In the 1960s TV series Green Acres, the main character “Oliver” from New York, buys a farm in the country. Whenever he wanted to use the phone, he had to climb to the top of a telephone pole. Eva Gabor’s wife can only run one electronic device at a time. Do not trip the circuit breaker. These were the technical barriers to living in the country in 1967. Today as homesteaders, we face more obstacles and more opportunities.
Before my homestead, I was a marketing company’s VP of Information Technology. I went from the fax machine to the server room to the executive suite. I hope to open a window on how to find the right technology for someone with Common homestead issues.
Rural Cell Phone Service
Cell phone service in the country is getting better, but it’s still not perfect. Before you sign the next cell phone contract, you may want to consider what’s best for your homestead. Ad promises of “coverage” and “fast internet” access may not be available for your location. When I say “specific” location, I mean it.
When we bought the homestead, our family was on AT&T. They say their coverage covers “95%” of the US or something like that. The truth about AT&T is that their coverage covers 95% (or other) Americans and not the US. The difference is that they have excellent coverage in dense, Densely populated areas and not so much in sparsely populated areas.
As it turns out, AT&T had excellent cell phone service until we turned off the dirt road to our home—it’s in a valley. When we got to our natural home, we held our phones above our heads and still had no signal if we drove to our asphalt road. The signal…not on the homestead.
We switched cell phone service to Verizon. Verizon also says they cover 95% of the US, closer to them. Verizon is better in rural areas than AT&T, but that doesn’t mean the service is the latest and greatest. We switched to Verizon because A sound signal is available in our valley. We didn’t get the fastest ad download speeds. Speeds were good but not current (at the time) 4G LTE—more of a 3G.
Recommendation for Rural Cell Phone Service
Check with your neighbours before entering into a long-term contract. If you can get someone with the service you are considering, come to your land and make sure it works better.
Different cell phones have different antennas. If the signal in your location is weak, ensure your phone has a good antenna. It’s even better if you can test it at your location. Find a friend who has friends and invite them over for coffee cake or homemade beer.
Getting Cell Service Delivered
Metal buildings (mobile homes or RVs) can seriously affect your ability to get a good signal at home. If this happens, you can buy some technology to overcome this problem.
In my case, we can get a small cellular signal outside and no cellular signal inside the mobile home. This is a real problem because our business depends on people being able to call us from our cell phones.
For us, the solution was a cell phone signal repeater, also known as a phone signal booster. These are usually included in a kit with an external antenna plus some cables and a transmitter to place in the house. This kit will capture the signal from the outside and amplify it into your house!
In my case, I built a 30ft tower outside my house and mounted the antenna on it. It’s a directional antenna so that you can point it at your carrier’s strongest signal. This requires installation, but anyone with general handyman skills can do the job.
Rural Internet Service
Access to internet service can be a little difficult in some areas. In cities, Internet service is ubiquitous; it’s quick and easy to install. At home, this can be a little difficult.
There are four ways someone can get online: via telephone lines, cables via satellite, and finally via radio signals. The farther you are from civilization, the less likely you are to get phone lines and cable TV services. That’s because these signals require Regular ascension along their route. The further away you are, the fewer boosters are near the phone company.
When it comes to “over the air” services, the first thing that comes to mind is satellite internet service. As I write this, the one that comes to my mind the most is HughesNet. Other options can also include Viasat (formerly Excede) and a few others. DishTV says they offer internet satellite service but re-sell another provider’s service.
What does it have to do with satellite internet service?
Satellite internet services are a bit more expensive than super fast, limiting how much you can download in a month; finally, just like your satellite TV, your service can be affected by heavy rain. That’s because the dish itself doesn’t drain fast enough. There are various services. I’ve been using Excede for a few years.
If you need to use the internet for business, so cost is not an issue. I signed up for Excede’s most expensive service. I pay about $150/month for 12 Mbs limited to 50 MB (for fast service). After I use 50 MB for a month, I can still get the service, but it’s slow.
It’s okay if you don’t understand this. 12 Mbs is speed.. 12 megabits per second. Most urban internet services have speeds ranging from 100 megabits per second to 1000 megabits per second. 12 Mbs is fast enough to watch YouTube videos or Netflix, but it may require “buffering” or capturing Get up from time to time. Having multiple people watching videos on different devices simultaneously is more problematic.
Finally, there is the direct signal wireless internet service. I can access one of them. They are usually local companies. My 5 Mbs service costs $50 per month with no usage limit. This is slower than satellite but cheaper and has no limitations. So I gave up my Wireless satellite service.
Then I went to convince them to double my speed for more money. Since these are local companies that provide such wireless services, there are not many employees. I spoke with the “technicians” who worked on the equipment. I asked him if I could get faster service and more money. After a few discussions, he doubled my service from 5 Mbs to 10 Mbs for an additional $15 per month.
Recommendations for Rural Internet Service
It’s best to get “cable broadband” service through your phone or cable provider. Next, I would look for local suppliers that don’t use satellites. 10 Mbs from a local provider will be more consistent than 12 Mbs from a satellite provider. If You have to get satellite service, it’s just a last resort.
When I run a computer department for a company, the most common question is, “What computer should I buy for my home?” I ask, “What do you use it for?” The answer is always “not much.”
What do you do with your home computer? If you’re a teenager, the Internet of Games and Video is the answer. They usually use their phone for everything else. If you’re middle-aged, the answer might be the internet. News YouTube, Netflix, Amazon (many Amazons), Facebook Pinterest is looking at your banking and bill pay sites…what else? It shouldn’t be much. You might use spreadsheets (probably not) to write some documents or mess with music or video editing.
After showing the person who asked me what computer to buy, that they don’t need a big and expensive computer I’ll tell them what to buy for a cheap computer, this is what they need. They always go for an expensive giant computer because “it’s going to last longer.” but are accustomed to it.
Today 90% of all personal laptop users should buy a Chromebook. They are cheap. They work just fine. Everything is stored cloudly” so you don’t lose it. You don’t have to “upgrade” or “update.” The most important is that you are under the Windows 10 umbrella.
People typically spend $595 on a Windows laptop full of software you don’t need and will never use. It’s constantly asking for updates and persevering in everything you do. You don’t need anything. You are infected with a virus that you cannot get rid of. System It runs slower and slower until you think it’s broken and you buy a new one.
If you had more money, then you’d pay $995 for a Mac; there are far more ways for software, etc… Things apply – just not as fast.
The only downside to Chromebooks is that they require internet connection to work. But: what would you do with your laptop if you didn’t have an internet connection? The answer might be, “put it down and pick up my phone.”
What about Internet Privacy?
I use google for everything. I store my files and pictures there. I use Facebook for everything. I store my photos there and post everything I do. People are very concerned about privacy. I’ll put you at ease…you don’t. Seriously if the government wants to track you, They can. If they want your documents, pictures, and bank accounts, they already have them. They don’t need a warrant. They can buy information from the service provider (or someone else who buys information from the service provider). “But they can’t follow a person. There is no search warrant. “They’re not following a person’s activity. They’re following the “device’s” activity. They don’t need to see what “Jane Doe” is doing, just her phone and internet activity.
So don’t worry. You have already inserted it. If you use the service “for free,” it just means you are the product. You are what the company is selling. They can give you free email search engines, social media, and more. I have a Business as a dog trainer. I get clients from Google. For this, I pay Google about $500 a month. This is my biggest bill. So come on in…the water is good!
Homesteading doesn’t mean unplugging. The internet and online services are now so easy to use that homesteading just got easier. You can see grandchildren 1000 miles away. You can do your work and stay connected to the things that keep your homestead life in touch possible. For this, you need to be connected. Hopefully, this information helps you understand how to connect in a useful and cost-effective way.