Business Owners Can You Depend On Wi Fi When You Travel

"Don’t worry – wi-fi is​ everywhere these days!"

That opinion is​ widespread,​ but as​ I prepared for a​ 10-week sabbatical road trip from Massachusetts to​ Alaska and back,​ I didn’t give it​ much weight. I would be traveling to​ some of​ the​ most remote areas of​ North America and needing to​ check my email each morning and night to​ keep my business affairs humming along smoothly.

Because I found it​ impossible to​ get reliable information on​ Internet access along our route,​ I prepared for worst-case scenarios. And I’m reporting my findings here to​ help others plan for a​ similar trip.

Before we left home,​ I equipped myself with a​ wi-fi card in​ my laptop and purchased a​ handheld phone/computer device that could access wireless Internet too. the​ laptop also had a​ modem that could be used for Internet access through a​ phone line. And for further backup,​ I had a​ virtual assistant whom I could call to​ request her to​ check email for me if​ I were stuck someplace where neither wi-fi nor dialup worked.

My husband and I stayed in​ mid-priced or​ budget motels,​ lodges and bed and breakfast inns. We also took a​ few overnight ferries. While we took day hikes,​ we never camped out in​ the​ wilderness. Here’s what we experienced:

Wi-fi in​ motel or​ B&B room,​ worked fine: 34%
Wi-fi in​ office or​ restaurant,​ not in​ room: 12%
Wi-fi in​ room worked intermittently: 14%
Wi-fi took more than 20 minutes to​ get working: 8%
Wi-fi did not work after considerable fiddling,​ used modem instead: 6%
Wi-fi down town-wide from storm or​ outage: 4%
Wired high-speed Internet in​ room: 4%
Wi-fi available but forgot to​ ask for password: 2%
No wi-fi available,​ used modem instead: 12%
No Internet connection at​ all available: 4%

So,​ only one-third of​ the​ time did wi-fi work conveniently and right away in​ the​ room where we were staying. Another third of​ the​ time we were able to​ use wi-fi with some delay or​ inconvenience. And the​ other third of​ the​ time,​ we would have been without Internet access had wi-fi been our only option.

In those no wi-fi situations,​ hooking up the​ laptop to​ the​ phone line was our next option. Most of​ the​ time,​ this happened in​ isolated places where finding a​ coffeehouse with wi-fi for patrons was totally out of​ the​ question. And in​ nearly all of​ those cases,​ the​ laptop modem came to​ the​ rescue.

In Watson Lake,​ Yukon,​ however,​ a​ town of​ about 1500 people,​ the​ high-speed Internet network was DSL and did not work because phone service throughout the​ town was down. This meant that my backup plan – calling my virtual assistant – wouldn’t work,​ either. There was nothing I could do about it​ until we drove on​ to​ another waystation on​ the​ Alaska Highway where my hand-held device picked up wi-fi at​ a​ truck stop.

In Alaska,​ we stayed one night at​ a​ rustic lodge in​ the​ middle of​ nowhere that said they had wi-fi in​ the​ restaurant,​ but it​ didn’t work,​ and our room did not have a​ phone line to​ which we could plug in​ the​ modem. the​ lodge did not have a​ pay phone,​ either,​ for a​ call to​ my assistant,​ so again we hunted down a​ wi-fi connection in​ the​ next couple of​ towns the​ following day.

We were in​ luck – these nights and the​ nights we slept on​ ferries that didn’t have Internet access – didn’t generate any of​ those angry "Why the​ #%@$* didn’t you​ answer my email?" messages that any business owner dreads.

One bonus bit of​ advice: in​ many places,​ motel clerks stared at​ me blankly when I asked if​ they had wi-fi. But they all understood the​ question,​ "Do you​ have wireless Internet?" Use the​ longer question,​ especially outside of​ metropolitan areas.
Business Owners Can You Depend On Wi Fi When You Travel Business Owners Can You Depend On Wi Fi When You Travel Reviewed by Henda Yesti on July 18, 2018 Rating: 5

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