Proving How Much Internet You Actually Need

Proving How Much Internet You Actually Need

Earlier this week, I calculated that I needed at least four-and-a-half hours of internet access a day just for my basic, no-frills working life. I managed to prove that handily later in the week, by losing my internet connection altogether.

Picture by genemoo

My hotel internet connection died completely earlier in the week, and it took two full days to get it restored. I briefly tried using roaming on my 3G Vodafone dongle, but that proved impractical both because of excessive cost and hideous unreliability. So I went to the other great traveller fallback: free Wi-Fi at McDonald's.

While that helped me get essential tasks done, the opening hours at the nearest branch meant that I couldn't get online early in the morning or late at night, which were the times I'd already scheduled for working while I was on the road this time around. The most I could manage was about three hours a day. That was enough to keep things ticking over, but made me painfully aware that I was leaving lots of tasks aside which I'll have to catch up with next week. While I could do writing work without a connection (and did so), lots of things needed IP to work.

The world didn't end because of my limited access, of course. However, it does make me want to take comments about the beneficial effects of having internet-free days with a much larger grain of salt. I found the lack of information much more stressful.

What's your reaction when you can't get the access you need? Share your coping strategies in the comments.


  • I don’t really need the internet for work, the occasional google for things once every 2 days is the extent of it. I can say that I had my internet shapped last year to 64kb/s during a time when I was applying for jobs. It would take 10 minutes for a seek page to load, I had to tough it out tho and eventually got the work done. There wasn’t a way to effectively work around it, I had my iPhone and used that for quick info, but couldn’t use it to send the hefty documents. So it was a struggle, but in the end I got the job done. Now if I didn’t have any connection I’d probably just go home to my parents place and use their connection!
    I can’t really live without the internet now, however on the weekends my usage is restricted to the very occasional facebook/twitter check, googling things that drunk people say and online gaming with my PS3.

  • You have heard of the mining boom right ! I reakon the next big industry boom will be optomistists making a killing on all the glasses sold…he says as he looks at his tiny monitor

  • The times I have been without net at home, I’ve gone up to the library – which does not offer wifi – you have to use their computers. Its difficult though, as it is fairly slow and they only let you on in 30 minute blocks and you have to rebook after that if you want more. If someone books the block after you, then tough luck, you have to book in for later wait. There are only 5 computers in the library and they are pretty solidly booked out whenever I’ve been in. It is also difficult as you don’t really want to log in on a public computer to do some things…

    I live in a regional area so the library is pretty much it in terms of alternatives. None of the local cafes have wifi as far as I know (I last asked about 6mnths ago, so that may have changed), and the nearest maccas is about 20km down the road. :/

  • Being a software developer (both windows and web). I need access to the net every minute of the work day (using source control over the web, and the app databases are all on servers in the america).

    Not to mention i api reference/documentation is all online, and often googling to find the answers to many programming issues and collaborating with colleges and clients in america.

    Without internet access i cant do much work and my clients wouldn’t like the lack of support.

    I pretty much use it 8 to 14 hours a day (not 100% of the time but enough that if it wasn’t always on it would be a problem).

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