Michael On Everything Else

Internet Workaround

I wrote before about some of the great tech they have here in Singapore. Another is that they routinely have fiber run clear into the house. This makes bundling of TV, landline (VOIP), and Internet access easier. They also regularly bundle a SIM for tablets as well. For example, for one flat fee per month we’ll get TV + DVR, a land line number, 500Mb Internet bandwidth, plus a SIM for our iPad mini with 100Mb/month. Because it’s fiber to the home we had the option of 1Gb of ‘Net bandwidth but it was too costly (but oh-so-tempting).

While we’re waiting for the Internet connection to be activated, we’re using our iPhones as hotspots for our laptops. The speed is good (especially with the iPhone 5s with its 4G connectivity) and we don’t feel so disconnected from the world.

Since there is a monthly limit on the data usage of mobile plans, I connect the hotspot sporadically to download any email and to upload any blog posts I’ve composed offline (a great feature of the blog setup I use).

While I’m talking about Internet workarounds, another trick I learned from a good friend is to take an Airport Express along when you stay in a hotel. Internet wifi is notoriously shit because

  1. The hotel IT staff are invariably under-resourced
  2. The building often impedes wifi's radio signals (metal studs, possibly lead paint, thick walls, other, contentious radio signals, massive electrical runs, etc)
  3. Access points are often saturated with clients (wifi is just like a walkie-talkie, only one side can talk at a time, slowing down the communication for all).

So to get around all that bad news, you plug your in-room network cable into your airport express and boom; you have your own, personal wifi. This accomplishes a few things:

  1. You don't have to reconfigure your laptop each time. It stays configured for your access point (AP).
  2. You often get complimentary LAN access in your room but wifi costs extra. With your own AP, you get free wifi.
  3. You don't contend with other guests on your own AP. Those commoners can scrap for access on the hotel's wifi.
  4. You have direct control over the security of the AP.