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WiFi favorites for REMOTE?

Dave - W6OVP
Dave - W6OVP Member ✭✭
edited May 2019 in SmartSDR for Windows

I'm experimenting with REMOTE using a FLEX 6400. It works well at home using a laptop or iPad. But when running remote away from home the public WiFi quality is a mixed bag.

The idea of having "millions" of Comcast INFINITY "hot spots"is appealing. But as an installer told me "Our hot spots are only good for email". So far I've found that to be mostly true. WiFi from Starbucks and MacDonalds seems stronger and more reliable but are harder to pick out from the tangled maze of offerings filling the air.

I would like to hear what other REMOTE users do when pulling into a shopping center wanting to play radio. Do you have favorite WiFi providers? What do you look for? Do you run Low BW Connect? Etc.

TNX for your REMOTE experience and advice. -Dave.


  • Larry Loen  WO7R
    Larry Loen WO7R Member ✭✭
    edited May 2019
    I have never even attempted such a thing.  The big issue with remote radio control is network latency.

    I know some have made (for instance) hotel WiFi work, but I have not even tried.  I am blessed with good latency at home, but I have had periods of terrible latency problems even there.

    Worse, "speed test" always seems to run fine, so the ISP techs lose interest.  They seem to think as long as the speed is good their work is done.  For us, it isn't, but they go by their little diagnostic scripts and assume you and I can barely plug in a PC. 

    Imagine the same complaints to a hotel clerk who might (might!) know someone in IT to call and then the IT guy finds out "speed test" is working fine.

    Nobody anywhere guarantees latency, so you get pretty much hit and miss, at best, for any complaints.  It might work well, it might work horribly.  Either way, you take **** luck and there's usually not much in the way of recourse away from your home ISP.

    And, if you want access at 5 PM to 9 PM local time, odds are good that even if it works at other times, you won't get much success then.  The more people that are on, the worse latency is.

    I certainly would not use hotel or McDonald's WiFi for anything serious.  The "hit and miss" you observe is exactly what you should expect.  It may work sometimes, but you should treat every success as an unexpected pleasure based on what I get from my _home_ ISP who is at least somewhat motivated to help me.
  • Craig Williams
    Craig Williams Member ✭✭
    edited May 2019
    Use my own ATT portable hot spot. Costs about $10.00 a month, runs as fast as the ATT cell site, no security, well less security, problems.
  • KY6LA_Howard
    KY6LA_Howard Member ✭✭✭
    edited May 2019

    In the USA, my iPad has a ATT Phone connection so it uses Cell Data which in most cases is much better than the Free Hotspots at McDonalds or Starbucks.or most Hotels.  

    If I schlep a Maestro, I turn on the hotspot sharing on my iPhone and it works well
    If I schlep a laptop, I turn on the hotspot sharing on my iPhone and it works well

    Outside of the USA, I carry a UNLOCKED Hotspot with a local SIM (ATT Roaming Rates are outrageous) ... Most of the world is now 4G (150Mb/s) albeit some backward countries like the USA still have 3G.. I get very good results with the Hotspot.

    Most Hotel and Free WIFI is not that great (around 1-2MB/s).  I find I am better off using 4G.
    I do NOT use CW.. but latency is more than acceptable for SSB or Digital.

    Cost - Internationally about $3GB or about $3 /hr 

    In the USA, I just burn up the excess on my data plan albeit there is deal for unlimited if you are using it a lot.
  • Mark NS9N
    Mark NS9N Member ✭✭
    edited May 2019
    I have had excellent results with both ATT and Verizon cell phone networks. And even hotel networks when I can hard wire in. But most WiFi networks have way too much latency. When you find a good network connection the experience is outstanding.
  • Dave - W6OVP
    Dave - W6OVP Member ✭✭
    edited May 2019
    TNX for all the comments so far. But they all require cell phones, and at my age I don't use a fancy one any more. Just a cheepie I carry for emergencies like a flat tire. <ggg>.

    Have to say I've had very good remote experiences with "grocery store" WiFi systems sometimes. Had a great QSO with a local ham who was on vacation in China. We were both using FLEX 6400s, and both operating from away from our homes. Was just like a local QSO...

    P.S. When using public WiFi I use a dedicated laptop with reformatted HD and a fresh Win10 install. It contains only FLEX and other Ham Radio stuff and no personal info so I don't worry about invaders or spies. If in doubt, I just reinstall from a backup.
  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin
    edited May 2019

    You may find that sites like McDonald's etc will have traffic shaping firewalls that will shut down or reduce streaming traffic including what the Flex uses on SmartLink.  They do this to ensure everyone gets a fair shake on some bandwidth.  

    If you find a good one that works for you, that is great.  It varies from site to site.

    Mike va3mw

  • Craig Williams
    Craig Williams Member ✭✭
    edited May 2019
    Add a access point modem to your plan. Fit in your shirt pocket. Only setup is giving it a password.
  • David Hickman
    David Hickman Member ✭✭
    edited May 2019
    I am 90% remote ( check out my profile on QRZ - KB0FHF) 

    I will not use public wifi. I run have a Netgear nighthawk with a monthly AT&T domestic account for the US.

    When in areas where AT&T does not work well ( rare in the US) I buy a local prepaid card and use that.

    When international, I use the prefered sim for the area.

    I carry my Maestro with me almost everywhere and it works fine.

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