About Off Grid Internet, Many people enjoy going on vacations or living off grid, away from urban life. A few prioritize the chance to connect to nature.
Others appreciate the thrill and desire the sovereignty of being away from urban areas.
Disconnecting from civilization is healthy and promises a more sustainable lifestyle. However, you may have to compromise accessibility to electricity supply, cable, and telephone services.
But this doesn’t mean you should disconnect from the rest of the world.
It might surprise you, but accessing uninterrupted and dependable internet is possible for off-grid living. Continue reading to discover more about off grid internet!
Table of Contents
- What Is Off-Grid Internet?
- Do You Need Off-Grid Internet?
- Identifying the Most Convenient Off-Grid Internet Solution
- Off-Grid Internet Solutions
What Is Off-Grid Internet?
Living “off the grid” means residing away from public utility systems like access to electricity and water. However, staying connected is critical in this era of smart devices. Thus, opting for an off grid internet connection has become more practicable now than ever.
It lets people living away from public amenities communicate with relatives and close friends. Also, accessing remote internet enables them to continue working or studying without inconveniences or disruptions.
Do You Need Off-Grid Internet?
Freelancer using a laptop near the lake.
Not everyone living off the grid needs an internet connection, But the internet plays an important role in our everyday lives; thus, going without it sometimes isn’t an option.
Whether you require internet connectivity would depend on your situation.
For instance, you may only need off-grid internet temporarily if you stay in a cabin or on a mountain vacation. In such cases, you will go for something compact but portable.
For extended off-grid living, you will need a permanent connection, one that is stable and reliable. Therefore, consider your internet options before moving to a remote lifestyle.
Research whether cell service is in the area or your current phone provider services the region. Also, check if the plan offers unlimited off-grid internet for the place you are visiting.
Identifying the Most Convenient Off-Grid Internet Solution
Before getting off-grid internet, estimate your data and speed requirements. It will come down to the following:
You should consider getting an internet connection with low latency. Latency is the delay in network communication, showing the time data takes to travel from your computer to the server and back.
A latency under 100ms would be promising. However, you need anything 20 to 40 ms, especially video calls or gaming.
2. Upload and Download Speed
If you use the internet to upload large files, focus on the uploading speeds. An internet with upload speeds of about 4 Mbps is perfect for attaching small files.
For tasks like moving large files and online gaming, you will need 5+ Mbps with very low latency.
Additionally, look into the download speeds of your internet connection. At the very minimum, you need at least 2 Mbps.
Several internet providers advertise plans of these estimated speeds, but the actual speeds are often much lower. Therefore, go for plans higher than the speeds you are hoping to achieve.
3. Connection Type
When choosing an off-grid internet, it is important to understand the type of connection. Types of internet connections include:
- Dial-up internet (up to 56 Kbps)
- DSL internet (up to 115 Mbps)
- Satellite internet (up to 100Mbps)
- Cellular Network Internet (up to 300Mbps)
- Cable Internet (up to 500Mbps)
- Fiber Internet (up to 10,000 Mbps)
4. Data Usage
Data usage is how much data you will use, often measured in Mb, Gb, or Tb. If you’re a regular internet user, primarily using web-based apps, surfing the web, or sending emails, 2-3 Gb per month is all you require.
However, you need more data for watching on Netflix and YouTube or streaming videos on other sites.
Off-Grid Internet Solutions
You might be living remotely but can still keep in contact with the outside world using these best off-grid internet solutions:
Fixed Wireless Internet
Usually, some private internet companies strategically place antennas in rural and remote areas. You can, therefore, install fixed wireless internet in most off-grid cabins, homes, and RVs.
Once you sign up for fixed wireless service, they install an antenna near you that connects to the main antenna through radio waves.
The internet speeds to expect will depend on your plan and whether you have 4G LTE or 5G home internet. It also depends on whether you have a clear line of sight to the antenna.
Fixed wireless internet service has an initial cost for connection and equipment. The service is often about $10-$50 or more monthly than the regular cable provider, which is a decent amount.
Both the cheapest and fastest internet options come from T-Mobile and Verizon. These companies offer unlimited data, great prices, and decent fast speeds.
This issue to their plans and 5G infrastructure, which is very efficient.
Satellite Internet Service
The Satellite dish
Satellite internet is one of the best options for permanent connection for those living off-grid.
It is a great alternative in terms of security and convenience, especially as you won’t need hotspot features or good cell service.
Generally, satellite internet networks are improving each day. The competition intensifies, especially with Elon Musk rolling out the Starlink satellite.
End users consistently get up to 100Mbps in download speeds and at least 25 Mbps in upload speeds.
Starlink Internet is perfect even for those living in cold areas. The Starlink dish has a heater that keeps snow and ice from settling on its surface.
And as for recreational off-grid travelers, consider getting the Starlink RV, as it is affordable with unlimited data.
HughesNet has also introduced its new Gen5 system powered by the EchoStar XIX Satellite.
The HughesNet Gen5 constitutes built-in Wi-Fi, 50 GB of extra monthly data, 3Mbps of upload speeds, and up to 25 Mbps of download speeds.
Because satellite internet uses radio waves, this system is slower than fiber-optic connections. You should therefore ensure the satellite provides coverage for your location before getting a plan.
Smartphone Data Plan
A person using social media apps
We usually do most things online using our phones to stay connected. Therefore, you can use the phone connection as a short-term solution for fast and secure off-grid internet.
This connection is convenient, cheap, and does not require extra equipment. To use it, turn on the hotspot on your mobile to turn it into a mini Wi-Fi router for your other devices.
The many cell providers that provide different unlimited data plans at reasonable monthly costs make it a logical option. However, it has a few pitfalls.
First, the speeds might be slower than broadband internet, especially if you do heavy tasks such as streaming and gaming.
Secondly, many cell phone providers put limits on the data plan, even if it is an unlimited plan. This bandwidth throttling happens when you reach your data limit, and the company drops your internet speed.
A signal booster is an addition to your internet service to eliminate proximity restrictions. They amplify and improve the consistency and speed of your connection.
These boosters capture and amplify incoming phone signals to better connect up to five signal strength bars.
The cell phone signal boosters typically have three main components:
- Outdoor antenna: This antenna usually mounts on the rooftop or a pole near your house. They are directional and must point directly to the nearest cell phone tower. You can use the open signal app to help you find the nearest phone tower.
- Signal booster: This goes inside the house and connects to the outdoor antenna via a cable. It takes and amplifies the weak signal from the outdoor antenna before passing it on to the indoor antenna.
- Indoor antenna: this mounts inside your house, connects to the phone and should be where you need the best signal.
Cell phone signal boosters are not subscription services, and once you buy and set them up, you don’t have to pay other expenses. You will, however, have to pay for your cell phone service.
Like cell phones, the wireless turbo hubs create hotspots for connecting multiple devices to the internet. It is easier to use than cell phone hotspots because it’s designed for the purpose.
Most turbo hubs offer wireless and Ethernet connections to improve your internet connection speed.
You can also use the mesh Wi-Fi with a turbo stick or hub to get more comprehensive coverage throughout your home. The stick and hub aim to provide wireless connectivity from anywhere, making them ideal for travel.
Also, you can purchase a portable turbo hub with extra batteries. These still function even if a generator were to shut off, and you’d still be able to access the internal.
Take a Drive To a Local Wi-Fi Spot
If you are stuck in town and need an internet connection, many food joints, coffee shops, and restaurants have free Wi-Fi connections.
However, if you choose this option, you must protect your devices from cyberattacks and threats.
Modern ham radio
Ham radio is among the most convenient and affordable off-grid internet solutions. Getting started with a ham radio requires an operator’s license and a big radio setup.
However, it comes with the disadvantage of slow speeds, low latency, and minimal data throughput. Though, it can come in handy during emergencies and for those who only need to communicate via email.
Staying off-grid does not have to mean being out of touch. You may need an internet connection for workplace demands, education, or basic communication with family or friends.
Fortunately, all off-grid net alternatives are available, especially to people who prefer living away from centralized locations.
Selecting the appropriate option might present a challenge. But in the guide above, we’ve broken down the details to help you pick the right connection for your needs.
Options include choices ranging from fixed wireless internet, satellite access, mobile data, Signal boosters, and turbo hubs–all viable contenders!