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How do I access the Internet with a notebook?
Thread poster: Astrid Elke Witte

Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:23
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Dec 8, 2005

I am thinking about buying a notebook, so that I can do one or two translations during my two-week vacation over Christmas and New Year. However, it will only be of use if I can access the Internet with it, and in all respects use it like a normal computer. To date I know nothing about notebooks or how they work. Is it easy to access the Internet with a notebook?

Also, I would like to know if accessing the Internet from a notebook is normally very expensive? Is it charged by the minute, for example?

Another question: I know they run on a battery when travelling. However, can they be plugged into a normal electricity network on arrival at the destination?

I hope to be enlightened on this subject by one or two notebook experts.


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Can Altinbay  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:23
Japanese to English
+ ...
Notebooks are just like desktops (except) Dec 8, 2005

n terms of Internet access, you have the options you have on your desktop. Since you talk about travelling, maybe you want to know about getting to the net on the road. You can dial up to your ISP if you have that kind of service. Most hotels have at leasta data port you can use for this. Some have WiFi ("high speed Internet"). If you have a WiFi adaptor, ad I recommend you buy a notebook that has one built in, your notebook will tell you there are WiFi connections available, and you just connect. The hotel may have it secured, but they should have a sheet explaining how to connect on the desk in your room.

You might want to talk to your ISP for options. SBC/Yahoo will let you connect to their own WiFi, where available, for $1.99 extra a month. The WiFi services at hotels are often free - check with the hotel.

Also, many retail operations, such as coffee shops and bookstores have WiFi. Here In Indianapolis, the public libraries have it also.

Don't expect your battery to last more than about an hour before recharging. Your notebook will come with a power adaptor, which you should use whenever there is a regular wall socket available. So you can use that at hotels and at libraries, and some of the retail places also let you plug in your power supply. Of course, this works like any other electrical appliance. To use a US computer in Europe, you need an adaptor.

Feel free to let me know if you have any more questions.

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Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:23
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Internet Dec 8, 2005

Hi Astrid,

As far as I know (experts can correct me if I am wrong), you have three options - wired, wireless and GPRS Internet connection.
Wired is your normal (not necessary dial-up) connection using a cable. The downsides are - there is nowhere to plug it in if you are on a beach, campsite or similar places. Your best bet would be hotel where you are staying. Some hotels let you use their phone lines (some do not), although generally they would not pay a penny for your Internet. Still sometimes you can be turned down. You would have to find it out before you go.
Wireless is limited to places with wireless networks - airports and other public places with wi-fi facilities. Some countries have access places where you can connect for a certain fee, which is not too expensive. For example, I was travelling in Portugal this summer and I paid 5 euros for an hour of Internet connection. Here the downside is the access sports - in some countries there is not so many of them.
And lastly GPRS, namely 3G datacard that uses mobile network (and GPRS when mobile is not available). The positive thing is you can have Internet on the top of the mountain. The minus (a rather big one) - cost. Usually you pay a lot more for 3G services abroad than in your own country. In the UK you can get a 3G datacard only as part of the package - 12 months contract, where you pay a monthly fee for x number or mb per month for 12 months. Any mb used abroad are charged additionally. Just to give you a rough idea, this summer I spend a month in Portugal and as we were camping in obscure villages, I went for a 3G datacard. Well, I paid 600 pounds for the pleasure and the only thing I could afford to do was to check my mail (I was prepared to pay the price to keep the clients so it was worth it in my case).

Good luck,

[Edited at 2005-12-08 21:27]

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Giuliana Buscaglione  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:23
Member (2001)
German to Italian
+ ...
GPRS, EDGE and UMTS Dec 9, 2005

Hi Astrid,

The best way to connect to the Internet (if no Wi-Fi point is available) is IMHO via PC card. You can choose between GPRS, EDGE and UMTS cards. If none of them is available where you are, you still can get a very very slow GSM line. GPRS is a little bit faster than GMS, EDGE is much better (an improved GPRS connection) and UMTS is so-to-say mobile broadband. The only problem is that the net is not that developed and the coverage is still relatively low (it depends on the Countries).

I used to have an EDGE with a monthly flat rate (500 MB traffic included / month), but I'll pass to an UMTS in January (monthly flat rate). All in all I found it to be the most convinient solution, as I travel quite often. (BTW, I was happy I had a mobile connection some months ago, as after a storm my DSL was "dead" for nearly a week.. perhaps it won't happen again, but from that time I see it as a wonderful solution in emergency cases, too)

If you have no flat rate, charges are per KB (some per minute, but I wouldn't consider this solution... for me much too expensive). It varies from provider to provider, but I'd say that EUR 0.06 / KB is pretty common. "Roaming" is more expensive, of course. Some provider offer an "European" solution, but the included traffic is pretty low (with a monthly rate).

If you use it only for downloading your mails, well, it is not expensive, but if you start browsing and doing researches, consider that each time you open a browser page the KB counter shoots up, even with de-activated image display (over a 100 KB, some +250 KB). I have installed a pretty light browser on my laptop, de-activated the display of images.. still, browsing is KB-consuming.

As said, it depends on the use you'll make, emails only or as a "mobile office".


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Jan Kolbaba  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 15:23
Member (2006)
English to Czech
+ ...
Battery Dec 9, 2005

Just a short note about notebook batteries. If you assume to be without power supply for a longer time (approx. 4 - 8 hours), I recommend to acquire a spare battery which will have to be charged. But don't worry to buy a notebook as it's a reel helpmate, indeed.
Good luck

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Srikanth Ayathil  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:53
English to Malayalam
+ ...
notebook and internet Dec 9, 2005

I don't know how it will work in Germany. But in my experience the notebook and a CMDA connection helped me a lot to remain online. Here in India I can use my mobile connection to browse. The rates are cheap when comparing to the rates mentioned in the forum. I just have to pay Rs 0.5 per minute while in my home network and Rs 1.00 while roaming. The bills will be added to my monthly mobile bill. The speed is also considerably good. You have to buy one data cable for your Mobile phone. In my case phone acts as the modem and the cable is plugged to the USB port. Some software converts it to serial port. Then you need a dialler (a software). This will be provided by your ISP or cellular service provider. The speed is about 100kpbs depending upon your ISP. If your notebook got blue tooth facilities (now its a standard feature) you can browse wireless while in Airports and in good hotels. Here in India both are free.

Have a nice time!


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:23
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Thanks very much, everyone, for so much information Dec 9, 2005

Thank you all for providing so much information on the subject. I have a much better idea now how it might work, and I think I will get a notebook.


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Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:23
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
Centrino + Umts cellphone Dec 9, 2005

Hi Astrid,
I take my work with me on the road with a Centrino notebook which goes real easy on the battery. It's as fast as a Pentium but much less thirsty on power. I have a power supply that can run off the mains, or a 12V car lighter/camper circuit. A fairly big car/camper battery (70-80ah) will last for donkeys before you have to turn the engine over. You can really only use the PC battery for short periods of time, you definitely can’t work a whole day on one.

I use an Umts cellphone for web/mail, which was cheaper than buying a modem card (same speed), plus it's a cellphone, lil camera, voice recorder, whatever, too.

The PC and phone are linked by Bluetooth which can be a pain to get to work right. No wires though.

Internet access is pretty fast when there's Umts coverage, otherwise it goes Gprs and is about as fast as a 56kb modem.
In Italy I use a flat rate with my cellphone company (Tim) 20€ for 500mb download per month. I tried without the flat rate once and it cost 14€ to browse a coupla pages, definitely a no no.

You'll probably have to configure your post to access the phone provider to get your mail, and obviously configure it for Internet access too using their server. This part is actually easier than it sounds and most phone companies will either have most of this already set up in their brand phones or can send you a configuration sms, and you can call their tech service.

Let me know if you want more info.


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