Are you lucky enough to live further out into the wilds than most? Do you suffer from slow internet such as dial up or 3G services? Do you have a limited amount of data? Well there are a few tactics you can employ to make your slow internet far more usable.
1). Plain Text Viewing
If you need to read the content from a web site but don’t want to load all the images and unnecessary adverts that sap your browsing speed there is a web site that will convert any web site into a plain text version with links to any image content for individual loading.
This website is quick to load and aimed specifically at those on slow internet connections wanting a quicker way to access web sites or conduct internet searches.
You can try it for yourself at https://www.textise.net/
2). Local Email Client
Many of the free email services we all know and use such as Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail offer POP3 and IMAP access for free. This allows a piece of software on your device to download your emails in various ways. It avoids the need to log in to the web version provided by these sites which are laden with adverts and unnecessary content. This system fell out of favour with high speed internet connections but is still extremely reliable on older slow internet connections.
Most of these local email clients even have the option to download key bits of the email such as “From” and “Subject” leaving the rest of the email in tact on their servers until you deem the rest is worthy of reading.
Another powerful tool is the ability to write your replies offline, storing them in your Outbox until such time as you connect and they are sent en masse far quicker than having to use the web version to write each email.
In this age of high speed broadband and fibre connections we forget that for years people surfed the internet on dial up connections and 55.6kbps modems. By today’s standards these are slow internet connections but at the time they were the life blood of the internet. When you move out of the city to your dream homestead it can be hard making the adjustment but recalling some of the lessons learned from the past can make the internet almost as usable. Obviously streaming videos such as Netflix and YouTube are always going to be potentially out of reach but day to day use such as stock portfolios, news updates, forums and blogs can all be maintained on more primitive connections. Successful work from home jobs have been created and grown on slow internet dial up connections and today the possibility of that is no different.
If you find yourself in a location where there isn’t even slow internet and where the old copper phone lines of old won’t reach there are other options.
WAP, GPRS, 3G and 4G Cellular Data Connections
Whilst your normal handset might struggle to get a signal on the homestead others might not. A simple GSM device with an external antenna jack like the flip phones of yesteryear can be used to great effect with a Yagi directional high gain antenna. Mounted high on the homestead this can pick up far away cell towers with ease, and couple it with a suitable signal amplifier and you may approach dial up speeds with ease. It might only give you a slow internet connection but if there was no internet before it is something to consider.
Weather can hamper this system but with a little planning it can be set to constantly try for a connection until it succeeds. It also has the added advantage of improving call reception giving you an almost fixed land line at your homestead.
If internet is an absoloute must for your homestead then an expensive option is High Speed Satellite Internet. They are not only expensive to set up but have high cost per mb and small data allowances but they are definitely an option for the more remote homesteads. It comes at a price but it fixes slow internet pretty much anywhere.
One provider with clearly explained costings is https://www.skycasters.com/remote-business/service-plans/
Have Laptop Will Travel Downloads
One final option, which exists as a compromise of sorts, is to have a laptop in your truck that when you travel into your nearest town or village connects either by free wifi or GSM means and downloads en masse emails, news, RSS feeds, Podcasts and Video content to the internal hard drive of the laptop. When you return home after your resupply all the content can be trawled through at your leisure and replies and responses stored for sending on your return to the town on your next trip. This solution is ideal if you still travel in frequently and with modern low power laptops the content can download over the duration of your stay automatically.
If you still have a regular job but then travel home to slow internet or where internet is not an option or cost prohibitive this can be a nice compromise.
Live USB Applications
If the hassle of carrying a laptop to and from your nearest town doesn’t appeal then a Live USB stick is a good alternative. Installed on to the memory stick is browser, RSS feed and email clients and when plugged into a computer with internet and initiated they download the content to the memory stick for viewing off line later. Mozilla Thunderbird has a stand alone version of it’s email client for just such a reason. A decent size memory stick will handle emails and RSS feeds well.
Ham Radio Based Email
If you have a Ham radio installation on the homestead then you might be interested in WinLink which allows you to send and receive email via your Ham radio. A full and clearer explanation than I can offer is available here http://winlink.org/