It doesn't happen very often, but sometimes you may not be able to access the internet at home. Maybe it's because the service is down or you've moved to a new location and are waiting for the ISP to install the new service. In these cases, it's always good to have a backup plan in mind so that you can still have Internet access even if your main connection is MIA at home. If you are currently looking for a backup plan, there are a few suggestions to consider.
When driving / commuting is an option
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If you can and want to get out of the house to access the internet, there are a number of options available to you, including some of the obvious ones:
- Libraries and bookstores
- Fast food joints
- Hotel lobbies
- Your local university campus
Remember that using public WiFi in a company requires a certain give and take. It is common and customary to always buy something when you take your place in a coffee shop or fast food place. Better yet, if you tip well and meet the baristas, no one is going to give you the smelly eye when you stick your surge protector in the wall and pull out the work of your day.
In addition, some places that offer public WiFi are limited to members only. You may need to show a library card to use your library's WiFi, or you may need to be a member of the gym to use the internet there. It's always a good idea to call ahead and see what guidelines apply before creating a solid plan.
Be aware that public WiFi can be dangerous. You have no control over security, which may not meet recommended standards. These can be popular places for hackers looking to intercept financial information. If you often rely on public WiFi, we recommend adding a VPN to your devices.
When driving / commuting isn't an option
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If you're stuck in a situation where you don't have internet at home and you can't get in a car or on the bus, things get a little tougher. There are still a few options for you to consider. Some require planning ahead and cannot be used at the last minute.
- Places within walking distance: This is pretty straightforward, but if there is a coffee shop or library a reasonable distance away, you can do the hike to use the WiFi. It's certainly not a convenience, but you will get healthy exercise while you are at it. You can also check out the lobby, clubhouse, or leasing office of your apartment complex (if you live in an apartment). Most of these places offer free WiFi in their public areas, which is free for residents. So be sure to check if this is an option.
- City WiFi: Some cities also offer their own WiFi within the city limits, which is open to both locals and tourists and available free of charge. Your location also plays a role in this situation. So if you don't live within the city limits, you will most likely not get a signal.
- Ask neighbors: If you're stuck at home with no free wifi nearby and can't tie yourself down, all you can do is reach out to your neighbor and see if you can temporarily use their wifi. If you've never met your neighbor before, be prepared for them to be a little careful. However, if you explain your situation, they will most likely be compassionate and forward you based on how nice they are (and how good they are) the cookies you bribed them with.
If you have a smartphone, you can connect your data connection to your computer and get full internet access via 3G / 4G data. It all depends on the reception of your phone. So, unless you have a particularly good connection in your house, tethering probably won't do much for you. However, if it is an option, there are a few options.
The official way to get tethering for your phone and computer is to enable the WiFi hotspot feature from your phone's settings menu. Every network operator is different when it comes to connecting. Therefore, monthly fees may vary and some carriers may include them as part of your monthly service depending on their plan.
You can also do tethering by connecting your phone to your computer via USB. However, for a truly wireless experience (without Wi-Fi), you can also use Bluetooth to set up a tethering connection. If you have an iPhone, tethering usually uses iTunes, while tethering options are also available in Android settings. Look for options to create a “personal hotspot” or similar language.
Create a mobile hotspot
You can also get a dedicated mobile hotspot from a carrier of your choice that is similar to tethering but designed specifically for mobile devices when you are on the go.
For example, on an Android phone, just swipe down from the top of the screen and select Hotspot. You should also check your provider settings to see whether the functions for mobile hotspots are activated. This is an increasingly common feature for smartphones and phone plans. So it's definitely worth checking out if you're not sure. Typically, these hotspots have a limit on the number of devices they can connect, anywhere from 5 to 10 depending on your plan. You should also make sure that your phone is charged as this can significantly reduce battery life.
There is another way to get mobile hotspots if your phone doesn't support it: Separate hotspot devices help you get reliable internet connections everywhere. There are a variety of these hotspot devices, and many are carrier-specific. However, it can be helpful to have a dedicated hotspot that you can keep in your backpack when you travel. Plans may be required to use them. If you're interested, check out this Nighthawk M1 mobile router or this Somewear Global Hotspot that uses satellite links.
Hotspot alternatives: If you're looking for a mobile hotspot but don't like what the monthly contract plans offer, consider pay-as-you-go plans like those offered by AT&T and StraightTalk. AT & T's prepaid mobile hotspot plans start at $ 25 per month for 3GB. And since it's a prepayment, not a contract, you can just let the plan expire without renewing it when you're no longer using it. StraightTalk also offers prepaid plans for mobile devices. Plans start at $ 15 per month for 1GB.
Don't sweat too much
Depending on your situation and your level of despair, it might be a good idea to consider the fact that you are temporarily without internet in your home and are doing something outdoors. Of course, some of us need the internet for work or school, but if you're just looking for an excuse to keep up with your Facebook and Twitter feeds, it may be a good time to reevaluate your internet needs and yourself just taking time to smell the roses when the internet goes down. Read a book, cook something, or finish building the model rocket you've been putting off for months.
Ultimately, there are many options that you can take advantage of while waiting for the internet to be connected in your home. Depending on how persistent you are, you can access WiFi when you need it. However, it doesn't hurt to just wait and do something else in the meantime.