How to work from home when your internet goes out - The Verge
Most remote work depends on access to a reliable internet connection. That means finding a way to get back online quickly, either at home or elsewhere. Here’s how you can do it.
You were working. Things were just fine. A landscaper puts a shovel through your buried internet cabling or tree limbs drop and kill a neighborhood’s internet. Or the inexplicable happens, and the little green light on the cable modem goes red. You are, as the sailors say when a ship’s engine becomes quiet, dead in the water. What now?
Most remote work depends on access to a reliable internet connection, and for lots of people, especially for hourly or clocked workers, no internet means no pay. That means finding a way to get back online quickly, either at home or elsewhere. The goal, given the interruption, is to stay in business, be employed, and have a reliable backup plan after the internet outage swear words are spoken. It’s for this reason that a bug-out bag of all the cables, gear, and even a sweater (for unregulated air conditioning) can put you back in business quickly.
The easiest way to navigate a temporary outage is to tether from your smartphone.
Photo by Adi Robertson / The Verge
The easiest way to navigate a temporary outage is to tether from your smartphone. All modern smartphones have a Wi-Fi hotspot feature that lets you share their data connection with other devices, though many phone plans limit its usefulness.
You can turn on your hotspot in your phone’s Settings menu. On an iPhone, look for Personal Hotspot in the main Settings menu. On Samsung phones, go to Settings > Connections > Mobile Hotspot and Tethering, and on other Android phones, it’s often in Settings > Network & internet > Hotspot & tethering. Change or copy the password, then connect your laptop to the phone’s Wi-Fi SSID, and you should be in business.
Even “unlimited” phone plans will throttle your hotspot speed after a certain point. That point is usually separate from your overall high-speed data allowance and can range from around 5GB a month to over 40GB. After that, you’ll be limited to 3G speeds or lower. Transferring large files can burn through your hotspot allowance, but the real killer is video calls: a one-hour Zoom meeting can use over a gigabyte of data. If you take a lot of calls, plan to dial in using a phone until your internet comes back. All major video calling platforms support dial-in numbers, though you may have to ask the meeting host or your company’s IT department to enable them.