Mobile Telecommuting: Key Notes

Mobile Telecommuting

Let’s review what I mean by truly mobile. I mean, being able to have a situation arise where you need to work from a completely different location or even on the road while traveling and be able to continue successfully.

In the old days (just a few years ago)

if you wanted to be mobile you had to locate a wifi hotspot in your destination. Then you had to go through the trial and error to confirm that the wifi hotspot was going to work for what you need. VPN enabled or allow enough bandwidth to stream media, etc.. Many times that wifi hotspot would have a time usage limit. Or, because it was free wifi, your signal would be really weak.

If you found a good wifi location, your next priority was power. You needed an outlet to keep your laptop alive. A few years ago I felt lucky if I got more than two hours from a laptop battery.  

Times have changed. The primary factors are the same, getting a quality  wifi signal and power, but there have been vast improvements.

With a good smartphone that allows you to use it as a wifi hotspot on a good data plan you can expect to control the WAP (wireless access point). With a quality unlimited data plan across 4G, it can be just as good as being near your own home WAP. Although you may be able to do it with 3G, the throughput will limit the type of media you may receive and/or it’s quality.  

As batteries have improved for laptops, you can run a little longer completely untethered to a wall plug while continuously charging your smartphone. I’ve worked as much as three and a half hours using the laptop battery to power the smartphone.

How do I do it specifically? I have an unlimited data plan with T-Mobile providing me 4G for a flat cost. My smartphone is currently a Nexus 4 from Google which has a current CPU capable of providing wifi and supporting calls at the same time with an excellent success rate. I stick with a wired stereo headset because in my experience, bluetooth headsets don’t last as long without a recharge. My work laptop is corporate provided and is an HP ProBook 6460b and has roughly 4 and a half hours of charge at the rate I use it’s features. This includees corporate streaming and internet based conference calls and continuously uploads and downloads. If I’m powering the cell phone off the laptop it reduces the battery life by maybe a half hour to an hour at the most.

To ensure I have power to lengthen battery life I either locate a single outlet or use a power inverter off a 12V cigarette lighter outlet. NOTE: I strongly recommend that if you stay on top of your battery strength. Unless you are actively charging, inverters can deplete your battery at a very fast rate and potentially make the 12V batteries unable to be recharged.

Happy mobility.

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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