Ask LH: Tablets In Remote Areas

Lifehacker reader Mark asks - I live very remote in the Kimberley and only service I can get is Telstra wireless - no ADSL or anything else. Looking at a tablet and wonder if to get inbuilt 3G or maybe connect/tether it to my Vodafone N8 - could that be done? I really only need basic computer for email, internet browsing (not much download) and watch movies when travelling. At present have 2 rather expensive plan accounts - Vodafone N8 with enough data and calls per month for me plus Telstra home wireless for laptop. I can piss off Telstra plan with no fees. Hope you might be able to offer suggestion about this please. Mark.

Part of the solution to Mark's problem rests in his question - his only comms option is Telstra NextG. I've spent a little time in the part of the world Mark is from and communications are very limited.

For starters, you can look at making your N8 into a wireless hotspot. Joikuspot. I used it on older Nokia phones and it works nicely. The N8Geeks site has some instructions on where to buy and how to install this app. Then you can use the N8 as a hotspot for a tablet.

With the tablet - you can buy a 3G ready one but I'd suggest buying as 3G router like the Netcomm MyZone or Telstra Elite WiFi modem. Rather than going on a plan that commits you to a monthly fee, consider paying $150 for 10GB of data on pre-paid. Then you can pay as you go. You can then use the pre-paid data with your N8 and tablet and the laptop all at the same time. That will avoid getting another data plan.

In summary, if I was in your situation I'd look for a way to consolidate all my data services. That means, given your location, a wireless Internet service that I can share between a tablet, laptop and the phone. For you Telstra is the best carrier option. Then it just becomes a choice between tethering, buying a device from Telstra with the service or a different device that you plug a Telstra SIM into.

How to turn your Nokia N8 into a Wi-Fi hotspot [N8Geeks]

NetComm MyZone [NetComm]

Telstra Mobile BroadbandTelstra Pre-Paid Mobile Broadband [Telstra]


    The NBN has a satellite program which will supply and maintain you with all the equipment (Dish, ODU, Modem). 6/1 Mbps peak speed, the only problem is with high latency.

      He already gets NextG reception, it's just a matter of paying separately for every device he owns.

      The best option is to purchase a 3G modem as mentioned, but with one modification: get a fancy third-party antenna and mount it on your roof. wedge your 'home wireless internet' sim in there and you should get better/more regular download and upload speeds than you currently do.

      Using your phone as a wifi hotspot is a great option, but it can get very frustrating. Your phone has to spend much of its life plugged in on a table, and receiving or making a call can cause internet to drop for all connected devices.

      If you want something more adventurous and live near your neighbours, you can share one internet connection over a few different houses (possibly violating the terms of your contract). For residential areas you'll just need some wifi boosters, and for bigger distances directional antennas are your best shot.

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