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Talk:Internet access

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Purpose of article[edit]

Can I have a few days on this one before it appears on vfd? ;) Discussion here is welcome though.

I can see an objection to this article along the lines of "but this is so blatantly obvious that it doesn't need pointing out -- use Hotmail!". It's sort of true, but the discussion I'm moving in from the pub below suggests that it might be useful to do a write-up for people with non-webmail accounts that they need shell/IMAP/POP access to. It does verge towards a "general tech" article rather than travel specific, but let me see what I can make of it from a traveller's perspective. Hypatia 18:38, 16 Dec 2004 (EST)

Email is a bit narrow. Should be renamed to "internet access" og we should have another article about that. --elgaard 17:58, 2 Feb 2005 (EST)
Since this email now has firewall information and so on, I agree with you. I am going to rename it to Internet access Hypatia 20:02, 5 Apr 2005 (EDT)
Good idea Lionfish 01:07, 6 Apr 2005 (BST)

Internet café[edit]

If I go to an Internet café, will I be able to plug my laptop in and ssh to my home computer? -phma 00:35, 26 Sep 2004 (EDT)

This is a computer question isn't it? It all depends on how you have your machine at home set up. If you have a router set up to accept calls to your machine from outside then this should be fine. It also depends on what outbound traffic the internet cafe allows. What you should do is from your home PC ssh to a box somewhere far away and then from this box try and ssh back onto your box. Doing this you should be able to prove that your machine is accepting connections.
It's an Internet café question. I know I can ssh from outside, but I've done it only at someone's home or at work. I don't know if Internet cafés let port 22 through, or (should I leave my laptop at home) they have ssh clients there so that I can ssh from their computer and bring up my Kmail on their screen. -phma 09:35, 27 Sep 2004 (EDT)
My observation has been that very few internet cafés allow laptop use these days, probably because they don't want to take the chance of having a possibly virus infected unknown machine on their internal network, and also don't want to be bothered to set up a firewalled laptop network.
If you are carrying around a laptop anyhow there are a lot of options for wireless these days, including a lot of free ones.
Meanwhile if that doesn't work, you can usually download Putty from internet café machines, or if all else fails there's a java SSH implimentation called mindterm which you can install on your home machine, assuming you are running an httpd. -- Mark 09:42, 27 Sep 2004 (EDT)
I don't have wireless on my laptop. Why would I need to download Putty? Don't they have openssh installed? I can't count on Java being available, though in a café they may have Colombia ;) and can a Java ssh implementation access the X server? Maybe the best solution is to find a geek in the host country who either lets me plug my laptop into his network or lets me ssh into it. -phma 05:38, 28 Sep 2004 (EDT)
You should not count on being allowed to put your laptop on a wired net. Do not count on getting X to work. Even if you managed to install an X-server on a PC in the internet cafe, the connection to an internet cafe would probably be too slow.
  • Install a webmail-server on your home computer. I use the one in usermin.
  • Ssh home with mindterm or putty and use a textbased mail client. (like Mutt or Vm, Gnus).
  • If you want access to your server, the most reliable way is the command interface in usermin because it only requires a browser with SSL.
  • You could bring a Knoppix CD. From Knoppix you can start a local Kmail and get you mail with POP3 or IMAP. But i doubt an internet cafe would let you boot their computer. OTOH a CD does not take up much space.
  • You can get a cheap 11Mbit wireless PCMCIA card
-- elgaard 07:31, 2004 Sep 30 (EDT)
Great advice Elgaard! I usually do all of the above... but seriously get the Wireless card. Depending on where you are going you are likely to save money, as there are lots of free wireless places these days. -- Mark 04:35, 1 Oct 2004 (EDT)
...or get a mobile phone with ssh client. lightweight solution. Not necessarily more expensive than an internet cafe if all you need is ssh terminal mode and gives you soo much more freedom. Wojsyl 13:09, 1 Jan 2005 (EST)
I had to use Internet in while traveling around France laste year, and nearly in any place I've asked I was allowed to plugin my laptop (to wired Ethernet network). Sometimes they had special seats for plugging in laptop (table+chair+socket), sometimes they unplugged other computer to make me a place with wire. It happened that I had to adjust my settings for some proxy for web access and/or set my IP/router addresses by hand. Never had problems with outgoing SSH connection.
I think that level of acceptance of connecting laptops increases. Probably because of number of people interested. In fact, once when I wasn't allowed to connect my laptop, I just searched for another café.
Also consider to add to page: email by WAP, email by voice messaging, email (notification?) by SMS.
--JanSlupski 20:07, 2 Feb 2005 (EST)
Yes more people have laptops. But wireless networks are also a lot more common. I am writing this from the Vienna cafe in Lafayette. Two other cafes have wired internet. But I doubt new networks will bother with wired internet. --elgaard 20:15, 2 Feb 2005 (EST)


What is the key to the selection of webmail services on this page ? Can anyone add his/her favourite webmail site here ? Wojsyl 16:07, 3 Feb 2005 (EST)

Yes, just like restaurants. We should try to selection a few that covers different tastes.
Yahoo: popular, Gmail: big storage, Ekit: travel oriented. --elgaard 17:53, 3 Feb 2005 (EST)
Gmail is not publicly accessible so far. It's misleading.
I have about 45 Invites I'll give to wikitravellers --elgaard 09:13, 14 Mar 2005 (EST)


I'm surprised no one's mentioned this problem. The great-firewall of China is often a real problem when people try to use their uni webmail accounts. I've not had any experience of it yet, am heading out there in Sept, so have been going on reports and articles I've read. If anyone who's been there (or better yet lives there) can improve on what I've written, I'd be very grateful.

I do not think many here have first hand experience with this. I have only experienced it at public terminal in Florida. It blocked any page with obscene words, I had to use som webmail gw to read my mail and the spammers provided plenty of subjects with obsene words. In eg. China I guess I would try to SSH to my server at home. Maybe TOR [1] would work Also I assumme no country would bother to block sites in danish :-) -- elgaard 23:49, 4 Apr 2005 (EDT)
Lol, I don't know. There was a site that could test whether a site was blocked from within China (I guess there was a machine in China somewhere it talked to), but it apparently went down a while ago :/ It would have been quite interesting/useful. I didn't realise there was censorship in Western world 'net cafes. Is it common? I've never had that problem anywhere in the UK or Eastern Europe... If it is we should add it to the page.
The US have become puritan. I have not had problems with internet cafes or when connecting with my own laptop. But public terminals in libraries, malls etc, can have all kinds of stupid filters. Why you would need a filter on a terminal in full view in a busy mall is beyound me. -- elgaard 15:18, 5 Apr 2005 (EDT)
After reading that I was about to enter into a rant about politics, religious fundamentalism and foreign policy in the US, but I won't :P I am surprised about library computers being censored. I had a quick look on Wikipedia at the censorship section: [[2]]. The UK seems to be going the other way with less restrictions "The government's new requirements for Ofcom only require it to ensure adherence to "generally accepted standards" and prevention of harm, removing the former requirement to adhere to standards of "taste and decency"" (from the Wikipedia article). In the last 15 years I think the UK has moved further from the US in many respects. This is going a tad off topic now ;P --Lionfish 23:01, 5 Apr 2005 (BST)

Hmm, my proxy server demo failed (history shows my ip addys are the same): Was using a transparent proxy when I made those changes, rather than an anonymous proxy... Lionfish

Need more of a Global View[edit]

I'm surprised about all this discussion about wireless connections etc: most places on Earth don't have an internet connection of any discription. Actually: A good proportion of the world's population is without an electricity supply. In many places: Rural china, etc getting access to the 'net at all is far more of an issue than whether you can use your laptop there. I think the article should try to add more 'global' stuff. Is there an article on satellite phones/modems? (Although, tbh, the only people who need to be in instant contact like that are TV or Radio reporters). -- Lionfish 01:25, 6 Apr 2005 (BST)

I think it's fine to have an article with mention of non-global access, although perhaps the article needs to be reordered. After all, we have tips for flying when plenty of people don't travel by plane. Likewise, we can have tips for getting 'net access that only work in wealthy countries with good 'net infrastructure. But they should be clearly marked as such, eg "if you're travelling in [certain countries], you will find that wireless access is plentful." Then we can add other tips for getting access in remote spots or places without the infrastructure. Also, keep in mind that we can only write what we know about, or can research. If something isn't in the article, it's better to assume that the author just didn't have the info available, rather than that it was a conscious anti-global decision. Likewise, it's better to have an incomplete article that only focusses on well equipped countries than no article at all. That said, I'd like to see more global stuff if anyone has the relevant knowledge or good research links.
See also Telephone service for travel: some info might be better off in that article. Hypatia 21:51, 5 Apr 2005 (EDT)
While most people in the world do not have internet access, travellers in almost any part of the world can get access to the internet somewhere on the travel. In poorer parts of the world there is usually many internet cafes, not in every village, but travellers usually pass larger cities with airports, train stations etc, every so often. I haven't been to rural China, but in South America, Asia, etc, it is not diffucult to get internet access. I hope someone going to China will write about the situation there. Wireless access might still be rare many places but it is cheap and getting more common everywhere. And you do not need electricity for wireless networks: WireLess, Zanzibar -- elgaard 22:20, 5 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Updating this article[edit]

I'm traveling around the world right now and I had been thinking of writing an article on this topic (not knowing this one was already written). I've been finding wireless internet in every place I go. However, there are huge disparities in the price of wifi everywhere I go. Usually one can find it for free if one looks hard enough. Often time hotels have it for free (especially the mid-range hotels). In Europe the pricier hotels charge rates so high they can only be described as insulting their customers.

Anyway, I think the article might focus more on wifi (or at least earlier in the article). Wifi is growing in importance, ubiquity and in the number of devices that support it. More and more cell phone companies are offering free minutes when making calls over wifi networks (instead of burdening the cell phone company's network). Also I think the article misrepresents the issue of open residential and other private networks. Usually an open wifi network is not by accident, but an intentional move by someone to share their network. Most wifi access points sold today come locked down. In other words the buyer of the access point has to take steps to deliberately open up the network. The only accidentally open networks would be very old access points or situations where the owner inadvertently opened the network or couldn't get it to work with their device without opening it (pretty rare situations in my experience). The article also makes unsubstantiated claims that it may be illegal to use these networks, but that is also false. In short it appears the article was written by someone trying to promote paid networks and trying to undermine the actions of citizens to share their networks with others. The article as currently worded needs to be tempered a bit and not make such wild claims.

The other thing I was considering adding was something about security. Often times people are afraid to openly share their wireless access point due to overblown security concerns. On the other hand, users of public networks need to be informed about security issues in using third-party networks. In that case there are some serious potential security issues, though unlikely exploited in most cases (though the obvious exception is the US communication industry invading their customers privacy and sharing customer data with reckless third-parties). 16:21, 25 April 2008 (EDT)

Plunge forward! Jpatokal 07:09, 26 April 2008 (EDT)



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