Data is a basic human need. That’s the singular truth impressed upon me during this Circuit Breaker period. I could get food, connect with friends and do my work to satisfy all my other needs as long as I was online.
Imagine my existential dread then when the wifi would suddenly cut out during an important meeting or get stuck buffering when all I wanted was watch that next episode of Community on Netflix. I know I’m not alone in my experiences of these issues as Internet Service Providers reported a 60% surge in online traffic since everyone started working from home. To make matters worse, there were also two wifi blackouts during this time, one of which lasted a whopping 8 hours!
So there’s 4 people in my family and when the internet goes down, so do our collective moods. My Dad flies into a rage when he can’t connect to his email and begins to furiously contact customer services. Mom heaves a deep sigh and falls asleep waiting for her K-Drama to buffer (it never does). My dear sister slinks back to using her phone’s data, constantly checking if the wifi has returned because she knows her 20GB won’t last forever. As the resident “tech guy” I’m just sat by my router turning it on and off again hoping it’ll magically reconnect.
I actually counted that I restarted my router a total of 28 times over the 2 months I spent at home. Yes, I probably need a new router but until then I discovered the perfect workaround. I had this insane amount of data leftover from my plan - 255.40GB to be exact and so why not put it to good use. The next time we got hit by a wave of slow internet, I simply turned on my hotspot and what used to be a moment of frustration turned into one of delight. My Dad who is usually clueless about this kinda stuff now swears by it and knows how to hotspot using his own phone.
My data also went towards preserving the new LDR my girlfriend and I now found ourselves in. It’s phase one and we’re still not allowed to meet but we still work out together everyday over Zoom/Facetime. I also recommend chilling with your friends on Houseparty, which is this phone app that has plenty of fun games like trivia and drawing charades. Personally, I was just thankful that I could be virtually close to my homies even while we were physically distant.
It’s not a perfect solution because my hotspot doesn’t reach everywhere in the house like my wifi does but it certainly gets the job done. I do occasionally get a slower connection but my hot tip is to turn airplane mode on and off on your device real quick to reset the connection. It’s way faster than waiting for your router to power on and connect again!
Data is a basic human need. It connects us to one another even in times of crisis. It links us to a global network of information, entertainment and community. It's always been an indispensable part of our daily lives and it shouldn't take a pandemic to make us notice that.
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