The road has always served as an endless supply of adventure to many—digital nomads, remote workers, and 9-5 employees looking to take a break. Internet connectivity stands as the most important utility in the life of digital nomads and remote workers. And with internet broadband available through Wi-Fi or cellular connections, we can travel to the ends of the earth while staying connected to family, work, and friends.
I’ve always dreamt of being a digital nomad. We saw the world's wonders, met new people, and enjoyed diverse cultures. But when it came down to living my dream, I found myself stuck in the family house we were all rooted in.
Whenever I prepared for a road trip, my grandma would say, “Pammy, I don’t get to spend time with you anymore,” or ask, “who would make your favorite meal?” which would make me change my travel habits. A one-month trip turned into a two-week trip. I’d often return home as quickly as possible, so she didn’t miss me too much.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my family, but I always knew there was life outside helping on the family ranch. And for a while, my family thought I was crazy to think that way. And honestly, I didn’t blame them. The ranch has been in the family for so many generations. Ranching was the only thing they knew.
I grew up in a small town in Midwest America, and the only time I left home was during my college days. So, I didn’t know my way around the country, and I decided my dream of traveling the world will begin with exploring my country.
I didn’t have all the money in the world, but I found a way to make my work-from-anywhere dream come true.
After tons of research, I was convinced living and working on the road was possible. With the support of my boyfriend, I purchased an RV. And we’ve been living and working full time in an RV for almost two years now.
Staying connected on the road
I was initially challenged to figure out how to have reliable internet on the road or at campsites. But staying connected these days is easier. I now have a process that works.
Coverage maps: Before I travel anywhere, I check the cell phone signal strength for that area by looking at coverage maps. That way, I know what internet options will be available before my arrival. Open signal has been quite helpful in checking cellular signal strength in different areas. If the area has a strong cell signal, I use my phone hotspot for an internet connection. But lately, I got a Nomad Internet router installed in my RV, so I don’t require a phone hotspot. But I still love mobile hotspots as a backup.
Campgrounds or public WiFi: If I'm staying at a place with Wi-Fi, like RV parks, campgrounds, and hotels, I use the WiFi provided. But, I take extra care to ensure cybersecurity, especially when I’m connected to public Wi-Fi.
Signal boosters: Since public Wi-Fi can be slow or unreliable, having a device that can rebroadcast a weak signal is essential for staying connected. In this case, signal boosters or WiFi repeaters come in handy. Signal boosters are designed to increase the range and strength of a weak signal by relaying it through another device.
- Shutting down equipment that might be interfering with WiFi signals: Wireless networks use radio frequencies to send and receive data. Therefore, any equipment that uses radio signals can easily interfere with your internet signals. Devices that can interfere with wireless signals include Microwave, Some electrical power sources (such as power lines), Wireless audio equipment, external monitors, Baby monitors, Wireless cameras, RF video transmitters, Cordless telephones, and Some satellite TV receivers. If any of that equipment is operating at the same frequency as your wireless router, interference will occur. If you believe any of these devices are interfering with your wireless internet, turn them off one at a time until you notice a positive difference in the signal strength of your wireless router.
Internet Speeds for Remote Working
When it comes to an internet connection, your data speeds and needs determine how much you’ll spend every month on internet bills when it comes to an internet connection. You need to know your internet needs and speeds. You need to know your internet needs and speeds.
Depending on your internet needs, you’ll need the following internet speeds:
- 2-5Mbps—Basic browsing, emailing, and chatting.
- At least 10Mbps for video conferencing.
- At least 35Mbps for transferring large files.
Note: You may need a faster internet connection if multiple people or devices are connected at a time.
You can easily check your internet speeds by using an internet speed test tool. All you need to do is click the blue “Start Speed Test” button, and you’ll get results within a few seconds.
Types of the Internet for Remote Workers
When I hear remote working, I think about working from anywhere—from home, an RV, or a mountain top.
- Fiber internet: Easily the best option for remote workers. Fiber internet is a broadband connection that can reach up to 940 Megabits per second (Mbps) with a low lag time. Fiber is ideal for multiple users to connect several devices at once.
- Satellite internet: Satellite Internet is provided through communication satellites. It isn’t ideal for remote workers who frequently engage in virtual meetings and video conferencing. Satellite internet can provide good download speeds but isn’t ideal for remote workers. Remote workers in rural areas can use satellite internet when no other options are available.
- Cable internet: Cable Internet is a form of broadband Internet access which uses the same infrastructure as cable television. Cable internet provides remote workers with reliable and fast internet speeds for their work needs.
- DSL: DSL internet can provide great speeds; however, the farther you live from your provider’s hub, the slower and less reliable DSL internet becomes. If you choose to use the DSL internet, communicate your internet needs and confirm with the provider how strong the connection will be based on your location.
- Mobile Hotspot: As Remote workers often find themselves working in places other than their homes, taking advantage of Mobile hotspots offered by wireless carriers can be a great option for staying connected wherever and whenever. All major carriers and several Mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) offer mobile hotspots as part of their cell phone plans.
As an RVer, I have learned much about life on the road and being a digital nomad. I enjoy the freedom and flexibility of creating my work hours and days. I also can see the world wherever the road takes me. But life as a digital nomad comes with unique challenges. My lifestyle is heavily dependent on internet connection. I get gigs and communicate with clients via the internet. Therefore, I cannot risk missing a work call or email. With the tricks I listed in this article, I can spend months on the road—exploring different places while meeting up with work deadlines.