Editor’s note: With this post we welcome Georgina Laidlaw to the WebWorkerDaily team. Georgina is a finance writer and editor who lives in Victoria, Australia. She divides her working time between home and employer’s offices.
What would you do if your web connection went down right now? You might have a fairly reliable web connection, but faults and maintenance inevitably leave each of us without web access some of the time. If you rely on the web to work, it’s important to have a contingency plan in place.
Being a “webless web worker” is a challenge I deal with often, because I use a wireless Internet connection that routes through a series of repeater stations dotted along the six miles between my house and the service provider’s base station. In the last year, we’ve had a number of service failures, including the weather knocking towers out for days, as well as the usual minor technical faults. There are also times, particularly when it’s windy, when our connection can crawl.
As a consequence, I’ve developed a few fallbacks for the occasions when I lose my vital connection to the web:
Use portable devices. Of course, a web-enabled cellphone or BlackBerry is great for keeping up with news, blogs and email. But it can be a life-saver when you suddenly lose your Internet connection — you can use it to send that critical email or even write a blog post. Having said that, I wouldn’t want to spend days completing online research or writing book chapters using my phone.
Have backup references handy. It’s all too easy to substitute physical references like books and CD-ROMs for their less bulky, at-your-fingertips online counterparts. That’s fine — until there’s no web. I always keep foundation references on my desk and a library of additional, particularly relevant or important information handy.
Know your local web hotspots. The coffee shops, bars and libraries around here are fairly free and easy with their Wi-Fi, so one option for me is to focus on the work I can get done offline and then go out for a coffee to access the web. It’s restrictive, and it takes a bit of preparation, but it’s better than nothing.
Phone a friend. I have friends who live nearby who have invited me to use their wired web connections if I need to. This can be a reassuring option if you have to rely on flaky wireless Internet like I do.
These are all only temporary solutions, though. If our repeater station’s been damaged by high wind and will take days to repair, I just have to face up to the physical commute to the office.
So, what would you do if your internet connection went down right now?
Image by sxc.hu user Rybson