Get Your Tiny Home Connected: How to Get Internet

Get Your Tiny Home Connected: How to Get Internet

All About Tiny Houses is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

get your tiny home connected surfing the web

The tiny home movement is a practical campaign that inspires people to live a more affordable and sustainable living. While many have already joined the movement, a lot of people are still skeptical about the tiny house lifestyle because of the challenges it imposes. 

One of the concerns of tiny house aspirants is how to get fast and reliable internet service to their tiny home. 

This article will go through the ins and outs of how to get your tiny home connected. 

Get Your Tiny Home Connected

Sure, when your tiny home is near or within the grid, connecting to the internet is easy as pie. It’s even easier for tiny homes that are affixed in a permanent property and is on the grid. 

If you live in the city, you have a lot of internet options to choose from. However, the farther you are from the city, and the closer you are to living off-the-grid, the more difficult it is to get connected. 

And chances are, once you connect to the internet, the experience would not be as smooth as it would be in a regular home within the city. 

If you live in someone’s backyard, then the easiest option would be to share their service — only, of course, if they agree to it. More on this will be discussed later. 

How to Get Internet Connection for Your Tiny Home

The good news is that you can still connect to the internet even if you’re living off-grid. There are a few internet options you can pick, but take note that each has its pros and cons. 

Wired Cable Internet

If you live within a city or other developed residential areas, you can connect to the internet via a traditional cable hook-up (or DSL). It is the easiest and most affordable solution to get connected. 

wired connection tiny house

Wired internet connection has some advantages over WiFi. There’s no denying that WiFi has gotten so much faster over the last few years. And besides, WiFi helps us handle most of our everyday tasks. 

Wired connection is way slower than WiFi, but it excels in some ways. A DSL connection can transfer files faster between devices on your network compared to WiFi. This is because your internet connection won’t matter on this, but only the speeds your local network hardware can provide. 

Local speed is important in some aspects, including:

  • If you have devices streaming from a media server of your network, a wired connection will give you a great boost in terms of the quality of the stream.
  • Backups are way faster over a wired connection. This is helpful, especially if you have a lot of devices that back up to a backup server or shared hard drive. 

When it comes to the internet connection, it’s not only the speed that we should consider but also the latency. 

Latency is an important factor. In case you don’t know, latency pertains to the delay or the amount of time it takes to send traffic from one device to another. Latency, in speed tests, is referred to as ping rate and is usually measured in milliseconds (ms). 

Pros

  • Faster transfer speed
  • A good option for a home office
  • Connection speed is usually faster than wireless
  • Offers more security than wireless

Cons

  • Can be expensive and difficult to set up
  • Your location is limited as you need to connect to a cable or port
  • Sharing files can be less convenient as you must be cabled
  • Requires lots of cables and ports
  • Not convenient for public use

Wireless Internet

Wireless internet has become widely used all around the globe. It offers prestige convenience and fast connection, making daily internet tasks seamless. 

You can connect several devices to your wireless network without the need for cables and ports. You can connect your laptops, tablets, and smartphones to it with the freedom to move around freely while still maintaining a strong connection. 

Using your mobile phone to get a wireless connection is the most common option, especially if you have a good mobile data plan. This is called a hotspot. 

The only problem with using your phone to get a wireless connection is that you cannot simultaneously use it as a phone. But of course, in every problem, there’s a solution. You can use 4G LTE or data-only plans wireless routers to free up your phone for regular use. 

Pros

  • You can move around your tiny house while still connected to your wireless network. 
  • The wireless network does not require cables 
  • Several devices can connect to your wireless internet connection
  • You can use phones as a mobile hotspot, saving you money
  • Most establishments (like cafes and restaurants) offer free wireless connection
  • You can transfer files to other devices connected to the wireless network without the need for cables

Cons

  • Transferring files is usually slower than a wired connection
  • You may experience slow connection if there are too many devices connected to the network
  • Wireless connection has higher latency. 
  • Items in your tiny house may block the signal and cause lowered speeds
  • Interference from other electrical devices can also slow down your internet speed
  • The wireless connection usually loses signal. When streaming, dropped signals may cause your media to buffer. 
  • In mobile hotspots, the strength of your wireless connection depends on your location. If you’re in a secluded area, getting a signal may be hard. 
  • Using your phone as a hotspot means you cannot use your phone simultaneously. 
  • A wireless connection is less secured. Hackers may access your information and bandwidth. 

There are things you can do to reduce interference and enjoy seamless browsing. 

Wireless connection works like magic, but it is not. It’s basically radio waves. And there’s a lot of factors that can interfere with radio waves, which causes your wireless connection to become slow, weak, and unreliable. 

The common cause of interference is to remove obstructions around your router. Here are the things you can do:

  • Put your router in the middle of your house. 
  • Position the antenna of your router vertically. 
  • Place your router in an elevated area. You’ll get a better reception if the router is on your table, not on the floor. 
  • Household appliances like cordless phones and microwave ovens can cause interference. Do not place your router near household devices that may interfere with your signal.

Satellite Internet

Satellite internet is probably one of the best internet options. As the name implies, your connection will come directly from a satellite up above the skies, which means no problems here on Earth can affect your connection. 

get your tiny home connected satellite internet

Also, what’s best about satellite internet is that you can still get reliable internet connection no matter where you are — be in on top or bottom of a mountain. The only downside is that you won’t get internet connection if the signal is blocked, say if you’re underground. 

Satellite connection is perfect for tiny housers who want to put down roots in a secluded area or a place far from the grid. 

However, compared to wireless and cabled connections, the speed of a satellite connection is still far worse. Satellite connections may not be the best option for modern-day users. The slow bandwidth is not suitable for streaming videos or even for playing online games. 

Many companies offer satellite internet. The plans are usually tiered like mobile data plans, but cheaper. 

Pros

  • Satellite internet is available in most areas, especially in places that cable and wireless connection cannot reach. 
  • The prices are more affordable.
  • If you use satellite connection in a basement, you may experience dropped signals or slow bandwidth.
  • A satellite connection can accommodate several devices, so everyone in the household can connect to the internet all at the same time. 
  • It is easy to use. Your service provider will set up your account and install a receiver outside your tiny house. Once finished, you’re ready to go. 
  • Satellite internet does not require additional equipment. 

Cons

  • The Fair Access Policy (FAP) limits the speed of a user’s daily internet use. That means during peak hours of use, you will experience a slower connection that it would be if you’re using DSL or cable connection. 
  • The weather can cause your network to slow down. Rain, snow, clouds, and even high winds can contribute to lost data signals, which causes an interruption in your connection. 
  • The strength of your internet connection will depend on the placement of the receiver. There must be no trees blocking the receiver. 
  • Rain can cause interference referred to as rain fade. This can lead to slower download and upload speeds and intermittent connections. 
  • Acquiring satellite internet can be expensive. The installation can also add to the total cost, unless if it’s provided by the service provider.

Connect to a Neighbor or Host

Sharing internet connection with your relative, friend, or landlord who lives near you may be the easiest solution to stay connected. 

This is the best option if you live in their backyard. Connecting to your neighbor’s wireless connection is a good option, but because of the distance, you may get a slower connection.

The best and most reliable method would be to string an ethernet cable from their house to your tiny home. With that cable, you can set up your wireless router for your house. 

Using this method, you do not have to piggyback to the main router since you already have a direct cable to your home. You also don’t have to worry about the signal strength. As long as the modem in the main house is functioning, then you’re good to go. 

Of course, this option is only viable if your neighbor agrees to this kind of set up as this would affect their internet usage. 

A few reasons why your neighbor might not agree to this set up are:

  • Sharing their internet connection means sharing the bandwidth. The more devices connected to the network, the slower the connection and the higher latency there will be. 
  • Whatever the reason they have an internet connection — be it for business, work, or entertainment purposes — they do not want irritating internet interruptions, which will likely happen if there are too many devices connected to the network. 

Pros

  • Connecting to a neighbor’s internet network means you do not have to subscribe to a new service. 
  • You’ll be able to save money by sharing an existing connection. 
  • It is the cheapest and easiest solution to get your tiny home connected. 
  • You can connect to their internet connection wirelessly.

Cons

  • If the wireless connection is slow, you may need to use a cable to connect to their network. This requires an additional cost and setting up. 
  • You will have to rely on your “host” keeping their router working. 
  • If a problem occurs, you will have to rely on your host to get the problem fixed. 
  • If the host has already a lot of users in their household, then you may only be getting a slow bandwidth, which can affect your overall surfing experience. 
  •  This may not be the best option if you need an internet connection for work or business as interruptions and speed are not reliable.

How Much Data Do You Need?

Internet providers usually offer network connections in a tiered plan. So before getting an internet connection, it helps if you determine how much data you will actually need. 

netflix data usage

Here are some ideas to help you determine your data usage:

  • One gig of data lets you send 100,000 emails without attachments.
  • One gig of data lets you stream music for 10 hours. 
  • You can watch a lot of YouTube videos, but the number depends on the quality of the videos. 
    • 6 hours of 240p videos;
    • 4 hours of 360p videos;
    • 2 hours of 480p videos;
    • 1 hour of 720p videos; and
    • 30 minutes of 1080p videos
  • In one gig of data, you can stream on Netflix or Hulu for several hours, again, depending on the quality of the movies. 
    • 3 hours of movie per gig on low quality
    • 2 hours of movie per gig on medium quality
    • 30 to 45 minutes of movie per gig on high quality

As you can see, streaming videos uses a lot of data. You can cut your bill down pretty big if you can control that. To save data, you can turn off the autoplay feature of your browser or social media apps like Facebook.

And if you’re going to watch videos, you can reduce your data usage if you watch them on low quality. 

Do You Really Need an Internet Connection?

The internet has made several tasks easy and convenient. 

Thanks to the internet, you can now easily connect with your loved ones who live far away, shop without leaving your home, watch countless movies and TV series, work remotely, or manage your business in the comfort of your home.

surfing internet

Could we live without the internet? We guess not. The majority of people and businesses use the internet to perform everyday tasks. 

To have an internet connection or not is entirely your choice. Maybe you need it for your business or work, or maybe you just want it for entertainment or to stay connected with everyone else. Or maybe you don’t see it as a necessity or want to avoid the internet of things. 

An internet connection is not obligatory, but it sure is a nice thing to have. 

Conclusion

There are lots of ways to get your tiny home connected to the internet regardless if you live on or off the grid. 

Each option has advantages over the other. 

Cabled connection offers a more secure internet experience and faster file transfer between the devices connected to the network. Wireless connection, on the other hand, offers mobility and wider accessibility. 

Satellite internet gets your tiny home connected regardless if you’re in a secluded place. And if none of these options fit the bill, you can ask your neighbor if you can connect to their internet. 

Related Questions

What is the fastest satellite internet? 

The speed of your internet connection depends on your area. In some places, Viasat offers speeds up to 12 Mbps, and HughesNet, another satellite internet provider, delivers speeds up to 25 Mbps. 

How can I access free internet?

You can ask your neighbor if you can connect to their network. But if that’s not an option, you can go to cafes and restaurants that offer free WiFi connection (usually only for customers, though). 

Most public libraries offer free internet access. 

All About Tiny Houses is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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