We Use How Much Bandwidth?!
When we first started talking about the possibility of living and working from an RV one of the first questions that came up was Internet. Both our jobs require that we be connected to the web during specific working hours — Making coverage and bandwidth costs the most critical hurdle. With the help of the Technomadia apps and camping review sites, we knew where we had coverage. Great! So how much bandwidth did we use anyway? The first week we ran monitors on our computers was shocking. Greg was running under 1GB a day. I however averaged 7GB.
Between work, personal use for surfing and Netflix, we were averaging 500-750GB a month. That is a lot of bandwidth. 5-10 person offices don’t use that much. We needed to find the bandwidth hog.
I run off an iMac for work with a Voip phone. We ran LittleSnitch on my mac and it turns out it was 2 programs: Skype which I use for Instant Message with colleagues and 2011 Outlook for Mac. In fact, Outlook partnered with an Exchange server at my corporate office was using almost 5 GB per day. The solution was to eliminate Skype and I switched from Outlook to OWA — which I’m still sad about. With these changes however we got my bandwidth down to 1.5GB per day. Between the two of us we’re now averaging 50GB/month.
I called Verizon who quoted $490/month for 60GB. It was doable but expensive. Since our jobs require internet we need redundancy, meaning we need to have data plans for the three major carriers so we could switch based on coverage. We had hoped to run all 3 for under $500/month.
But a hero came to our rescue.
Turns out my parents were sitting on 2 Verizon Grandfathered Unlimited data plans and willing to transfer 1 to us. We called and spoke with a supervisor in the Assumption of Liability line at Verizon in October and explained we needed to transfer the plan intact so we could go full time in an RV. She informed us that on Nov. 15th the Terms & Conditions were changing with the rate increase on Unlimited Data plans. You can now transfer an unlimited data plan without the previous requirements (Already having an unlimited plan or a corporate line). So now anyone can have a Grandfathered Unlimited plan transferred without risk of losing it. If you already have a line with Verizon you must create a “Sub Account” because if it’s added to your current account the Unlimited data is lost forever.
On Dec 7th we transferred the line easily and now have a Verizon Unlimited Data Plan for $49.99/month. Eventually we’ll add tethering and this will become our primary internet access. We already have an Unlimited Sprint plan and so will pick up an AT&T unlimited plan in the next 6 months to ensure coverage with the major carriers.