OTR Internet Access: 5 Ways to Stay Connected
Having a solid and reliable internet connection while driver OTR is essential to stay connected. The good news is that broadband Internet is available all over the country. In fact, a recent study by the Blackboard Project indicates that over 90 percent of the world's population has access to a broadband Internet connection. While a personal computer or laptop is helpful, you don't need one to stay connected while you do what you do best: drive across the country. Here are four of the most popular methods of connecting to the Internet while on the road.
1. Truckstop WiFi
This is among the easiest options available. Not only is WiFi available at a wide range of truckstops all over the country, but the WiFi is now more powerful than ever with faster data transfer speeds on a broadband connection. Simply pull up to your truckstop, turn on your laptop or netbook and sign into the truckstop's WiFi. In some cases, truckstop WiFi networks are password protected, or require that purchase time. If this is the case just obtain the password, or purchase time at the cash register. The downside to this option is truckstop WiFi is often expensive to use.
2. Computers at Truckstops
If you're not interested in dropping the money for a laptop or netbook computer, many truckstops have computers setup with Internet access inside connected to broadband internet. The main downside to this is that there may be a limited amount of available computers, and the charge to use the computers is often steep.
3. Broadband Mobile Device
Many Internet and wireless service providers offer broadband mobile devices. If you're interested in having constant access to the Internet while on the road, this may be the option for you. In a nutshell, a broadband mobile device is a wireless piece of hardware that connects to your computer that allows you to connect to a specific broadband network from anywhere in the country. The problem often comes with service availability. Since broadband mobile devices often run on a specific mobile network, if you're in areas with a weak signal you may not be able to connect to the Internet. These devices are best used in major metropolitan areas and medium-sized cities.
4. Smart Phone Tethering
Tethering is the process of essentially using your smart phone or mobile device as a modem. This is often a great option for truckers with a high quality smart phone data plan. The downside to tethering is two-fold: The first type of problem being that your data connection may be slow in certain areas, and the other problem is that many service providers don't allow tethering. This means you may have to use a third-party application to use your smart phone as a modem.
5. Other Types of Connections
Lastly, there are plenty of other services often used by truck drivers while on the road. Some truckstops have Internet services that are relatively inexpensive like, IdleAire. Now even major coffee shops, restaurants and fast food places have WiFi. For instance, if you head over to places like Mcdonalds and Burger King, simply buy a meal and sign onto their unlimited WiFi service free of charge.