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Thread: Hotspot prepaid data only plans

  1. #1
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    Hotspot prepaid data only plans

    I've got someone that's starting a project that's going to require a bit of Internet in a location that doesn't really have a lot of broadband options.

    I don't yet know all of the details, but I thought I'd try to get a jump start with some information because I know they'll be asking me. I suspect a lot of the bandwidth is going to be used to live stream events.

    I'm going to guess that they're going to need about 50GB of data a month. Maybe less, but I think 50GB would cover them with room to spare. Ideally I think they'd probably prefer to go with a prepaid option, both for better fixed cost and I don't really know how long this project will be active. I'm not sure what cell phone providers are really an option in this area. Verizon would probably be preferable, although AT&T will also work. I really don't know of anyone around this location that uses T-Mobile or Sprint.

    It will be mostly in a fixed location. AT&T Fixed Wireless may be an option. Although that's not prepaid and I'm not entirely sure what the cost would be. (Postpaid you can't depend on the advertised price being the actual price you'll pay every month, but prepaid pretty much the advertised price is what you pay every month). Plus having to get the antenna mounted, if that could be avoided that would probably be preferable.

    I just wasn't sure of what options were out there. And really if anything out there even approached 50GB allowance. And just how affordable they are. I suspect that the AT&T Fixed Wireless option may be the most feasible. But I thought I'd ask the community in case they knew of any alternatives. I don't know what the budget is for this. But I'd imagine the AT&T Fixed Wireless can be had for around $100/mo so if mobile hotspot designed plans start to approach $100/mo with less data they start to lose their feasibility.

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    Visible is $25/mo with Party Pay for unlimited everything. If using an Android, there's supposedly a 1 device hotspot connection at a time, but if using an iPhone, it's reported that the 1 device hotspot connection isn't enforced. Also, not all Vzw phones are compatible, so check the Visible website for details.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boz1 View Post
    Visible is $25/mo with Party Pay for unlimited everything. If using an Android, there's supposedly a 1 device hotspot connection at a time, but if using an iPhone, it's reported that the 1 device hotspot connection isn't enforced. Also, not all Vzw phones are compatible, so check the Visible website for details.
    I second this. I've used hospot on iPhone and there is no limit on number of devices allowed. Party Pay is easy to join or create your own with other Visible users: no need to be friends or family.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by user1name View Post
    I second this. I've used hospot on iPhone and there is no limit on number of devices allowed. Party Pay is easy to join or create your own with other Visible users: no need to be friends or family.
    iOS actually has a 5 device limit.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    iPhone 7+ on the Verizon Network
    iPad Pro 9.7 on the AT&T Network

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    But how much data does Visible actually let you use?

    And is 5mbps enough to live stream with?

    I suppose even if you just had one device you could bridge it with a wireless router and distribute the wifi signal out from the router.

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    Quote Originally Posted by charlesfinley View Post
    But how much data does Visible actually let you use? And is 5mbps enough to live stream with? I suppose even if you just had one device you could bridge it with a wireless router and distribute the wifi signal out from the router.
    it's unlimited talk text & data. hotspot usage is 5mbps and has no data cap. but it is deprioritized. see here - https://www.howardforums.com/showthr...ly-cap-Visable

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    Quote Originally Posted by charlesfinley View Post
    But how much data does Visible actually let you use?
    I don't have Visible personally. I found reports on Reddit that someone used 50GB with no problem and someone else got booted for using 30 TB.

    And is 5mbps enough to live stream with?
    For streaming, the number you need to know is the upload speed (from the phone to the Internet). 5 Mbps is the download speed. Periscope says 2-5 Mbps is enough to live stream, but I saw reports that was not enough for some people. Only trying it will tell, especially if you are in a rural poor signal area.

    If you are connected to a congested cell speed will likely slow to unusable during times of congestion. Rural cells tend to not get congested as much as city center ones.

    I suppose even if you just had one device you could bridge it with a wireless router and distribute the wifi signal out from the router.
    A repeater bridge will get you around device connection limits. However, my experience with my hotspot and a repeater bridge is that it works well for web browsing and email, but it won't run my Obitalk VOIP phone. I doubt mine would work well for outbound video streaming.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobdevnul View Post



    A repeater bridge will get you around device connection limits. However, my experience with my hotspot and a repeater bridge is that it works well for web browsing and email, but it won't run my Obitalk VOIP phone. I doubt mine would work well for outbound video streaming.
    Would the Obi work with just the single hotspot connection and no repeater bridge?

    Have you tried a wired home router using a universal wifi router for the WAN port input?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mo832 View Post
    Would the Obi work with just the single hotspot connection and no repeater bridge?
    The Obi connects with Ethernet unless you buy the optional Wifi module. My repeater bridge is just an old router running DD-WRT in repeater bridge mode. I plug the Obi Ethernet into the repeater bridge.

    It could be that my old router just doesn't work very well as a repeater bridge. I mostly use it to extend the range of the hotspot to the other end of the house. The AT&T hotspot works best in a window at the far end of the house. The hotspot does not have the range of a regular Wifi router.

    Have you tried a wired home router using a universal wifi router for the WAN port input?
    I don't follow what that means.

    It's not real important to me for the Obi to work through the hotspot. My cellphone using Verizon works with the same number with Google Voice and that has signal all around the house for when cable Internet or electric goes out.
    Last edited by bobdevnul; 04-30-2020 at 03:08 PM. Reason: correct quoting

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boz1 View Post
    Visible is $25/mo with Party Pay for unlimited everything. If using an Android, there's supposedly a 1 device hotspot connection at a time, but if using an iPhone, it's reported that the 1 device hotspot connection isn't enforced. Also, not all Vzw phones are compatible, so check the Visible website for details.
    With the Android hotspot devices limitation, and the lack of compatible Android phones, it looks a lot easier to just pick up a cheap used iPhone to do this. Phone does not have to be pretty...just functional.

    https://www.visible.com/help/compatible

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    Quote Originally Posted by charlesfinley View Post
    I suppose even if you just had one device you could bridge it with a wireless router and distribute the wifi signal out from the router.
    How does this work? You're talking about connecting your cellphone to a wireless router just like you would normally connect a cable modem, correct? And then accessing the wifi from the router? I'm intrigued, please explain.
    My smartphone is a lot smarter than I am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Relztrah View Post
    How does this work? You're talking about connecting your cellphone to a wireless router just like you would normally connect a cable modem, correct? And then accessing the wifi from the router? I'm intrigued, please explain.
    Well, I've actually never done it, so I can't really speak from experience. But I know it's possible. I've never really had a reason to.

    Something like is described:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hu7W7UaMNTY

    You need a wireless ethernet bridge. It basically works in reverse of what a typical wireless router does. Where a typical router takes Internet from your cable or Internet modem then gives a wifi signal out for your wifi devices to connect to, a wireless ethernet bridge takes a wifi signal (like a hotspot) and sends that back out through ethernet into another wireless router. Then you connect all of your wifi devices to the wifi SSID from the wireless router.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Relztrah View Post
    How does this work? You're talking about connecting your cellphone to a wireless router just like you would normally connect a cable modem, correct? And then accessing the wifi from the router? I'm intrigued, please explain.
    You configure a regular home Wifi router as a range extender with the IP address of the phone hotspot as the gateway. For a router that is running DD-WRT as the firmware, this is called Repeater Bridge mode. Many home routers have the same mode, but it is called something else in their firmware.

    It's about ten simple step-by-step settings to configure DD-WRT for this. After configured you just power it on and it works, as long as the phone hotspot is working.

    Basically everything is repeated back and forth between the phone hotspot Wifi and the repeater bridge Wifi while you connect to the repeater bridge Wifi to get through the phone hotspot to the Internet.

    No wires/Ethernet is required. If the repeater bridge router has Ethernet ports you can use them instead of connecting with Wifi.

    I assume that the little boxes sold as "Range Extenders" are running as repeater bridges, just pre-configured for it.

    [Edit] I just checked mine. Using my hotspot device, the repeater bridge does not count as a connected device on the hotspot, nor do devices connected to the repeater bridge Wifi.
    Last edited by bobdevnul; 04-30-2020 at 03:11 PM. Reason: Update

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    Quote Originally Posted by charlesfinley View Post
    Well, I've actually never done it, so I can't really speak from experience. But I know it's possible. I've never really had a reason to.

    Something like is described:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hu7W7UaMNTY

    You need a wireless ethernet bridge. It basically works in reverse of what a typical wireless router does. Where a typical router takes Internet from your cable or Internet modem then gives a wifi signal out for your wifi devices to connect to, a wireless ethernet bridge takes a wifi signal (like a hotspot) and sends that back out through ethernet into another wireless router. Then you connect all of your wifi devices to the wifi SSID from the wireless router.
    No Ethernet is required for a Wifi range extender. There are other modes that use Ethernet, but that is not what is needed here. The phone hotspot does not have an Ethernet port.

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    How does one get into a PartyPay group (with strangers) if you don't have friends/family to join you? What happens if one or more of them drop out? Can the group be all located in different states?

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