The following is an excerpt from Natalie Sisson’s The Suitcase Entrepreneur: Create Freedom in Business and Adventure in Life, out now on Simon & Schuster.
Until the day you can’t connect or get decent Wi-Fi, you will never realize how much you depend upon it. In fact, I’d say that losing connection is the bane of every traveling entrepreneur’s life! Trying to get decent Internet connection has cost me way too much time and money over the years.
It’s also taught me patience and to do as much work offline as possible, especially in countries where the bandwidth is next to useless. Do your research in advance. If you’re heading somewhere with notoriously bad, expensive, or slow Internet, then I’d recommend scheduling calls, interviews, and major file uploads for another time.
Luckily, I’ve done that research for you by looking at Akamai’s State of the Internet report for Q4 2016, where you can find countries ranked on their broadband speeds every quarter.
Top Ten Countries for Fastest Internet
South Korea comes in first place, with an average peak connection speed of 29 megabits per second, which is 4.6 times as quick as the global average. At that speed you can download an entire feature film in just a few minutes!
Then it’s Norway, Sweden, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Latvia, Japan, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, and Finland.
The upsides of having Wi-Fi constantly available are that you can work from almost anywhere for free, and this gives you unbelievable flexibility in running your business, staying in touch and making money.
Free Wi-Fi — Pros and Cons
You can access free Wi-Fi throughout most of the first world, and that’s only going to continue to increase. In second and third world countries, you take what you can get.
If you can’t access the Internet from the airport, your accommodation, or cafés, you can still find those things called Internet cafés. The upsides of having Wi-Fi constantly available are that you can work from almost anywhere for free, and this gives you unbelievable flexibility in running your business, staying in touch and making money.
The downside is that most Wi-Fi signals are unencrypted. This means that anything you do online in hotels, coffee shops, and airports can be intercepted by others using the same network. That’s why it pays not to log in to online banking or other important sites through an unsecured network, to protect yourself from being hacked. Even antivirus software won’t keep you safe from this.
The other thing is that free Wi-Fi can mean an unreliable connection. I have too many examples to share of the great lengths I’ve gone to in order to make things happen when there’s poor or intermittent Internet.
Here are three tools to help you find and take advantage of free Wi-Fi:
- Free WiFi Finder lets you search for free Internet hot spots anywhere in the world, both online and off.
- Skype WiFi allows you to get online at over 1 million Wi-Fi hot spots worldwide and pay only for the time you’re online with Skype Credit. You just need the latest version of Skype or their WiFi app.
- WhatsApp is a free app you install on your smartphone that allows you to text-message anyone for free and send photos when you have Wi-Fi or data connection.
Of course it helps if you have a data package on your smartphone to start with, so that you can actually use the handy apps mentioned here and not have to search for free Wi-Fi all the time. If you’re wondering about texting and calls, those aren’t a feature, but that’s why you use WhatsApp and Skype!
Natalie Sisson is an inspiring professional powerhouse and digital nomad, and author of The Suitcase Entrepreneur: Create Freedom in Business and Adventure in Life. Since quitting her job and moving to Canada, she has travelled to sixty-nine countries, lived on five continents, and now runs a successful business from her laptop.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within this guest post are those of the authors alone and do not represent those of CBS Small Business Pulse or the CBS Corporation. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are verified solely by the authors.