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Thursday, August 25, 2011

My travel setup when traveling abroad

You may imagine that, when europeans travel, they easily hit a country's boarder and so may accidentally run into high roaming charges.
In order to prevent me from such hazards I have decided to disable "Data Roaming" on the IPhone.

But how can I get mail,tweets,text etc.?

What I did is buying a so called MyFi which is nothing but a wireless HotSpot on 3G  Basis that is not linked to any ISP by a SIM- or Netlock at all.

I chose the HUAWEI E5 that is now only 100€ and decided to buy local Mobile Data prepaid Plans when traveling abroad.
In Australia you can get 1 GB of download volume for just 15$AUS without any bureaucratical issues thru VirginMobile f.e.

Once the MyFi is started up, it creates a WiFi Hotspot of approx. 5Meters(16ft) diameter that you can log on with up to 5 devices.

The APN is configurable from the iPhone or the iPad and the iPod touch as well though a browser Interface.
This is essential after you plugged in the local SIM since all providers have different APNs.
I highly recommend to disable the PIN Protection of the SIM module as well, because it is very inconvenient on an iDevice and the risk is limited to the pre-charged amount of money.

You can set up your own SSID and Password.

The MyFi itself has a Battery Life of 4 hrs. Since this is not enough for a whole day it is very important that it is chargeable thru USB. The HUAWEI E5 charges at 1.000mA like the iPhone, so I could use a external Battery Pack like the "Just Mobile Pro Portable Battery Pack" (39€ thru Amazon) that is carrying 4.400mAh which is approx. 4 times the capacity of the MyFi batterie and so worth some 20hrs of Internet access in total. the connection of these 2 devic  es is made via Mini-USB to USB cable, that can also be used to charge both, MyFi and Battery Pack by a standard USB wall charger.

Since I usually walk around with a backpack or a shoulderbag on vacation, there is no problem to become a mobile walking hotspot, since the weight of the total setup is aproxx. 0,25kg(0,5lbs).
The mobile Battery Pack can also be used for charging the idevices exept iPad and to extend the battery life of the iPhone while no car based navigation such as hiking, cycling, geo-caching.

Last but not least, the setup is far better than data roaming, since you can also download data files bigger than your iPhone ISP allows, since the iPhone reacts like being in a local WiFi network. So you can also listen to your favourite podcast while being abroad.

Listen to my podcast contribution to the Nosillacast Podcast: