How to Get Internet Service When You’re Off the Grid

Ever dream of living completely off the grid in the most rural of areas, but wonder how you’d fair without the internet? Well now, thanks to a host of new technologies, you can enjoy a stress-free, natural lifestyle, without giving up your favorite modern vice.  So, go and build that rustic, woodsy cabin you always dreamed of. Get back to nature. You can still check your email and update your social status, with one of these high-tech solutions to get online from a remote location.

DSL: Rural America’s Gateway to the Internet

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Even if you live way off the grid, chances are you still live near a telephone line. Even the most remote areas in America still have them. DSL, which stands for (Digital Subscriber Line) technology sends data signals over these phone lines, at extremely high rates. This allows for exceptional download speeds no matter where you live.

You’ll find DSL companies offer service in large cities and extremely small towns, because of the technology they use. So, as long as you have telephone service, you have access to the Internet. Just contact a DSL provider, or go to DSL.com to find one now. Compare the plans and pick one that fits your needs.

Tether to a Mobile Solution

If you are camping out, or living out of a vehicle in a desolate place, chances are you still have cell phone towers nearby, and they allow access to the Internet. The easiest way to get online via cell phone networks is through your cell phone using a tethering program. All you need is a USB cable for your phone.

Simply install the tethering program on your phone and on your computer. Next, connect your cell phone to your computer. Touch the icon, on your phone, and run the program on your computer. Follow the prompts, and surf the Internet.

This may all sound a bit strange, but all you are really doing is simply connecting your computer to the Internet using your cell phone’s data connection. If you have a 4G LTE cell phone plan, you will find the connection is comparable in speed to some slower home connections. Just be careful, you can easily go over your data limits, so get an unlimited plan! If you do the legwork, and research each plan, you will find one that suits your needs and caters to your Internet surfing habits.

Build it and You Will Surf

Another more ambitious means of connecting to your beloved Internet, is by installing a 4G cell phone tower on your roof, and then connecting this to a wireless router inside your home. The roof mounted cell phone tower improves and enhances the data signal from a nearby cell phone network. Systems like this deliver anywhere from 5 to 12 megabytes per second download speeds.

This is slightly faster than some slower cable connections, and in the same range as most DSL and cable providers using landlines. It is costly, however. Plans through rural wireless Internet providers cost up to $120 a month, depending on how much data you want. However, you can access all of your favorite sites at anytime.

Satellite: A Truly Remote Connection

Even those way out in the bush miles from the nearest cell tower still have access to the internet. Satellite connections provide reliable Internet data services. Just connect your router to your satellite after establishing an internet plan with your provider. Use a high quality Ethernet cable from your router to your computer, and enjoy excellent download speeds.

There are problems with satellite connections, however. Plans cost more than DSL services, and you must have a clear line of sight to the sky. This service also requires special equipment like a satellite dish and a modem, and during heavy weather, you might lose your signal, since cloud cover interferes with the satellite.

However, when you are truly isolated and far away from telephone lines, land based cable lines, and cell phone towers, satellite internet or IoS (Internet over Satellite) is the only option. It also includes phone service (using VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol) and television service, depending on the plan you choose.

Make MiFi Your-Fi

One more option for rural folks is a new technology called MiFi—another internet service that makes use of cell phone data networks. It is ideal for remote areas with cell phone coverage, and it has added benefits as well.

MiFi is like having your own miniature internet connection—one that goes with you wherever you go. It is a small device about the size of a cell phone. You can put it in your house, your car, cabin, or take it with you on a camping trip. The device connects to a wireless data signal from your cell phone carrier, and sends it to a wireless computer, laptop or tablet.

All you need to do is turn the device on, and connect your computer.  It’s perfect for those who not only live in remote areas but travel too, because the device fits in your pocket and works anywhere your carrier provides cell phone service.

There are downsides to this new technology. The service is fairly pricey. Plans range from around $65 to $120 each month, and the MiFi device itself costs around $99 or more. Download speeds only range from around 600 Kb/s to 1.7 Mb/s, decidedly slower than other options. Of course, you must have a cell phone carrier and be in range of their towers to use it.

Whether you plan to go on an extended vacation to enjoy the great outdoors, or just want to enjoy a peaceful life in the woods, with these options, the internet is always just a few pieces of technology away. What’s more, many wireless and cable providers specialize in internet connectivity for the large number of people living in America’s rural areas, and away from its overpopulated cities.

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