How To Access The Internet Off Grid

By Nick Oetken
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Wifi included
Wifi included
 
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When you go off-grid, it does not mean you have to cut off ties with civilization. With modern technology, you can now access the internet in off-the-grid locations. And of course, every option make use of equipment and items that we are all familiar with.

 

One easy way to maintain Internet access is through simple cell phone connections. There are a number of rural off-the-grid locations that still have accessible cell towers which in turn will allow users access the internet.

However, these connections are usually slow but they are one of the cheapest options for you. For those who are not going to require a lot of bandwidth, this is a good option.

 
With the right phone you can use the hotspot
With the right phone you can use the hotspot

These mobile phones can be carried anywhere, and even gives you the ability to make phone calls and have a dedicated phone number. Your kind of phone also matters; some phones allow you use your phone as a WiFi enabled hotspot or tether for other devices such as your laptop.

You can also make use of a wireless internet device, which acts as your own hotspot. These devices can provide you with 24/7 internet access when you go off-the-grid. It is important that you look for wireless internet devices that have the 4G connection.

This will increase your range and may be a good option for people who are close enough to pull in the WiFi signal. This is one of the best options for campers who want to stay connected to the internet.

However, this option is more expensive than cellular and the extra hardware.

There is another option available to adventure seekers, survivalists and campers. This is the satellite internet option.

Thanks to companies like HughesNet and Wild blue, you can now access the internet anywhere in the world at a very low cost. It also offers very fast download speeds, and most companies will charge satellite television services into your monthly bill.

BUT make sure you have a charger with you.
BUT make sure you have a charger with you.

Just like everything else, there are a number of downside to the use of the satellite internet. One is the constant decrease of internet speed during peak hours. Also, there might be higher hardware costs. The weather too has the power to impact your signal, and you need a clear view of the sky in order to access the satellite internet.

There have also been reports of latency issues when using social media platforms like Skype.

Internet through the use of the Ham Radio is another option. Before I continue, you must understand that this option is not practical for large downloads or steaming; you can say it is just there to allow you remain updated. It is useful for emergencies because you can send emails, documents, and even download documents when all other forms of communication have let you down.

Years before the advent of the internet, Ham radio users created an internet of their own which was referred to as Packet Radio. The Packet Radio allowed its users send files, text messages.

Amateur radio
Amateur radio

There was word that they even controlled remote systems and networks with the help of their radios. If an apocalypse were to happen, the Ham radio can still offer the world some sort of emergency internet, at least one that can link remote stations and form an additional ad hoc network.

There are messaging systems like DStar and Winlink today which allows its users send email with attachments, emergency messages, and even read articles on the New Yorker.

You should however be knowledgeable on its legality in whatever location you find yourself. This is because its legality is still questioned in several parts of the world. In spite of this, it is still a viable option for internet access and a perfect solution in emergency situations.

Other times, all these aforementioned options might suddenly disappoint you. If it is an emergency, your best bet is to drive into a town with internet access, or ask around for a free WiFi spot. This should however be done in only the case of an emergency.

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In conclusion, what should you consider before going off the grid? You should ask yourself these three important questions:

  1. Is there a cell service in the area you hope to camp? This is a very important question because it allows you to access the internet right on your mobile phone.
  2. Does your internet service provider have enough coverage in the area you wish to camp? If yes, you should call them and ask for bundling rates so you can get discounts.
  3. Does your internet plan allow for unlimited internet usage? This is because you might not be able to renew your data plan in the wild.

So it is possible to access the internet in off-the-grid locations, do not give up on trying several other options.

 
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