Now that I'll be on the road for weeks at a time, I need to stay connected to the Internet. I'm in the San Francisco Bay area and wireless connectivity is easy to find. Most of us who are not tethered to an RV park can "war drive" down a major street like Geary Blvd. in San Francisco and pick up an unsecured (not protected with a password) wi-fi signal. We stop the vehicle, log on long enough to download email and then drive away.
If you're in an RV park or campground and there is no wi-fi provided, you can sometimes locate someone else's wi-fi signal in the vicinity. Protocol states if the signal is unsecure, you can use it very briefly to download email and upload replies later. It's considered bad form to send photos or media files that take a great deal of bandwidth for transmission over someone else's wi-fi. If you can track down the owner of the wi-fi signal, it's a good idea to ask permission first.
I'll be traveling through many states and should be able to find a wi-fi signal in most of them. When I can't, I've found the days of dial-up are pretty much over. I haven't found many phone connections where a laptop can be plugged in and its modem can be used.
I just upgraded my Nokia cell phone to a Samsung Blackjack using Bluetooth technology. This allows me to create my own wi-fi connection by using my cell phone as a modem with a cable connected to my laptop. If you're familiar with the Blackberry, you'll know that you can use the very tiny keyboard to surf the web, receive and send emails, send text messages, participate in chats and more using only the phone. I can check emails wherever I am. This new phone also has a camera and plays music files. It wasn't inexpensive but I think it's worth the price.
The good news is RVers now have the ability to connect to the Internet from inside the RV. The days of looking for a phone booth or a modem for a dial-up connection are almost over. Since I will be conducting a class on Basic Self-Protection for solo women and other RVers, this new technology is definitely worth looking into. No more leaving the security of the RV in all kinds of weather or potentially dangerous situations just to stay in touch. I consider that very good news indeed.
If you have questions or need more information about this technology, I'll be happy to help.