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10 tips: how to get online, anywhere

Get your work done by any internet connection necessary

If you're a regular when it comes to working on the go, then you'll probably have experienced the frustration when it's impossible to find an internet connection, whether it's through a 3G dongle, or even your smartphone. Here are 10 road-tested tips for getting your work done by any internet connection necessary.

Picture this: You're sitting down in between meetings on a business trip, and you need to send a few quick email messages and an image or two.

You pull out your handy 3G internet dongle, but no luck. Undaunted, you start looking around for an open Wi-Fi network, but there are none. Even your smartphone internet is mysteriously down. Is this a nightmare? Nope - just another day for a business traveller lost in the wilds of mobile internet.

Don't let this happen to you. Check out our 10 road-tested tips for getting your work done by any internet connection necessary.

Don't rely on one network for mobile internet access

If you absolutely must have always-available internet access, don't limit yourself to one cellular network. Check the coverage maps and pick a pair of devices from different carriers to maximise your odds of getting a good connection.

Switch spots

Slow mobile broadband? Try switching spots - even if you're getting a great signal. Getting five bars on your mobile-broadband signal doesn't necessarily mean that you'll get the best data speeds, especially if you're in an area with lots of cellular-network traffic. Although the signal-strength indicator does tell you how strong your connection is to the nearest signal tower, it doesn't tell you how busy that tower is.

That means that you (and everyone else in the area) could have a splendid connection to a tower that is so overloaded it can't send data along the network fast enough. Oddly, sometimes your signal strength will be worse, but your overall speeds will be better since you're connecting to a tower that's less busy overall.

Bring your own gear for hotel-room Wi-Fi

Hotels love to advertise their free in-room Wi-Fi. However, the mere existence of Wi-Fi doesn't guarantee that it will work at the level you need it to. If you want to ensure that your room is covered, you'll need to bring your own Wi-Fi router and insist on a room at a hotel that is wired for ethernet. Don't forget the plug board, too, or else you might have to choose between wireless internet access and your room's lighting.

If lugging all of that gear around doesn't appeal, remember this: Your room's ethernet could be a one-foot-long cable sticking out of the landline phone. You might be able to get your work done with your laptop on your bedside table, but your back will never forgive you.

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