In this day and age, it’s easy to forget how heavily we rely on technology — for the most part, we just take it for granted. Unfortunately, Internet outages occur, and they can leave us at a loss, especially when you’re attending college online.
Should your Internet cut out, first and foremost, remember that there may be work that can be done offline. Knowing what you do and do not need the Internet for can help you make productive use of your “down” time.
Still, it’s wise to put some plans in place so you can mitigate the issue and keep your education on track, be it accessing or submitting assignments, while you’re waiting to get back online.
1. Plan ahead
Because Internet outages do occur, it’s smart to have a backup plan for if and when they occur. Talk with a couple of family members, close friends or neighbors about using their Internet should the need arise. Having a few different options is a good idea in case your connectivity issues extend beyond you alone to your block, town or Internet Service Provider.
2. Consider other options
While home may well be your preferred place to study, it is not the only option you have. More and more businesses and public places are offering free Wi-Fi. Familiarize yourself with your surroundings, and know where your nearest, next-best-shot is. Starbucks, McDonald’s and your neighborhood public library are good places to start. (Read our related article on finding a peaceful study space.)
3. Inspect your connection
If you connect your gateway and router to a dedicated, uninterruptible power source (UPS), it may run your cable gateway and router for a period of time during a power outage. Having a battery backup in place offers the added benefit of protecting your system from an abrupt shutdown and the subsequent, potential damage associated with it.
4. Tethering and hotspots
Emergency situations call for emergency responses. That’s where your cell phone carrier can help. Tethering your phone, while perhaps not ideal, it certainly is an option when need be. Perhaps a better, more cost-effective solution, though, is securing a pay-as-you-go mobile hotspot.
5. Mobile broadband USB sticks
Staying up and running during an Internet outage can be as easy as purchasing a mobile broadband USB stick, which basically plugs into your computer like a flash drive. Often, the device is free if you sign up for a monthly plan, though pay-as-you-go options are available, too.
And of course, be sure to stay powered up. Having Internet access won’t do you a lot of good if your devices don’t have juice. So, make sure your laptop is fully charged, and have a car adaptor handy to do the heavy lifting if need be. The key is having a charger — and, frankly, everything you need — in advance, so don’t wait until you’re in trouble to purchase one.
Find more tips on how to succeed at online school on our College Success blog.