At the end of my tether

Sam and I spent a week away in the Adventure Van at the beginning of October.  We had four lovely days in the Lake District and the rest of the time relaxing in Moffat, Scotland.  
 
This was a perfect opportunity to test out the newly installed virtual private network (VPN) using wi-fi provided on the caravan sites.
 
Turns out the VPN wasn’t an issue but the wi-fi was.  I didn’t manage to get connected on either site due to a poor signal.
 
I did have a giggle to myself when I tried logging on to the wi-fi in Scotland. A message popped up to tell me to move closer to the router.  Not that easy when we were snuggled down in the caravan on a wet autumn day, having been allocated a bay at the far end of the site.  I wasn’t going to sit outside the site reception in the rain on my laptop so I could be closer!
 
In the end I tethered my mobile to my laptop so it was still important to have the VPN installed to protect my data.   
 
Tethering is the term used for broadcasting your phone's mobile signal as a wi-fi network, then hooking a laptop or any other wi-fi-enabled device up to it to connect to the internet. It's sometimes referred to as a mobile hotspot, personal hotspot, portable hotspot or wi-fi hotspot.
 
Basically, I plugged my phone into my laptop using the phone’s USB cable, turned my phone’s personal hotspot on and chose it instead of wi-fi network I use at home.
 
Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite straight forward. 
 
I spent a frustrating three quarters of an hour trying to get my laptop to recognise my phone. When it did eventually, the laptop refused to connect to my mobile hotspot. 
 
In the end, I deleted my phone off the laptop and borrowed Sam’s iPhone cable.  When I reconnected, my phone hotspot appeared in the network list straight away and my laptop connected to my wi-fi without any problems. Worth noting that the USB cable might be the problem if you ever come across this yourself.  
 
Something else worth knowing is that if you do decide to use your mobile data instead of public wi-fi networks when you’re away, VPNS count towards your data cap, so keep an eye on just how much you’ve used.
 
Today’s Golden Nuggets

  1. Take a spare phone USB cable with you when you travel.
  2. Test out tethering between your phone and devices before you go away (unlike me!)
  3. Check out your mobile data allowance to ensure you’ll have enough if you plan to use it whilst you’re away.
  4. Ensure you have a VPN installed on all the devices you are going to use whilst you're away, including your mobile.
  5. VPNs count towards your data cap, so keep an eye on just how much you’ve used. If you travel a lot, choose a VPN that offers multiple protocols and different levels of encryption. Not only will this help to achieve a faster speed when needed but it allows you to save some additional megabytes, too, as encryption heavily impacts both these factors. 
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