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View Full Version : How efficient is tethering in our situation ?



Misty
15-03-2015, 03:13 PM
My wife and I go away in our motorhome for sometimes 6/7 weeks. We have two laptops - one with W8.1 (dual core) and the other W7 (older). Up to now we have used a T-Stick.

Now however we are looking at a smartphone and tethering to one or other of the laptops
http://www.xperiablog.net/specifications/2015-xperias/xperia-e4/

which will cost $200 with Spark (don't want to spend much more). As our travels will be outside of Auckland, where we live, we figure that 3G will be fine ie not need 4G.

We would carry on with our $19 monthly plan, which only gives 500 MG of data, which would not be enough. Typically we would use about 1.5 GB per month.
However there are now multiple Spark Wifi boxes throughout the country and as I understand it, will work up to 80 metres away, thought the strength is, I understand, better the closer you are.
We will also use cafes and libraries to get data.

The most obvious questions seem to be -
Does the option of going with a smartphone rather than a T-stick seem a good idea ?
Is there much loss between the signal received by the smartphone vary much when then received in turn by the laptop ?
Will the signal received from the Wifi box be similar to what I would have got otherwise from the T-stick ?

Looking forward to hearing from you.
Jim

Webdevguy
15-03-2015, 04:14 PM
My wife and I go away in our motorhome for sometimes 6/7 weeks. We have two laptops - one with W8.1 (dual core) and the other W7 (older). Up to now we have used a T-Stick.

Now however we are looking at a smartphone and tethering to one or other of the laptops
http://www.xperiablog.net/specifications/2015-xperias/xperia-e4/

which will cost $200 with Spark (don't want to spend much more). As our travels will be outside of Auckland, where we live, we figure that 3G will be fine ie not need 4G.

We would carry on with our $19 monthly plan, which only gives 500 MG of data, which would not be enough. Typically we would use about 1.5 GB per month.
However there are now multiple Spark Wifi boxes throughout the country and as I understand it, will work up to 80 metres away, thought the strength is, I understand, better the closer you are.
We will also use cafes and libraries to get data.

The most obvious questions seem to be -
Does the option of going with a smartphone rather than a T-stick seem a good idea ?
Is there much loss between the signal received by the smartphone vary much when then received in turn by the laptop ?
Will the signal received from the Wifi box be similar to what I would have got otherwise from the T-stick ?

Looking forward to hearing from you.
Jim
Tethering is fine. Tethering on a 4G phone is fantastic although it does drain the battery on the phone quickly. It will also go though the data quicklt so make sure you have a decent plan.

Chilling_Silence
15-03-2015, 04:22 PM
Tethering is great, but you'll possibly wanna go with 2degrees on their 6-month plans that are ~12GB rather than 1.5GB per-month. (You've gotta be in the 'zone' so it may not be applicable): http://www.2degreesmobile.co.nz/prepay/pricing/plus/value-packs/zone-data-packs

Otherwise yeah, smartphone is a great idea for your situation coz you'll always have power and your laptop can charge the phone while it tethers. There's basically zero point in your instance in buying a 3G USB modem.

Misty
15-03-2015, 04:41 PM
Tethering is great, but you'll possibly wanna go with 2degrees on their 6-month plans that are ~12GB rather than 1.5GB per-month. (You've gotta be in the 'zone' so it may not be applicable): http://www.2degreesmobile.co.nz/prepay/pricing/plus/value-packs/zone-data-packs

Otherwise yeah, smartphone is a great idea for your situation coz you'll always have power and your laptop can charge the phone while it tethers. There's basically zero point in your instance in buying a 3G USB modem.
Thanks Chill - that's certainly reasssuring. Probably won't go with 2degrees, mainly because travelling to out of the way places then there is not enough coverage. Also they don't have the Wifi boxes. Despite occasional frustrations Spark
have been pretty good. Our son was on 2degrees when he was in NZ and will probably go back to them when he returns approx Nov. So have had good reports of them - if it was only for Auckland.

Since my original post I have learned that the phone we are pretty certain to get will connect to our laptop wirelessly.
Cheers, Jim

PS - the charging of our phone will happen when we are driving through the cigarette lighter and though it is 24 volt we have a little inverter to bring down to 12v

Chilling_Silence
15-03-2015, 07:44 PM
If you're travelling, Spark / Skinny is definitely more likely to have coverage all over the show vs 2d / Voda...

dugimodo
15-03-2015, 08:49 PM
Using the phone as a wi-fi hotspot is more convenient than tethering with a cord in my experience and you could connect both laptops at once if you needed to. I use mine for that purpose and it works very well, enough that I abandoned my spark T-stick to avoid paying for 2 different lots of data. It's a little amusing to me that I connect my phone to the laptop to charge but still use the wi-fi hotspot in preference because I find it easier. I don't do this very often now but it was a regular thing for a long time and I even played online games on the PC over my 3G connection quite successfully. However of course you can't do this if it's the wi-fi connection you want to share.

kahawai chaser
15-03-2015, 09:17 PM
I once tetherd my mobile phone (on data) to my laptop or netbbbook, when xtra ISP was down, and it worked fine. However it stuffed up wirleless connection, once the ISP was running, by leaving the wireless light on orange ( i.e. constantly off, rather than blue when on). I fixed it via HP's tech site, by removing the battery, then some kind of on/off power switch fix.

Note: You may want to consider portable pocket charging banks (http://bit.ly/1Le4UDB) (Google Images) for your phone, depending if away from charging source for a signifcant time.

Misty
15-03-2015, 09:27 PM
Using the phone as a wi-fi hotspot is more convenient than tethering with a cord in my experience and you could connect both laptops at once if you needed to. I use mine for that purpose and it works very well, enough that I abandoned my spark T-stick to avoid paying for 2 different lots of data. It's a little amusing to me that I connect my phone to the laptop to charge but still use the wi-fi hotspot in preference because I find it easier. I don't do this very often now but it was a regular thing for a long time and I even played online games on the PC over my 3G connection quite successfully. However of course you can't do this if it's the wi-fi connection you want to share.
Excellent info,
thanks heaps, dugimodo !!

Misty
15-03-2015, 09:31 PM
I once tetherd my mobile phone (on data) to my laptop or netbbbook, when xtra ISP was down, and it worked fine. However it stuffed up wirleless connection, once the ISP was running, by leaving the wireless light on orange ( i.e. constantly off, rather than blue when on). I fixed it via HP's tech site, by removing the battery, then some kind of on/off power switch fix.

Note: You may want to consider portable pocket charging banks (http://bit.ly/1Le4UDB) (Google Images) for your phone, depending if away from charging source for a signifcant time.

Really can't understand all that at this moment, kawahai chaser, but will have another go in the morning (we go to bed very early !). Nevertheless, looks very useful info.

gary67
16-03-2015, 07:55 AM
When we moved to here in Brightwater I was still working in Christchurch so my wife used her S3 mini to tether via wireless on 2Degrees and could still watch TV on demand with no buffering so should be god for you with telecom.

Misty
16-03-2015, 05:43 PM
Thanks everyone - much appreciated !! -- today we bought the smartphone that we had in mind (as per link in original post). Just getting used to it.

--- PS - must change my icon - it looks like a constipated pixellated seal - and the last two words are correct - not sure about the first !

Kame
17-03-2015, 06:54 PM
I have a 4g android smartphone, cost NZ$300 from Hong Kong, connected it to a skinny prepay, plan is $46 a month for unlimited calling and texting to aus/nz and 2.5gb rollover data a month.

I set it up so my laptop could connect to it when I wasn't near any WiFi spots. It's all I use it for is when travelling and can top it up when needed as long as its not left for a year. If you top up each month (you can buy your plan whenever, if the data runs out you can just buy the plan again), your data rolls over, although I only top it up when required but I am thinking of just staying with skinny as its been good but its not aimed at business.

3g coverage is excellent and 4g around major cities/towns seems reasonable but further away you'll end up on 3g. Losing signal could happen depending on your surroundings too but its coverage is good, uses spark network.

All in all, its better than a modem stick, cheaper and has more uses than just to tether to it. I use it to take photos, video call. So to me, depending on the phone and plan you get, it maybe more useful in your situation and definitely worth considering.

Cheers,

KK

Misty
18-03-2015, 02:50 PM
Thanks Kame for the feedback. We have bought the Sony Xperia E4 and although it is only 3G, it should be sufficient for our needs. Also it has a long standby rating for its battery, but not so good for frequent calling. Since we don't do or receive many calls it should be good for us. I will use the camera too at times when my SLR is not to hand, or just for snapshots. A whole new world !