On The Road: Spotty data coverage in Yellowstone

Old Faithful Geyser, as seen through the windows of the Visitor Center
Old Faithful Geyser, as seen through the windows of the Visitor Center
I am toward the end of the 72 hours I had to subscribe to Global Gossip to have WiFi access while in the vicinity of the Old Faithful Geyser and the Old Faithful Inn. Thank goodness for Harvard, my support person. It was a bit confusing to do the “pay-by-credit-card” subscription option (you can get other access depending on your guest level at the Lodge) and ending up setting up two separate accounts. While we had a wonderful view directly of the famed geyser upon waking, the older facility does not have WiFi data coverage. About a 5-minute trek to the Snow Lodge and $24.95 for 72 hours of WiFi use and here I am posting.
So, for all the tech I brought along with me, my data connection was hampered by what was available through the air.

  • MacBook (Unibody Aluminum – 2008)
  • iPad (3rd generation)
  • B&N Nook Simple Touch
  • Canon Digital Rebel (aka 300D)
  • Canon HF10 HD video camera
  • Kodak EasyShare Z915
  • Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX7
  • Seagate GoFlex Satellite
  • Samsung Epic 4G (smartphone)

Shouldn’t be a biggie, as this is to be a vacation, but still…

My partner also has a new iPad (black to my white) with the same ATT data plan. His iPad was able to do a decent email send and receive, albeit slow. My iPad, however, barely trickled its data signal. Four out a multitude of received emails were received overnight; never mind trying to send something out.
The strange part was that some of the non-hotel locations we encountered in going to the northern central part of the national park had not only a decent ATT signal but a 4G one at that.

My smartphone has Sprint service. While I didn’t necessarily think I would have WiMax 4G service, I expected at least a nominal Sprint non-roaming signal. No such luck. Fellow guests, including my partner with his iPhone 4 on ATT, are able to talk on their phones and get and send data in the Inn and other parts of the park.