Emergency Wifi?

You’ve got that vital Zoom meeting and your usual broadband or wifi is playing up. Sometimes so bad that you can’t continue the meeting. What’s to do?

There’s a short term solution to this and it uses your phone. A technique called tethering. It works if you are using a tablet, laptop or wifi enabled desktop PC.

Here are instructions. These are for a Motorola G series Android but will give you the idea. With other platforms you may need to delve a bit for what you need.

Make sure your phone is charged up first.

  1. Go to Settings then the Wireless & Networks section.
  2. Choose More then Tethering & Mobile Hotspot.
  3. then Set Up Wifi Hotspot.
  4. You’ll be asked to enter Network name. You can use what is offered or choose your own. Like ‘Fred’ or somesuch.
  5. Enter a password. You can use the default one offered but it will be something like b0b5azaq44 which is impossible to remember. You may choose an alternative which is memorable to you but not guessable by anybody else.
  6. Accept default values for Security and Band and hit Save.
  7. Flip the Mobile Wi-Fi hotspot option to ON.

What has happened?

You’ve just created a Wifi Router.

On your laptop (or whatever) go to your wifi list, select the name you entered at 4 above and the password at 5.

You are now connected to mobile broadband via your phone!

It may not be as quick as your usual connection (though it might be) and I can’t guarantee that it will be more reliable (though in a good 3g/4g reception area it should be OK).

You’ll also accumulate data charges from your mobile provider if you exceed any free monthly allowance.

Good news is that you are back on the net and back into your meeting.

You can use your phone at the same time, by the way.

When you’ve finished….

Turn off the hotspot (see 7 above) to save on battery and also for security purposes.

Synology Drive

For those with a Synology NAS drive, such as the DS218, this is a way to access your files from anywhere.

Operating in a similar way to Google-Drive or OneDrive, the Synology-Drive app or program allows you to access your NAS files as if they were on your PC – wherever you happen to be. You just need an internet connection.

This means that you could create a file on the NAS and then read or modify it using your laptop, even if you are in a different building (or country). Once saved, then the updated file will find its way back to the NAS automatically.

Unless specified otherwise, the program will not download all of your NAS files to your device. This is good thing as the volume of NAS files tends to be more than a laptop can accommodate – and certainly more than a phone can manage!

The program uses the device’s conventional Explorer/Finder to show you files and folders mirroring those on the NAS.

Files are only downloaded when opened. A file may also be ‘pinned’ which means it will download without being opened.

Security/confidentiality can be an issue. The files will happily download to encrypted folders such as those maintained by the Windows native Bitlocker or 3rd party programs such as Descrypt. This means that should your laptop get stolen then the files will be unreadable.

CAVEAT

Downloading and syncing are only possibly while the NAS is connected to the internet. This will usually be the case. There is no cloud copy of the files as there is on, say, Onedrive.

When working directly on the NAS, then Office (for example) will lock any file which you have open and no two people can use it at the same time. This does not apply with files accessed via Synology-Drive and there is a danger of ending up with two versions of the same file. Obviously co-ordination with ones fellow team members is essential here.

The first time you open a file or pin it then this may take a little while. Not unreasonable as it needs to upload from the NAS to the cloud then down to the device. After that it will open right away. It is also possible to unpin a file: the local file is deleted but the name remains so that it can be repinned or (re)opened.

COST

There is no charge which is generous of Synology who must be dedicating a chunk of their network to servicing the Synology-Drive process.

EVALUATIONS

The process has been proven on the following platforms. Others will be tested in due course.

Android Phone or Tablet

Works fine but many file types will need a specific reader or app to be installed. Word/Excel files are good example.

Windows 10 Laptop or PC

Works well, no problems noted.

Netgear extender set up

  1. Plug the extender in near to the router and wait for it to go green. Yes, I do mean near at this time.
  2. Press the WPS button on the extender until the tell tale lights change or start blinking (2 seconds should suffice)
  3. Press the WPS button on your router until the tell tale lights change or start blinking (2 seconds should suffice)
  4. Wait until extender goes green
  5. Check available wifi stations, there should be a new one in the style of router_name_EXT. For example, if your router is called ‘sentinel’ then the extender will be named ‘sentinel_EXT’
  6. Relocate the extender to a power point somewhere between the router and the target computer (see below)
  7. Log in using the same passkey as the main router.
  8. See how it goes!

With regard to (6) above, there is no point in having the extender too near the router nor the target computer. A typical situation is connecting to a computer in an upstairs room. Experiment with the extender on the stairs, in a room above the router or next door to the router under the target computer.