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Hi Bryan


I assume you mean it has Wifi, so you can connect to a wifi network rather than plug in a hard-wired network connection.


In mainland Europe the best way to use it to connect to the internet is to go somewhere where you can connect to a 'public' system, such as at McDonalds (you may have to buy something to get a password off them) or some 'open' ones provided by villages etc, or if you're on a campsite, by connecting to their network (free or for a small fee). You can even just see if your laptop will pick up any unprotected (ie no password) connections to use (whether you then chose to use them is up to you).


Connecting to the web in mainland Europe in any other way can be horrendously expensive so not a viable option.


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We have just come back from a two week trip taking in Luxembourg, Switzerland and France. The site at Luxembourg had free WiFi, Switzerland was 20 swiss francs for the week and France was around 2 euro's a day. But the BBC iPlayer wouldn't work as it knows your out of the country. Other than that, it all worked fine. I would think 3G dongles could be a) expensive and b) slow so always look for a WiFi hook up.
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mark hinde - BBC iPlayer wouldn't work as it knows your out of the country.


There is some dodge with proxy servers that camouflages your IP address so that the BBC don't know where you are. The last time I looked (google proxy servers +BBC iplayer) it was about £30 month to buy into a proxy but it was one of those "nexttime" projects so I can't give you any concrete evidence of how to set it up or whether it works.

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bryan - 2011-07-27 7:54 PM


I have just purchased a laptop,my first, could anyone sugest the cheapest way to use it in europe,it is wireless and I only have a bog standard mobile, no frills, any help would be appreciated.


The cheapest way will be to use free wireless hotspots. McDonalds has been mentioned, many campsites have free, or low cost, wireless hotspots, but you usually have to ask to be given a password before you can connect, and it seems some aires now have access to municipal wireless hotspots for a modest charge. These will get you onto the internet. If you leave the wireless access on your laptop "on", it will seek out available WiFi signals when you boot it up. Sites etc will tell you the name of the WiFi hotspot to use when they give you the access code/password. Some will allow you to connect via an ethernet point instead of wireless. To use these, it is worth carrying at least a metre of ethernet cable. With either, make sure you have a good anti-virus installed on your laptop - these will be public locations.


Make sure you switch all automatic updates to download manually, not automatically, before you leave UK. I found myself in a Slovenian hotel foyer (WiFi for the price of a drink, and soooooo much nicer than McDonalds! :-)) with the computer downloading and installing Windows Vista Service Pack 1! Big download, many beers, hic, pardon! :-)


Don't try using your phone as a modem, it will be slow, and will cost you a small fortune! Use texts instead. Quick, and fairly cheap with most providers. Check, and change if necessary. Avoid voice calls for abroad other than for emergencies. Same reason: they are expensive. If you are on a contract, I'd suggest buying and installing a PAYG SIM before you go, set up top-ups from your card, and keep a smallish amount of credit on the SIM. Then, should the phone be lost or nicked, your liabilities for calls will be limited to what is on the SIM. Password protect the SIM.


Make sure you have card insurance before you go, and make sure you keep the insurance number on the mobile. Have two mobiles with the same critical numbers stored on each, in case a bag with cards, wallet, phone, etc goes missing.


Consider buying a Pacsafe bag. (Google pacsafe, available via Amazon and others). These have stainless steel wire reinforcement to shoulder straps, and a stainless steel mesh inserted into the body of the bag, to prevent the bag being cut off/open, and have zips that lock onto a kind of mini-karabiner clip to make opening much more difficult for the light fingered, despite all of which they are light, well made, and look like ordinary bags. Good kit!


Similarly, I'd say don't get a mobile network data dongle. They are fair enough in UK, but roamed data rates are difficult to unearth, vary from country to country, sometimes depend on the available network even within countries, and are invariably punitive in price!


Your ISP should be able to tell you how you can pick up your usual "home" e-mails when away from home. Failing that, set up a hotmail, or similar, account for use when away. However, this has the disadvantage of having e-mails in two places with some sitting on your "home" server until your return.

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Klyne - 2011-07-27 11:09 PM


I have not tried it but some people suggest this programme for watching iPlayer whilst abroad http://expatshield.com/




Oh yes that was me. (I have another name on UKCampsite)


Expat shield comes from Anchorfree who have a main and well established program called Hotspot Shield.


The difference is that Expat Shield operates as a vpn giving you an IP address in the UK, whereas Hotspot Shield will put you in the USA.


These programs are free and supported by advertising and will give you access to sites only available to UK or US residents, so the IPlayer does not realise you are abroad.


When installing one of these you may get an alert from your antivirus, as heuristics can detect possible malware behaviour, however it is quite safe to allow the installation. (my other hobby is testing computer security).

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Brian Kirby - 2011-07-28 12:39 PM Don't try using your phone as a modem, it will be slow, and will cost you a small fortune!

Not necessarily according to what I'be been told. I have a Samsung Galaxy S2 smartphone and a contract that allows unlimited data (with a 'Fair Use' clause as usual). I am assured that tethering (as it's known) my netbook will not incur extra charges and that it is virtually impossible anyway for a provider to know how the data is being transmitted, either directly ftom the phone or via a generated wi-fi hotspot.

Now I accept that I'm referring to use in the UK and that this thread is about using data when abroad, but I can buy a package when I go to Europe and a typical one is 50MB for £10, lasting up to one month.

Now 50MB will let me connect my netbook several times for checking banking etc. and again, how will my provider know that the data is being transmitted or downloaded via my phone's wi-fi tethering facility?

Obviously, for email I shall simply use the smartphone and, where possible, I'll still use MacDonald's (a brilliant service as I found in France this year) and I shall also use site wi-fi if available but if none of these are I shall happily tether my netbook to my smartphone and live within my 50MB.

If anyone knows any different I'll be happy to learn if my supposition is wrong, but I cannot see that moderate browsing using a smartphone as a wi-fi source is going to bankrupt me. I'm with T-Mobile by the way.

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