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Mobile wifi for hospital stays

12
Found 30th May 2014
Hi all, my Dad is going to be in hospital for extended periods over the coming months and I know that being able to watch various sports channels on a laptop or tablet would make a big difference to his wellbeing while he's in there.

We're looking at buying him a tablet with some form of internet access next week because I don't think the hospital he's at has wifi. What would be the best way to connect the tablet to the internet at a fairly decent speed though to be able to live stream the Sky Sports channels for instance?

Would a mobile wifi point be best or a dongle or just a 4G sim card?

He doesn't have a mobile phone to tether a connection through either unfortunately so I'm just looking at what options we have for getting him connected at a reasonable speed.

Thank you
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12 Comments
Original Poster
dcx_badass

I'd wait till he's there so you can get a few free sims and test the … I'd wait till he's there so you can get a few free sims and test the different networks. In my experience the phone signal is hospitals is dire.



Good idea, I'm visiting this weekend hopefully so could try O2 and Vodafone then. So you don't think a dongle or mobile hotspot type thing would improve the chances of the signal being better?
If you're streaming it's going to eat the data and cost loads! Our local hospital sells internet passes so you can log in to their network. Could be worth investigating that
Original Poster
UnicornRiver

If you're streaming it's going to eat the data and cost loads! Our local … If you're streaming it's going to eat the data and cost loads! Our local hospital sells internet passes so you can log in to their network. Could be worth investigating that



Thanks I'll ask them if they have anything like that when I visit
I think hospitals block tv and internet signals so you have to use their rip off Patientline system.
How about a portable dvd player instead and a shedload of dvds i found these handy when i was in hospital as was awake most of the night and nothing much on tv in the small hours worth watching also cheap mp3 player was worth having as downloaded few audio books from local library. The patientline tv wasnt to bad at one pound for 24 hours as full digital tv plus internet but no streaming as no flash installed.take a pair of cheap earphones as mine had no speaker
I have been in two different hospitals in London recently.
They both offered wifi spark for free.
I was able to stream without a problem.
Original Poster
Thanks everyone will look at all that. bigjeremy he wants to watch things like live cricket that aren't on terrestrial tv I think but, if all else fails, hopefully the world cup matches will be a distraction at least!

He could also download a load of programmes from iPlayer and the like to the tablet at home on the wifi and watch those in the hospital I guess if we can't fix it so livestreaming works.

The hospital is in Hull Managers so even though it's fairly new I'm not banking on things like wifi being there!
I'm in Sunderland hospital on talktalk (vodaphone) & the 3G is spot on on my iPhone 5 hospital not got wifi but ok to use phone on wards & 3G
Edited by: "blindmansden" 30th May 2014
most likely the signal will be blocked fascist nhs policy numnutz.
best thing to do is download tons of movies and box sets onto a cheap lightweight laptop w headphones for him to watch
Most NHS hospitals now have free wifi, although they don't advertise it as they have the personal TVs per bed now that are approx £5-8 per day and they make a percentage of the sales. Last year I had a few major op's and long stays after blowing all my knee ligs and muscles in an accident and bought an iPad to take in with me on my first surgery as I knew I was in for a while & would be cracking up with pain & boredom (wifi & cellular), bought the best allowance sim available for an iPad to watch the free live TV apps, SKY Go, etc etc and it ate the allowance within a couple of days, it was only after I called my dad in at 1am because I was climbing the walls with no TV on day 3 (in pain & couldn't sleep) because had I had no cash to put in the hospital machine for the one in my room & my father had to be buzzed in to the ward at that stupid hour that the night staff told me there was the free wifi......Aaarghhhhh!!!
I would suggest going the hospital before he goes in, go to the wifi section in your phone/tablet and you will see 3-5 for NHS, all but one will require a password, the one that doesn't is for patients, you choose that option, asks you to agree to it's terms and conditions, and you are away! Make sure you go up to the ward you know he will be on though, as outpatients can be hit and miss. It can ask you each time you go online to agree to terms and conditions, so he might have to keep going in to the wifi section each time he returns to the device after he shuts it down.
I have multiple hospital appointments between 5 hospitals in 3 different counties, furthest 90-120mins away, and they all have the free option but none advertise the fact, once you go to the wifi section in your device. Some departments aren't great but all the wards have had full signal.
Hope that helps!
Dea.



Edited by: "Dea332" 30th May 2014
donaldduck2

I think hospitals block tv and internet signals so you have to use their … I think hospitals block tv and internet signals so you have to use their rip off Patientline system.


I think so too. It's odd that newer hospitals built under PFI scheme usually block phone signals but older hospitals with thicker walls don't block them in most places I have been in.

Also some of them install repeaters of only one network on which ever the managers are more on without asking staff which network is more used. Infact If they need repeaters then all the networks or major ones should be used so that all patients can benefit. I feel this is a deliberate planning decision to build in a way to block signals to increase revenue from patient billing calls and TV service.

Many block signals entirely due to the way they are built. So if your phone won't get a signal then the dongle won't get a signal unless your bed at your hospital gets a signal. Worth trying an unlocked Phone or dongle with various providers or ask staff which network had best reception in the area of the hospital you are expected to be in.
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