Internet Access

Internet Access Off-Grid

internet access off-grid
  July, 2016

I have high speed broadband internet access, but I dont have town power or a landline.

We left behind landline ADSL internet when we moved out of suburbia. Internet access was still important to us and I hoped it would be possible without the landline. The solution for me was a mobile broadband modem. In current technology a smart phone can access the internet using local phone towers. These phones can be tethered to provide a local hotspot for a computer. In Australia, Telstra has the best coverage. In fact for us, it is the only telecom operator that provides a signal. Telstra sell a wireless broadband modem that can run on an internal battery and is portable (just like a phone). This has a dedicated purpose, which is to share a WIFI signal to devices close by.

The signal strength can be improved by buying a dedicated external antenna that plugs in to the modem. Rotating the direction of the antenna to point at the local tower will lift signal strength from 3 to 5 bars.

Although this is an expensive method to buy data, it has provided us with sufficient access to the internet to be able to manage normal modest use, and to run a couple of internet based businesses. The restriction on data means watching lots of YouTube videos in not possible.

Satelite broadband was considered, but experience of using it in neighbours home that had a satelite dish was very dissappointing. The advertised download speeds were great if you wished to download a single big file, such as a film. Unfortunately the ping time (the time it takes to select a different web page) was very high. This meant that surfing the net was very slow and frustrating waiting for fresh pages to load.

I made two videos documenting how we gained internet access.

#22 Internet and telephone View

#59 Improving mobile broadband internet reception with a directional antenna View