Wi-Fi, what Wi-Fi?

One of the realities I’ve faced on the Challenges Worldwide programme is that Wi-Fi connectivity is one of our most valuable luxuries at home that we consider a commodity. Before I came, I wasn’t expecting Wi-Fi in every host home, business or cafe, but I was expecting to find a hotspot or two to work remotely from in the city. That is not the reality in Accra.

There are a few businesses with Mi-Fi, a device that comfortably allows 2-3 people to connect to the internet before the connection starts to drop. But as it’s limited, when we’re on enterprise visits we’re not invited to join a Guest network, and most people hotspot off their mobile phones when using laptops at home or in the workplace.

Mobile-HotSpot

Mobile phone contracts aren’t common, so when you hotspot you are using either credit or a bundle allowance. In Accra Vodafone X offers a 4G package that I can just about stretch out over a month, but I am much more conscious of how I use data now it truly feels like a luxury.

How does it impact work and home life?

  • Online market research quickly gets expensive, so although we still use the internet, a lot of volunteers have conducted face to face user testing, site visits and phoned around for competitor analysis and lead generation

  • Sharing documents is risky business as we’re plugging USBs into a number of different devices. Luckily most have been virus-free, but Avast has flagged a few nasties it’s protected my laptop from

  • Streaming services are off limits. I thought I might struggle to get the most up to date series on Netflix. On arrival I realised Netflix was not an option unless I wanted to dig deep into my savings to chill

  • I’ve found myself writing lists before I hotspot. Thoroughly thinking through what you need mitigates the risk of going off on a tangent and wasting data

  • You need to keep on top of your bundle because if you run out, it cuts out!

Here are a few tips on how to stretch your mobile allowance:

  • Android phones use less data than iPhones, so if you have a choice, use Android abroad

  • Make sure your phone isn’t automatically updating apps; manually update the most important

  • Turn mobile data off for background apps. Unless you’re using it, don’t let it use your data

  • Switch off location services

  • Close unwanted browsers

  • Keep your phone on low battery mode to reduce the number of times apps and emails are refreshed

  • Limit Facebook browsing (or stop altogether)

  • Avoid Facetime and use WhatsApp video or calls as they seem to drain less data

  • Make sure you’re not autosaving files from messages

  • Likewise, switch off auto-play for videos on social apps

  • USBs are still the best way to share files and media without using data. Just be wary about transferring PII and what might come with the file share

  • Take TV/movies with you and leave the newest shows for when you get home

xo

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