Mobile Telecommuting Redux

I’ve been always looking for how to be a truly mobile telecommuter.

When I say mobile, I mean anywhere, anytime, for as long as you need to.

I attempted this experiment back in 2011 for
a period of time. My results weren’t great.

Some of it had to do with cell tower 4G coverage limits. Some of it had to do with unreliable service and data caps. Some of it had to do with Android phones that were still maturing and battery limitations with laptops.

So, I’m trying it again. Why? I found myself in a situation where I worked during the holidays from the hotel room, while the family enjoyed the resort. The day for us to return home required me to be on the road during the work day.

How did I plan to deal with it? I planned to use my Android smartphone as a wifi hotspot using my 4G data plan.
For power, I decided to use my work laptop battery to continuously charge the cell phone. Nothing kills an android battery faster than using it as a wifi hotspot. I decided on a basic wired stereo cell phone headset to reduce the power and data draw on the android.  
Unlike previous work laptops, this one’s battery life could provide about four and a half hours of juice.
The drive was planned for about two hours, but that didn’t count disconnect time from the room all the way to reconnect at my destination. And knowing how murphy’s law prevails, I expected a few hiccups.
The time came, I unplugged my laptop and strolled through the resort with my laptop on the hotel wifi. About thirty minutes later the family was loaded up, the better half was driving and I had my self set up with wifi on android while my android was being powered by my laptop battery.
Let’s jump to the end result. Very satisfactory. The android smartphone was able to provide a wifi connection almost the entire distance, which was not possible just two years earlier.

My status on arrival?
The total elapsed time was a little more than two hours allowing for a pit stop or two. The laptop had about an hour and thirty minutes left, which makes sense given that the android was continuously drawing on the laptop battery.
The android phone was break even as far as charge is concerned.

I was able to make cell phone calls while maintaining wifi without problems, losing wifi only once while on the move due to service dead zone.
Final judgment – it’s definitely do able and satisfactory. With an inverter plugged into the car, the laptop and android could have performed for a much longer period. All in all, a good tactic when needed.

Author: 21Buzzards

Mid-life retired reservist in the corporate IT world parenting a grandchild. Sharing my evolution as age and priorities impact life.

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