Bulletproof Your Internet Access
Under normal circumstances, a good ISP would have given you 99% uptime with your internet access. However, during exceptional situations like the extreme cold weather we experienced from the end of year 2013 to the beginning of year 2014, there is not much your ISP can do if their equipment fails in the rough conditions.
For traders, sometimes we need that stable internet connection because of open positions and other emergency access. We cannot afford to not having internet access. Thus it is a good idea to be prepared.
Here are several tips to make sure you get internet access when you needed it most.
Have Your Own Router
ISPs often like to offer all-in-one device that acts as both the internet modem and the router for your local network of computers, printers and other network devices. This may sound like a good idea but it is not. It is never a good solution. Let me explain why.
Your connection to the internet thru the modem provided by the ISP is a device controlled by the ISP. They often reset the device remotely and make changes to the device remotely without telling you. At times, if your ISP’s network is messed up you may be forced to unplug the modem completely to power cycle the device. All these actions taken on the modem would disrupt your local network because resetting the modem will reset the whole thing which include the router part that maintains your local network traffic.
If you need to print a document, transfer files between your computer and your laptop, stream a video from your network hard drive but your all-in-one modem / router is down, you will not be able to do any one of these tasks.
To protect yourself from your ISP, having your own router will take care of this issue. Nowadays, it is not difficult anymore to maintain your own router. You can find online instructions everywhere on how to put your ISP’s modem into bridge mode and disable the gateway/router function. It is something that can be done in minutes.
As a bonus, when you decide to switch ISP or that you are forced to replace the internet modem, your network configuration stays with your own router and you no longer need to reconfigure everything from scratch.
Sounds good? The next step is to figure out what kind of router you are going to get.
Dual Internet Services
To be able to access to the internet when your ISP fails, one solution is to have a backup internet service.
I am not talking about having top of the line combinations of fibre optic, DSL and cable internet services all the time. All you need is a reasonable secondary internet access that will allow you to carry out a few simple tasks like closing out your open positions and cancelling all the open orders. Thus the backup plan can be a cheap one.
If you like this idea of having dual internet connections, you are not alone. Many businesses depending on their internet connection are doing that now to ensure a better chance of non-stop internet access. What you need with dual internet connection is a dual wan router. As the name suggests, it has 2 separate ports supporting 2 internet connections at the same time while acting as a router for your local network.
Cell Network Backup
In some situations, one may not be able to get dual internet services setup due to the location. It may also be undesirable if you cannot get a good deal for the secondary internet connection. In this case, it is a good idea to invest in a good Android cell phone with a reasonable data plan.
Android cell phones have this useful ability to tether its internet access with your computer, making it possible to get your computer connected to the internet through its USB port. Thus, if you need just one computer at the time your internet connection is disrupted, you can plug your Android cell phone into your computer and enable tethering. This will allow your computer to go back online quickly.
When your need is beyond just a single computer connection, you may want to consider a router with USB tethering support. Some newer routers are capable of sharing the Android USB connection among your computers. This means your Android cell phone can be turned into a temporary internet modem for your whole network if you choose to.
It is difficult to shop for a router with USB tethering support because the manufacturers do not really put emphasis on the feature in general. From what I gather, Asus and D-Link both have a few models of routers that support USB tethering. Mofi Network is a small company that produces a Linux router in a box which support USB tethering too.
It is a good idea to have a plan for the emergency situations where losing your internet connection matters. It does not take much to prepare for the situation. All you need are the right equipment and services. When the unlucky situation strikes, the little extra effort you put in will pay off.