Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Internet access without a phone? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Internet access without a phone?
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: nautico-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 25 Jul 2003 15:01 PDT
Expires: 24 Aug 2003 15:01 PDT
Question ID: 235156
A friend has asked me if it's possible to access the internet from a
remote location (he's a field geologist) directly from a laptop
without a phone of any kind?

Request for Question Clarification by slawek-ga on 25 Jul 2003 15:11 PDT
Good Day nautico-ga,

There are wireless Internet solutions available.  Before I can suggest
one best suited to your friends needs, I will need to know far from
civilization your friend finds himself/herself when needing the
Internet access?

Depending on the distance from civilization, the cost of such Internet
access can vary greatly.

Also, please tell us what part of the world your friend is
approximately in.  Some wireless solutions might be restricted to
specific geographical areas.


Clarification of Question by nautico-ga on 25 Jul 2003 15:38 PDT
I will get you answers to those questions.

Clarification of Question by nautico-ga on 01 Aug 2003 09:14 PDT
The following recd from my friend: he operates in south-central and
southeast Idaho and says he's often in areas that are "quite remote"
(weak or no cell phone coverage).

Clarification of Question by nautico-ga on 05 Aug 2003 12:14 PDT
I'll be out of email touch Aug 6-12, but will check back here when I return.

Request for Question Clarification by aht-ga on 10 Aug 2003 19:09 PDT
Does your friend require a mobile solution (ie. one that works while
in motion), a portable solution (ie. one that can work from multiple
locations, but is stationary during use), or a fixed solution (one
that never moves)?

What power and transportation capabilities does your friend have? In
other words, does he have access to 120 VAC, is he limited to a
cigarette lighter plug in a car, does he have a car/truck/van?

Finally, does your friend have a budget in mind, to help restrict the
scope of the Answer?

Subject: Re: Internet access without a phone?
Answered By: mvguy-ga on 11 Aug 2003 08:52 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
I know how spotty cell phone coverage can be in that region, even
along major highways, since I recently traveled through that part of
the country during a trip to Yellowstone National Park. Unfortunately
for those who want Internet access, the infrastructure simply isn't
there to provide inexpensive service without being physically
connected to a phone line.

However, Internet access is available, although it is expensive. 
Internet access requires use of a satellite network, so as long as
there is line of sight to the southern sky access is possible.

If you're looking primarily for the ability to send and receive data,
the solution is a satellite phone. At charges of around $1 per minute
or more, it's a bit expensive for net surfing, but for e-mail and that
sort of thing it would be doable.  Here's one product:

Inmarsat Satellite Phones
"Inmarsat satellite services provide coverage to 98% of the planet
with access to international dial-up telephone, fax, and data
networks. It is an ideal communications tool for geologists,
journalists, field workers, and anyone else operating in isolated or
underdeveloped areas beyond the reach of cellular or fixed

Or it is possible to use a satellite phone that is interfaced with the
laptop.  (The Iridium satellite phone is described on the page linked
to above.)   The procedure is described as follows:

Using Iridium Services:  Direct Internet
"To use Direct Internet Data Service, you must connect a PC to a
data-capable Iridium phone, use a SIM card that is provisioned for
data, and install the appropriate software on your computer....
"The Iridium phone appears as an external modem to your PC. By
initiating a connection through the Direct Internet software, the
phone will dial and initiate a connection with the Iridium gateway
through the Iridium satellite constellation. Click here for an
illustration. This connection setup is similar to how a voice call is
established, except a data connection is requested and the switch will
route the call to the Direct Internet server. Once connected to the
Direct Internet server and a session has been established, you will be
seamlessly connected to the Internet, as if you were on a LAN."

A picture of the equipment needed to hook up the Iridium satellite
phone to the Internet is shown on his page:

Data Kit

The Internet access obtained this way isn't particularly fast, about
10 Kbps, or about a fourth the speed of a typical dial-up connection.
But it certainly would be adequate for e-mail and data use.

Qualcomm also offers satellite phones that allow Internet access:


What I would suggest doing is getting a tri-mode phone that would
allow a connection to a less expensive cellular network when one is
available, or to a satellite when there is no cell tower close by. 
Here is one such phone:

Globalstar GSP-1600 Portable Tri-Mode Satellite Phone

Costs for satellite phones start around $500, more if purchased
without a service plan. Cost of telephone use is from 80 cents to a
few dollars per minute, depending on the type of phone plan.

Things are a bit more complicated if you're looking for high-speed
Internet access. Basically what you need then is a portable satellite
station. Several models are available that can be mounted on an RV.
Then the laptop could be used a few hundred feet away from the RV with
a wireless network.  Here are two examples of products available for
receiving satellite broadband service in an RV:

Ground Control


For such a system, you're looking at a few thousand dollars for the
initial system plus another $100 a month or so for the Internet

I hope this fully answers you question.



Google search terms successfully used:

satellite internet access

"satellite phone" "internet access"
nautico-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Many thanks. Great advice!

There are no comments at this time.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy