Staying connected to the internet as a business person is of the utmost importance. Sure, some things can be done offline. But serious professionals who work no matter what need internet at all times. If your smartphone just isn’t up for the task, it’s best to be able to pull out a laptop and get down to business. Perhaps your home internet is down. Or you’re on the road. Whatever the situation, it’s best to have a reliable way to get online. The following post outlines the methods for staying connected no matter your location.

Tethering

The easiest way to stay connected is to tether your smartphone to your laptop. It’s simple and you can get going again without much of a hiccup. Just monitor your usage if you don’t have an unlimited plan.

Using a Mobile Hotspot or USB Dongle

Another way of getting portable internet is through a mobile hot spot. It’s basically a small box you take along that uses cell phone towers to receive a signal. It’s about the same size as a wireless router. It’s handy because you can use this at home and on the go.

The USB Dongle functions similarly but it’s easier to carry and only connects the device it’s plugged into. If you’re used to carrying around a flash drive, VPN token or a big key fob, carrying one of these won’t be a big issue. Dongles are also very secure since it’s a direct connection between the wireless signal and your machine.

Use Your Car

Cars are getting smarter each year. More and more cars today are rolling off the assembly lines with built-in Wi-Fi. Chrysler was the first company to debut in-vehicle Wi-Fi back in 2008. Today, many cars come with dedicated data plans for you and your passengers. Staying connected while on the road is a problem you can leave in your dust. Payment methods vary, but it’s usually a subscription cost plus a heftier cell phone bill each month.

Know Where to Go

One thing that has saved me numerous times is having a plan for where to go. That is, where can you go to get internet in a pinch? I personally have a list in my head of where to go. The places I go include the local public library, the college library, a coffee shop and a grocery store with a cafe.

Before I desperately needed these places I scoped them out and ran an internet speed test at each location. After all, I needed to know where to go to get the fastest speed. And in case you’re curious, speed matters! Some of us are so used to fast internet we take it for granted. But know before you need. Know what speeds locations are running before you really need them. For instance, I know the upload/download speeds are great at the grocery store (strange). So that’s great for uploading/downloading things. But the ping rate is depressingly slow. For quick projects, I know to head to the public library. Know where to go.

Other Tips

  • Unless your data is unlimited, keep an eye on it.
  • There are apps for helping you find free internet.
  • Be careful what you do on unsecured internet connections as your information can more easily be compromised.
  • Make sure the associated costs are worth the benefits gained.

 

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William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. His most embarrassing moment was telling a Microsoft executive, "I'll just Google it."

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