Recently I found myself in the very familiar situation of having no home internet.

Note* This article was written in Australia based on the internet situation in Melbourne at the time. The situation may be different in your country. Please comment below.

This situation has presented itself time and time again. Like most people, I have a cellular system for my phone and then a secondary land-based system for my home/office. Now, this land-based system used to be called “Dial-Up” in the old days when I started on the net but nowadays its called ADSL or ADSL2 or Broadband or Cable.

The point is the internet service goes through wires and cables before it reaches your home or office.

Now let’s say you live in the inner city and you happen to live in an apartment. Now you are faced with everyone in your building trying to share the single line into your building and sharing through a junction box by the front door.

All these cables, wires and junctions bring potential complications at every link in the chain. And more times than not you are on the phone with tech support asking why you have 1992 dial-up speed internet or no internet at all when you are paying for 21st-century speed.

It’s not like you don’t pay on time. I mean we all pay via direct debit from a credit card usually. But the issue that we as consumers have let evolve over time is one where we allow bad service by a large company and simply put up with it. These companies have put themselves in positions of being resellers. They are not the ones who have laid the lines in the ground but usually, they are just a billing agent who collects your money but when things go wrong they make you jump through all sorts of hoops before the problem is resolved.

I mean the last time this happened the major Telco provider sent a freelance electrician to my home/office and I was told to be home between 9 and 5 (WTF?). Then he turns up at 4.00 pm with his ass crack hanging out of his pants, he fiddles with the connection then tells me it should be back online in a day or two.

A day or 2 of no internet. Now, that’s not to bad for a home but when you run a digital marketing agency and you have customers relying on you every day a day or 2 with no internet is crippling.

So you might get your internet back online and a month, or even maybe 6 months goes by and you are enjoying what they tell is is an average speed to expect in your area. But then it happens again. For no reason, you have slow to no internet. It’s like someone threw a spanner into your engine as you were driving along the freeway of life.

So what do you do?

You do what you’ve always done. You call the 1300 number for your landline base Telco and start all over again. Now you are usually greeted by a telephone Tech Support Rep who has been outsourced to a call center in India. He or She then assumes that you are a total monkey and takes you through their painful step by step troubleshooting checklist.

After 1 hour or more of wasting your valuable time, you are told they can’t help you and that they are going to lodge a support ticket. But wait what was the last hour of my life wasted on? Wasnt that a support ticket?

So now you have no Wi Fi at home which means no Netflicks, No wireless printer, No wireless communication between devices and more. Not the end of the world and maybe a first world problem but we can all agree its a pain in the #ss!

So what options do you have?

Well if you live in an area with a decent enough cellular network signal you can use the cellular system instead.

For years the cellular system only gave us small increments of data and if you used more than the small token amount you paid a heavy penalty price. Bu really those days are behind us.

I first noticed the shift to larger data plans when I changed my mobile phone carrier and found that I could now enjoy 16 GB with my entry level plan as opposed to the 2 or 3 GB that it used to be.

Upon further investigation, I found that the major cellular network provider in the area was offering wireless home 4G plans at a reasonable rate.

The rate was actually reasonable enough that I would be saving a few dollars by shifting from the landline adsl2 supplier to the cellular network supplier.

Interesting. So I then needed to check 2 things.

  1. Would the cellular network data allowance cover my average usage?
  2. Would the speed be enough to handle my day to day browsing on the internet?

So I logged into the dashboard of my land line based supplier and checked what my average data usage was over the last 6 months. I found it was about 150 GB per month. So with the Cellular plans starting from 200 GB per month, I was covered there.

And to test the speed I simply tethered my devices that were previously using the Land-based WIFI signal to my mobile phone via the hotspot tethering feature.

Success.

My devices worked fine and the speed was actually dramatically faster than what I was used to. The land-based ADSL2 was offering an average of 3.5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload.

Now it wasn’t always this fast. Doing speed tests over time produced a lower average rate of around 11/5 (11 Mbps down and 5 Up) but that’s still a dramatic 4x increase on the ADSL2 speed that was the land-based internet before.

4G-Speed

So next came the test period.

It’s always a good idea to go through a testing period when you’re about to change a system in your life. Particularly a system to entrenched in our daily lives as our internet provider.

So I gave the 4G system a couple of days powering my laptop, Apple TV, Printer etc. and there was not a problem.

So I called the Cellular network provider and asked if they could do a deal. I wasn’t particularly thrilled about the $200 modem cost up front. And the advertised price of the data package at $70 per month was higher than the $59 per month I was paying now for ADSL2. So I thought maybe since I’m with them for my mobile phone contract I could ask for a deal? So I called them on the phone and asked just that.

Straight away I was told. “Yes, sir, we can give you the 200 GB pack for only $50 and we can give you a modem to produce a Wi Fi Signal across your home for only $70″.

And they split the cost of the modem over 12 monthly payments. So now I was looking at $56 per month for 200 GB per month of 4G speed at a hugely faster rate of 21 Mbps.

So that was it. I signed up straight away and then called my ADSL2 provider and told them their services were no longer needed. Considering I had been with this company for over 10 years they immediately asked me what the issue was? To which I simply responded that my time was valuable and their constant outages and slow speeds were a regular interruption to my workflow now.

The company had no response 🙁

Now since the creation of ADSL, the landline internet providers have given us a free telephone number that we can use from our house or office phone socket. Since we are stepping away from the phone socket style internet we will be losing that number. But let’s face it we are quickly moving away from the land-based phone line system anyway. You can Easily get a VOIP phone number, A Skype Phone number or many other options. You can even set up a 1300 number to be forwarded to your mobile phone.  So I deleted it from my email signatures and from the website contact page, and from the Google Business Page. Instead, replacing it with a Skype number and the cellular number.

Wordpress offers a Skype Plugin that can be used on your contact page. The plugin has various annotations like “Send me files, Send me a message, Call me”

Travel With You Internet

Now because you are now not tied to the landline internet you can take your new modem anywhere that has a cellular service offered by your provider.

So that opens up the possibility of watching Netflix whilst camping with the kids. Having the speed that you are used to working with, in a hotel room or on a train or bus.

And the 4G Modem is Battery powered and charges via a USB connection. This means you can have it in your car plugged into a USB port and then your car becomes a Wi Fi station !

Or you can charge the unit from your Laptop.

Monitor your data in your pocket

You can easily monitor the data with the App from the Telco of your choice. Of course, if you choose a plan that is unlimited data you don’t have to worry about monitoring data usage at all.

What is the future of the internet?

Will we even have land-based internet service in the future? All signs point to no. We have companies like Facebook who are trying to organize free internet for everyone via satellites floating around the globe. It makes sense that such a basic system as knowledge delivery should be free for everyone. We may look back in 50 years and say “Remember when we had to pay $70 a month for slow internet

Comment below with your thoughts about the current sate of the internet and what you think the future holds.

So what are you waiting for?

Check the signal strength in your location and if you have 3-4 bars of 4G internet showing on your phone then you can easily ditch the land-based internet provider and go completely mobile. But be careful. If you find that your mobile reception is dropping from full reception to maybe 1 or 2 bars on your mobile phone then you may be in an area that’s not really suitable for a wireless data connection. In that case you may need to put up with the cabled internet a little longer or look at booting your signal or even moving from your cutrrent location.