WIFI and Cell Phones... ??

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WIFI and Cell Phones... ??

Postby kayvebear » Tue Aug 14, 2012 3:55 pm

I am slightly embarrassed to say that after coming all these years since 2005, the only way I am going to get to participate in this years burn is if I have access to WIFI on the playa and can also make a cell phone call if need be (SORRY!).

Does anyone have information on whether or not this is possible for us people who unfortunately might have to do some work at our 2nd home?

Thank you!
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Re: WIFI and Cell Phones... ??

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Aug 14, 2012 4:03 pm

Wifi is possible early in the morning.
Sat phone is the only sure way out--cells may not have service and the time and energy and possiblity of no calls being made on the Gerlach/Empire run, not worth the trouble.
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Re: WIFI and Cell Phones... ??

Postby kayvebear » Tue Aug 14, 2012 4:24 pm

Cab you elaborate on wifi being possible early in the morning? :)

Actually please elaborate on the gerlach run too if you dont mind. In all my years out here I have never once left the event premises to go to gerlach...
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Re: WIFI and Cell Phones... ??

Postby Rice » Tue Aug 14, 2012 4:35 pm

kayvebear wrote:Cab you elaborate on wifi being possible early in the morning? :)

Actually please elaborate on the gerlach run too if you dont mind. In all my years out here I have never once left the event premises to go to gerlach...

Sometimes WIFI works in the early morning, that is - if it was working at all, if it has not been overloaded (again).

When I crave internet (ok, need to check my email) I grab my notebook computer and head to Centre Camp. Usually just a bit before sunrise. That seems to be the best time to get any internet. Pulling up basic web pages is not exactly fast, checking web email is ok. Do not expect to stream any audio or video, or to use Skype! Sometimes it doesnt work, other times it does. Depends on the weather and other stuff.

If you need to head into Gerlach or to the Empire store, you can purchase a in/out pass from Gate.

In-and-Out Passes

In-and-out passes are available at the gate for $20 per person. You must have your pass, and your ticket stub, to return to the event. If you need to leave to make a phone call or pick up some emergency sundries, we encourage you to use our Empire-Gerlach bus service.
( see: http://www.burningman.com/on_the_playa/ ... /gate.html )

You will need to wait in line to get back into the city. Do not forget your ticket stub at your camp (cause, you wont be able to get back in without it)...
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Re: WIFI and Cell Phones... ??

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Aug 14, 2012 4:44 pm

There are lines at the pay phones. Is it three or four total in the two towns?
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Re: WIFI and Cell Phones... ??

Postby Rice » Tue Aug 14, 2012 4:51 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:There are lines at the pay phones. Is it three or four total in the two towns?

um, the only pay phone I can think of in Gerlach, is the one by the Post Office.. Maybe there are more, but I simply do not recall.
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Re: WIFI and Cell Phones... ??

Postby kayvebear » Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:13 pm

I didn't realize it..

Center camp has free wifi?? :)
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Re: WIFI and Cell Phones... ??

Postby timcat » Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:31 pm

Look into Camp Papa Legba. You might be able to make an outbound call from their on-playa GSM cellular network.
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Re: WIFI and Cell Phones... ??

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:51 pm

Wifi is iffy. It's free, probably where ever you find it (I'm so tempted to go "hello! Burningman!"), but you're not likely to find it.
The only sure thing is a sat phone.
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Re: WIFI and Cell Phones... ??

Postby some seeing eye » Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:01 pm

This comes up every year and the situation has been the same for several years. Search eplaya.

Carefully think out your use cases: in/out - voice/text - hours. Interwebs what times, what apps.

On the web, lower the bandwidth needed by using the simplest interface versions. Most web mail has a simple option (Gmail - html only), don't load images, use adblocker.

Lower the expectations of the people who are communicating with you. You are going on a wilderness camping trip, right?

There is a good argument that the ORG should discontinue the playacam and block all participant image files and movie files in and out for the duration of the event. Ditto adblock on all incoming. IMO.

I the Internet connection is being used by ESD, some people think that is more important than every participant having an always connected experience they would have in a major city.
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Re: WIFI and Cell Phones... ??

Postby Eric » Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:23 pm

kayvebear wrote:I didn't realize it..

Center camp has free wifi?? :)


"Free" does not mean "functional". Like Fishy has been repeating and you've been ignoring, the only guaranteed way to make contact off playa is a Satellite phone. Everything else is completely iffy. I've been able to get one (count 'em, ONE) email out since 2005. A couple of phone-calls as well, & that was because someone had a "call home" Sat-phone set up for people to use. I've never got a cell signal out there at all (Sprint).
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Re: WIFI and Cell Phones... ??

Postby Rice » Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:57 am

Eric wrote:
kayvebear wrote:I didn't realize it..

Center camp has free wifi?? :)


"Free" does not mean "functional". Like Fishy has been repeating and you've been ignoring, the only guaranteed way to make contact off playa is a Satellite phone. Everything else is completely iffy. I've been able to get one (count 'em, ONE) email out since 2005. A couple of phone-calls as well, & that was because someone had a "call home" Sat-phone set up for people to use. I've never got a cell signal out there at all (Sprint).

Yes, there might be a wifi signal. I found it at centre camp a few years ago. It sorta worked once. On the monday or tuesday. then, not so much...

A sat phone is the only guaranteed thing out there. Something that you can rent, bring out and use for yourself. Otherwise, the best anyone can promise is "maybe, or might work", but no promises...
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Re: WIFI and Cell Phones... ??

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:38 am

stretch80 wrote:
theCryptofishist wrote:There are lines at the pay phones. Is it three or four total in the two towns?

um, the only pay phone I can think of in Gerlach, is the one by the Post Office.. Maybe there are more, but I simply do not recall.

Isn't there one in Bruno's? And then one or two outside the store in Empire?
And when I say lines, people can stand in them for an hour or more. No way you can schedule anything, like for a work meeting...
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Re: WIFI and Cell Phones... ??

Postby aknod » Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:36 pm

Last year I was able to get texts and send them when I was out at the airport. Signal seemed decent out there. I think I may have made a voice call also, but that could have been the voices in my head.

Wifi is very iffy in center camp. Last year I wasn't able to get it to work at all on an ipad or my phone. Maybe those cool plug and play peeps have wifi?
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Re: WIFI and Cell Phones... ??

Postby AntiM » Fri Aug 17, 2012 5:15 am

Last two years we have had signal on our Verizon phones early in the week (Sun~Tues). Good enough for voice and texting. Later in the week... no idea, we had put the phones away. Campmate has t-mobile and could text early in the week, then he put away his phone too. None of us tried emails. Voice calls were because of a family emergency, campmate texting as a novelty.
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Re: WIFI and Cell Phones... ??

Postby YoginotfromMuskogee » Sun Aug 26, 2012 6:43 pm

Last year I got a weak cell signal for an iPhone (ATT) near Center Camp but later in the week I started getting a pretty good signal right at my camp at 2:45 and C.

In 2010 one camp on the Esplanade (who's name escapes me) at around 3:00 set up a 'payphone' with free 3-min calls for everyone. Wonderful service!
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Re: WIFI and Cell Phones... ??

Postby felony » Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:25 pm

I had cell service and was able to send and recieve texts all week. Better reception early - before 7am on verizon - not a smart phone- just a regular LG.
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Re: WIFI and Cell Phones... ??

Postby VultureChow » Wed Sep 05, 2012 3:11 pm

Early morning service with at&t. Before 7am. Just voice, no data and there seemed to be a significant enough delay so that extensions didn't work. Texts working fine.

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Honestly, just being able to check in every other day made my burn far more enjoyable. No lingering guilt about work or parents. And the uncertainty of the connection makes brief calls very easy. Just checking in so everyone knows everyone is alive.
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Re: WIFI and Cell Phones... ??

Postby mudpuppy000 » Wed Sep 05, 2012 3:50 pm

Someone (PEEfnet?) had a really good wifi connection near our camp this year. Never figured out who was hosting it but thank you whoever you were! :)
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Re: WIFI and Cell Phones... ??

Postby Eric » Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:47 pm

We had really good wifi in the Center Camp area from Sat-Mon, but then it got very hit-or-miss. By Weds it was only usable around 4am (when I was too drunk to type), no access by Friday.

However, it was the first year I was able to send (and receive) a couple of emails with The Boyfriend, which was really nice.
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