Moving from job to job, you also move into different housing. Most of the time, internet access is included with your rental fee.
If it isn’t, or the connection isn’t fast enough, you’ll have to find service on your own.
Questions to Ask
For any Internet Service Provider (ISP),like dishNet, HughesNet, Verizon, and Comcast, there are a number of questions you want answered before signing up. These initial questions don’t change due to the transient nature of travel nursing, and make sense to ask every time you need to buy internet connection. These would include:
- Is there a data cap? If so, what happens when you go over it? This can be very important if you are thinking of using a cell phone provider. Some times, there are extra charges; in others, the download speed may be cut back impacting on streaming.
- What kind of download speeds are available? The answer to this depends on what you do. If you want to just surf the net, go on Facebook, and send emails, a low speed connection should be fine. If you stream video content, 10 Mbps is probably as slow as you want to go.
- How reliable is the connection? This may be a hard piece of information to come by. There are websites that discuss customer satisfaction, but these usually only give you information for the provider as a whole and little about your particular area.
- What contract lengths are available? Are there penalties for early termination?
- Is this an introductory offer and will rates then go up? This may not be a big concern unless you are staying longer than the offer.&
Local ISP Options
The first tip is to call the local cable provider. Most will require a yearly contract, which is unlikely to do you much good. Comcast is one national cable internet provider that offers monthly service.
Another option is to find a local ISP. There are a number of websites available to help you find these resources. Most will give you links to contact multiple companies. Carefully look them over making sure you have enough speed, to compare costs, and to see what extra costs may be included in the bill. These may include such things as a modem or Wi-Fi router that you will need.
Among the websites that can lead you to local options are:
- In My Area www.inmyarea.com/internet
- Broadband Now https://broadbandnow.com
- Providers by Zip https://internetprovidersbyzip.com
You should also ask your Internet provider at home if they service the new area. Sometimes they might be willing to piggyback a shorter-term contract on the one you currently have.
Some cable systems also maintain Wi-Fi hotspots through out United States. For example, Spectrum, Optimum, Cox, and Xfinity allow WI-FI access to their internet services outside your home area. They also share each other’s networks, offering around 500,000 hot spots nationwide. You just sign on as you would at your home. Available hotspots can be found at www.cablewifi.com.
These websites will give you a general idea of where the access points are located, but you will probably need to get to your new place and see what is actually in range of your computer or tablet before committing.
Options Using Cell Services
Cellular phone systems also provide internet access. Most smartphones have a setting for a personal hotspot creating a wireless signal to connect it to your computer or tablet.
Know that using your phone as a hotspot runs down the battery quickly, so it should be connected to a charger when possible. The phone itself will not be available to take calls when in use as an internet connection. Check in with your cell phone company to see how much data your plans have and what happens after it is used up. Also ask your provider if they allow this use in the first place, as some may not.
Another option is using a hotspot device. It works like your cellphone, except connecting to the internet is the only thing it does. The method of connection to your computer will depend on the requirements of the service provider, but you have the benefit of being able to use your cell phone separately from the hotspot device.
This has the major plus side of not tying up your phone, and won’t run down its battery. It can also follow you around as you move from one job to another. Usually these will require another contract and the purchase of the hotspot device. You will need a fast connection to the cellular network, so make sure you know how much high-speed data you have every month, and understand the extra costs or impacts on data speed if you go over.
Rural Services May Be Limited
For many rural areas, your options may be limited. If cable or landline service isn’t available, you may need to consider a satellite. Its usefulness for traveling nurses may be limited, but it is still an option to consider.
You will need a satellite dish to pick up the signal, and installation can be an added expense. Short contracts are not as prevalent. Connection consistency has improved overall, but there can still be disruptions from heavy storms or excessive cloud cover. Providers of satellite internet include HughesNet, DISH Network, and Wild Blue.