the data transfer rate is better.
To get this type of phone working with your laptop you need to download the driver from the Nokia site, it's easy and free.
Incidently, if your laptop doesn't have a infrared port you can buy a cable to connect the two.

You can buy a card called a 'Sierra Wireless AirCard 555' which slides into your laptop just for data transfer but this particular phone will do this for you anyway.
FollowupID: 13996

Follow Up By: Member - Nigel - Friday, May 30, 2003 at 23:05

Friday, May 30, 2003 at 23:05
the "air thingo" won't yet work in all CDMA areas - only being trialled in capital cities at present.

I find a CDMA with USB data cable tolerable for email and internet banking (14.4K). I used to use GSM but it was 2/3 the speed and the battery went flat too quick.

The data cables are cheapest at
FollowupID: 14021

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