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Intermittent internet access

It is common for nomads to have only ocassional access to the internet. One way to deal with this challenge is to remember how things were done on dial-up internet in the 1990s.

be ready

The main thing is to be ready when the internet access is available.

  • Have your offline email ready to go.
  • Update your devices/computers/apps.
  • Pull down offline content.
  • upload pics and videos
  • check in on forums, subreddits, youtube channels, blogs
  • etc


The techniques for minimizing email bandwidth also pay off here. Use a POP3 mail client like Outlook or Thunderbird to compose, read, and reply offline. When you get a window for internet access force a Send/Receive.

Gmail also has an extension called Gmail Offline which sends/receives when the connection is available. This method does not save as much bandwidth as the POP3 methods can but may be easier to set up. Note: you must be connected to the net the first time you run Gmail Offline so it can set itself up.

Phone email apps also tend to respond well to intermittent connections.

web browsing

The impact of the outage will fall mainly on web browsing, since that is a real time, interactive activity. It is also the area where we have the fewest tools to deal with it.

save pages for later reading

  • your browser will allow you to save (non-interactive) pages to your device for later reading.
    • in chrome/chromium right-click the page and choose Save As.
    • in firefox right-click the page and choose Save Page As.
  • send pages to your kindle – there are plugins for your browser that will send a cleanly formatted copy of the webpage to your kindle. Of course your kindle will have to connected at the same time so it can receive the file. So bring your reader into that starbucks! :-)
  • if you don't have a kindle you can save pages to Pocket or similar offline readers.

download YouTube videos

Download YouTube videos with a freeware youtube-dl. You can specify the quality (and therefore filesize). Be nice to your wifi host and don’t download 1080p versions if you don’t need that resolution. YouTube also has a service called Red that will allow you to d/l videos if you have a subscription.


Mosh works well over high-latency and internet connections. Since it is UDP-based it cannot provide tunneling.

If you require tunnelling, autossh can reconnect when connection is broken.

communication/intermittent.txt · Last modified: 2020/10/11 19:48 (external edit)