Can web workers live without a connection to the internet? For an afternoon? Or maybe for a whole day? Is it possible for us to do business without logging into email and opening browser windows? No way! Who’s kidding who? We are addicted, and depend on this technology. So what are your options for getting a connection if you’re are on the road, at a conference, sitting in a cafe, traveling, or your home office connection goes down? Let’s investigate some options.
If you know your neighbor, you can always bang on their door and ask if they have a connection. If they do, maybe they wouldn’t mind stringing up an Ethernet cable. If they aren’t home, and have a WiFi signal, borrow some. It’s just like borrowing a cup of sugar right?
A great tool for locating WiFi connections that you want to keep in your web worker bag is a WiFi signal locator. These handy little tools pick up and display the WiFi strength in the area. Without this tool, most likely you could be wondering aimlessly searching for signals. They are extremely small devices, and can be kept discretely in the palm of your hand while walking around town. Some days while driving on my regular routes I keep the button pressed and take mental notes of areas where signal strength is strong, just in case I have to borrow some at a later date. Here are a list of options and links for connecting anywhere, and everywhere you are.
- If you live in Mountain View, California, Google has you covered. Just check out this map of Google’s open signals.
- What about airports? A lot of airports these days have free open WiFi signals for travelers to tie into. These guides can help you in you pinpoint a connection while traveling at airports in Florida, Chicago, California, Australia, Toronto, India, and the UK.
- Traveling by train? Via rail in Canada has WiFi that travels with you. Both in stations, and on board trains. So does UK operated GNER, and Amtrak in the US.
- Going to be in a Marina? There is a whole grand user base out there connecting from their vessels. Some Marina‘s even offer free signals.
- Web working from your car is available through a RaySat device. These come at a hefty price tag though.
- Cafe’s the world over cater to people wanting to log in. There are tons out there that are free, but there are also ones that require payment, with hourly, daily, and monthly rates. Restaurants are also hooking up to offer diners a place to hold lunch and dinner meetings.
- In major cities like Toronto and San Francisco, companies have been working with governments to strap WiFi transmitters on lamp standards. Look for odd things on top of poles with rabbit ears.
- Be connected anywhere there is a phone signal with a Verizon wireless card. Whether you’re hanging out on a secluded beach, sitting on a downtown park bench, or checking out your presentation one more time before you head into the clients front door, these things provide a good chance that you can connect anywhere you are.
- If you have a mobile phone, chances are you can configure it to use its signal to power you laptops internet signal. Just watch the data! This method sucks in all kinds of data, and you might end up with a hefty monthly bill.
If you have any great resources, please feel free to share!