Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Field Tests -Hotspot Device
I'm testing a few different items on this extended camping trip. Nothing like an actual field trial to see if something works or not.
Since I decided it was important to keep connected, I purchased a hotspot device to connect to the Internet.
One option is for people to configure their cell phone as a hotspot device. In fact, I did that with my cell phone. However, I've a very limited data plan so it wasn't going to be a good day to day solution.
A couple years ago I had an ATT&T hotspot device. It worked well enough. My data usage ran about $10/gig. Monthly costs ran around $100 - $120. We used a fair amount of data, even streaming some movies and music. We had a pay as you go plan. Unfortunately, that device was lost in the shipwreck.
Almost on a whim, I purchased a Straight Talk hotspot at a Walmart on the way out of town. At about $50, it was roughly half the price of the AT&T device purchased a few years earlier. I do not know the price of a comparable current AT&T device. Data costs look about the same. Time will tell how that works out in the real world.
Setup, while tedious, worked well enough. Be prepared to enter a lot of codes and information. One key thing to know, you can't activate the device without already having phone or Internet service. My solution was to use my phone's limited data capacity just long enough to do the set up.
So how does it work? So far, so good. There's surprisingly good cell phone reception in parts of the Ocala National Forest. In the coming weeks and months, I should have plenty of opportunity to test the device under various conditions and different locations.
My lovely wife and I also plan to test some of our storage foods. We have dehydrated foods from both the Wise and Mountain House companies. The idea is to eat enough of the meals to see how they pan out over time.
If my hotspot keeps working, you'll hear more about how the food measures up.