Ways to Stay Online While Maintaining Your Off-Grid Lifestyle
When it comes to living off-grid, there are many different variations. Some people choose to completely disconnect with any semblance of what most people would call a modern lifestyle. Others pick and choose the services they want to remain connected to. Regardless of your choice, I, Matthew Davies, think you will find this blog beneficial. Today, I am going to be talking about how you can stay connected to the wired world while living off-grid.
Most off-gridders live a much different lifestyle than their suburban counterparts. They have daily chores that must be completed, lest they don’t have the things they need. While one could argue the same could be said for those not living off-grid, it really isn’t the same. If we don’t go out and pick our crops, if we don’t charge our batteries, if we don’t transport our water, we can’t make a quick run to the store; we are going to be without.
A common question that I get when I tell people I live off-grid is how I keep in contact with family and friends. When I inform them I have internet they are shocked. So, for all of you out there worried about staying connected and living off-grid, I am here to put your mind at ease. Below, you will find several different ways that you can connect to the internet and still live your off-grid dream.
When I first moved off-grid, I located a satellite internet company. If I am being fair, it was the only satellite internet company in my area. I didn’t have much choice. If I was going to have internet access, I was going to have to use their network. After a little digging, I am going to let you know that if you opt for satellite internet, you are going to have very limited choices. There are not many of these companies left. They may have been useful in the past, but they are slowly falling out of favor. In part, this is due to even the most remote areas becoming wired communities. In addition, better technology has evolved, and they are not utilized as much anymore. At the end of the day, it is hard to justify renting a satellite for just a few dozen people to use your service.
I am not saying you will not be able to find this service, but I just feel there are better options out there for you. Satellite internet can be limited by weather. For most of the world, this can be an issue. Whether you are dealing with clouds in the sky or snow on your dish, you will find it a bit cumbersome.
Cell Phone Data
While this is similar to satellite internet, it is largely different. Anyone that has a cellphone can tell you they have service just about anywhere. Additionally, you will not be hindered by the same things that hold you back with satellite internet. That means, no matter what mother nature can throw your way, you can still stay connected. So, how does it work?
If you didn’t know, most smartphones have the ability to broadcast their signal. This can be found by any wireless device. All you have to do is connect to the device, and you can use it the same as you would the smartphone. Each phone is different in how it connects to other devices, but the method is the same. You configure your phone to receive connections (much like a wireless router) and set up a password. This will limit the connection to your device to only people that have the password. It is critical to enable the password as you will be using your data plan. You wouldn’t want anyone that happens by your house to be able to skim off your data plan, would you? The one thing I would do if I were you is to make sure you have an unlimited data plan. That way, if someone does hack your password, you are not going to incur a massive bill at the end of the month.
Let’s say you don’t want to own a cell phone. Let’s say you don’t want to worry about configuring your phone to allow a wireless connection. There is a way around this. It is called a wireless stick. It uses the same technology as a cell phone but without a cellphone. Essentially all you need to do is plug the USB dongle into your device, and you are ready to go. Of course, there will be a fee to access the network, but it is a reduced cost to you since you will not be using other services, nor will you have to purchase a phone from the provider.
The benefit of having a wireless stick is they are much easier to transport than a cellphone. You can take them virtually anywhere with you. If you are going on holiday, you can pack it in your laptop bag, and you are ready to go. If you travel for work, it can be taken just as quickly. Just remember, when using the wireless stick, you will still be limited in the amount of data you can use in a month. Generally, it is much lower than a cellphone plan as you will not need as many services as a cellphone does.
There you have it. Three simple ways that you can stay connected to your friends and family while maintaining your off-grid lifestyle. I, Matthew Davies, hope that you have found this article beneficial. Before you decide on one technology or another, make sure that you do a proper amount of research. There are some limitations to each of the above-mentioned technologies. Know what will work for you in your area. At the end of the day, you can always drive to a location that offers free Wi-Fi in order to read up on your options. Until next time, keep safe and enjoy the off-grid lifestyle that you have chosen. It is, in my opinion, much better than the alternative.