It sounds cliché, but we really are in an age of constant connection: video chatting on trains, emailing in cafés, watching YouTube in the bath (not advisable, but it can be done). Our smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices’ wifi and data capabilities let us access anything, anytime, anywhere. In fact, there is a growing number of business owners who work solely on their mobile devices.
Whether you’re scouting out the best free wifi or trying to find the fastest speeds, here’s your guide to staying connected in Australia during your business travel. Indeed, staying connected in important, whether you work from a garden bench or renting shared and private offices in Adelaide by the hour.
Better, faster, stronger
First of all, check your area’s connectivity. Different providers have varying signals around the country and to make sure you’re getting the most out of your network, do some background research. Most networks have an interactive map tool which demonstrates the amount of coverage you can expect, and it comes as no surprise that big cities have the best and strongest signals.
For example, comparing Optus, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone‘s signal strength in Johnston, a suburb of Palmerston near Darwin, they all have good coverage but Vodafone has the widest area of 4G. This is definitely something worth looking into, especially if you are thinking of switching your carrier or moving house.
Lucky for you, you can work anywhere you want, thanks to the ever-growing Wi-fi coverage. Indeed, Wi-fi hotspots are cropping up all over the country: in fact, according to ACMA research, Australians’ use of wi-fi hotspots has increased six-fold since 2009. There are now over 3 million Australians using these hotspots, which can be found in all Aussie states and territories. Perth even has its own city-wide free wifi, which provides coverage over the Central Business District and allows users to download up to 50mbs per connection.
And to make things even easier, there are now resources that map out exactly where these hotspots are. Resources like this heat map of Adelaide colour-codes each area of the city based on 6 levels: ‘awesome,’ ‘great,’ ‘it will do,’ ‘still usable,’ ‘very poor,’ and ‘don’t even bother.’
Image via Wi-Fi Map
You can also find guides to public free wi-fi here and here.
If you want to stay connected while you travel for business to other countries outside Australia, you should know that not all cities are wi-fi-ed equally. Some of the most connected cities aren’t what you’d expect: for example, Helsinki offers free internet that users can connect, without a password, to one of the many hotspots around the area, which can be located using this interactive map. In Germany, the National Tourist Board launched its first free app – called Youth HotSpot – that locates over 1,300 free wi-fi locations in the country.
Other cities that boast the best free wifi are Taipei, Florence, Tel Aviv, Macau, Paris, New York, and Hong Kong (which actually has several free networks to choose from). If staying plugged in is important, then perhaps you should visit one of these places that celebrate your freedom to browse.