Broadband backup option for group courses

Everybody knows how painful it can be to cope with a slow or disrupted internet connection, especially when you want to get some work done or teach a course where everybody has to be online to work away – you’re completely dependent on it. In our WordPress courses everybody builds their own site during the course, and everybody uses a laptop with an ethernet connection cable – we also have the option of wireless internet at SureSkills but most people opt for the faster cable option.

Usually that’s fine, until a few weeks ago when during one of our courses suddenly our internet speed dropped dramatically. We called our in-house technician, he then called our IT department and we took a 10min break with the hope that they would get the internet up and running again. Unfortunately it was out of their hands, as most of the Dublin 2 area was down or very slow. We kept on working away a little, took another break and I covered a few points on links in theory instead of the usual practical approach. All our participants were  very understanding, but I felt terrible. About an hour later our internet speed picked up again and we were all able to make up for the lost time and covered all the topics before the end of the course – what a relief!

Even though everyone left great feedback – thank you so much guys – I knew this should not happen again, we will need some kind of backup internet solution. If our regular internet runs into a problem, what will be a completely different way of getting online? The only thing I could come up with was mobile broadband.

There are broadband dongles, but they need to be installed first – too time consuming and messy – and then we would need up to 9 of them, one for each participant and one for myself – that’s not what I was looking for. So I went to different mobile provider shops in Dublin and spoke to the experts. And yes there is something else and it’s called Mobile Wi-Fi – all providers have their own version with similar service and prices. They all can be connected to 4 or 5 devices without a software installation (after the initial setup), they offer download speeds of up to 7.2Mbps and are available for less than €70 as a prepaid option. The only thing they need is good mobile coverage, so make sure you check that first. You can get one for a 72hour trial from O2 (but I believe they all do that, just ask), which we used in our last course and I was positively surprised with our O2 Hotshot, we had 4 people connected to the any device at the same time and it seemed to provide the same speed as the ethernet connection to all. Now, we don’t need much broadband width to use WordPress, so I can’t make a recommendation if you want to down or upload a lot of data, but for us it’s a great backup system!

I’m glad we were able to make up for the lost time and everyone had a great course before all our participants headed home all over Ireland and one even back to Scotland. I look forward to seeing some of you in our next Advanced Course again.

PS: All mobile providers offer some special promotions at the moment, just ask in store and they will double your credit or give you some for free.

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