OFF GRID Internet: How to get Internet Access when living off the grid

Going off grid doesn’t mean you have to cut all ties to civilization. In fact, thanks to modern technology you can still live your off the grid dreams, while still staying connected to the rest of the world.

One of the questions that I receive most from people looking to go off-the-grid is how they can access the internet when living in remote areas of the country. This is especially important for those of us that rely on the internet for our jobs.


Smartphone with Internet Access

Simple Cell Phone Connections

There are plenty of rural off the grid locations that still have accessible cell towers within reach of the land. If you live within range of one of these towers, you can use a data-capable cell phone to stay connected and surf the web. While these connections are usually pretty slow, they are one of the cheapest options on the market, and can be a good option for those that are not going to require a lot of bandwidth.


  • One of the cheapest options for Off-Grid Internet Access.
  • Gives you the ability to make phone calls and have a dedicated phone number.
  • Completely mobile and can be taken with you anywhere in the world.
  • Depending on the phone, you may have the ability to use the phone as a WIFI enabled hotspot or tether for your other electronic devices.


  • Some of the slowest connection speeds out there.
  • Not practical for watching videos or downloading large files.
  • Small screen size.

WiFi antenna

Wireless Internet Access: Your own Hotspot

Depending on how remote you live, using a wireless provider for internet access can help keep you connected 24/7. Most Cell Phone companies and even some newer specialized companies offer wireless Internet services designed specifically for laptops and tablets.

If you have line of sight to a mobile broadband repeater, there are a number of 3G and 4G hotspot devices on the market, including devices like the Clear Spot Voyager Wireless Hotspot and the T-Mobile Sonic 2.0 4G Mobile Hotspot. Combined with an external WiFi Antenna and signal amplifier to increase your range, this may be a great option for those who are close enough to pull in the WiFi signal.

As time goes on this may be one of the most reliable options for those that need to stay connected.

For all the DIY folks out there, here is a cool old video that shows you how to build your own homemade WiFi Signal Amplifying antenna (sometimes called a Cantenna)


  • Quickly and easily connect multiple devices.
  • Faster connection speed than most cell phone plans.
  • Usually cheaper than satellite and lower hardware costs.


  • More expensive than cellular and extra hardware costs.
  • Above ground installation may be required if you need external antennas to pull in a signal.

Satellite Internet

Satellite Internet

For travelers and people who have decided to live in remote areas of the world, satellite internet is now a real possibility. Companies like HughesNet and WildBlue now provide fast, affordable service to almost anywhere in the country.

One thing to keep in mind for those who are closely watching their power consumption is these satellite modems need to be completely shut off or they will continue to pull 20 – 30 watts at all times.

RV Satellite Systems Since some people like to go mobile, moving from place to place in an RV or trailer, I wanted to briefly touch on RV Satellite systems. There are a number of companies that offer satellite service for Full-time RVers, but the setup on these units is usually pretty expensive. For a good Roof-Mounted system, something that will automatically lock onto the satellite signal no matter where you park, expect to pay at least a couple thousand dollars in hardware and setup costs. On the plus side, you will have internet access in even the most remote boondocking areas of the country.


  • The biggest advantage to using satellite internet is that you can get internet access in areas that even cell towers can’t touch.
  • Fast download speeds.
  • A number of companies will bundle satellite television services into your monthly bill.


  • Depending on the company, you may see a decrease in download speed during peak hours.
  • Depending on the service, there may be higher hardware costs.
  • Weather can impact your signal. You need a clear view of the sky to hit the satellite.
  • Latency issues when streaming or using services like Skype.

Internet Connected Via Ham Radio

Internet via Ham Radio

Although not really practical for large downloads or streaming large files, it is possible to build a repeater network that allows you to access the internet through a ham radio. In fact, during emergency situations ham radios can be used quite successfully to send email, data, and documents when all other forms of communication have gone down.

Even before the internet, Ham radio operators were using an internet of their own called Packet Radio. Packet Radio allows Hams to send files, update bulletin board systems, send text messages and even control remote systems and networks via their radios. Should some catastrophic event ever occur that takes out the internet, Packet Radio technology can still be used to link remote stations and form an ad hoc network — or emergency internet of sorts.

Today, through worldwide radio messaging systems like DStar and Winlink, Ham radio operators can send email with attachments, send emergency relief communications and message relays, and even access the internet. Although the legality of using it to access certain parts of the internet is still in question, and one would not want to transmit personal data or passwords via these technologies, it is a viable option for accessing the internet during emergency situations.

Here is a good video from Amateur Radio Operator Chris Matthieu showing that it is possible to access the internet with a Ham Radio.

Shirts of Liberty

OFFGRID Survival book



  1. Hughesnet AGGGGG
    I had it for 3 years (WORSE MISTAKE) I ever made,,,horrible service, people can’t speak English, they charge a fortune to keep it working.
    never again.

  2. Please stop and do some research before recommending a company like Hughesnet, easily the worst company I have ever dealt with. The number of complaints about their company is truly mind-boggling, yet they manage to still be in business. Hughes installed our service two years ago, and after the installer got us to sign the papers, then told us our bandwidth limitations were split into time brackets, we had a dish installed that pointed at the back of our house, incapable of providing speeds at ANY time over 3mbps, and no service at all between 5pm and 1am.

    • They are terrible!!! I could not get it to work unless I was up at 2AM and then it was slow and unreliable still! I changed my address 5+ times and they still got it wrong and sent a tech 2 hours in the wrong direction so my stuff never got fixed. Cancelled them and ate the early termination fee. That was 5 months ago…and then they took out more money which my bank is working with me to get back thank goodness! Over 300 dollars! Terrible company with no scruples what so ever!

  3. I agree with the above comments. I have had Hughes & Exede both are very expensive & when you reach your limit the speeds drop to nothing. I have a wireless service now here in central Texas called AMA-TECTEL. Bundled with phone service they are really cheap with excellent service. Their service people online or by phone all speak English without a damn accent.

  4. Stay FAR FAR away from anything Hughes! I bought into their DirecPC service which was the first internet service they had and it was sold by CompUSA and within a couple of hours of having it installed hit their “FAP” (fair access policy) which at the time was not made known to the subscriber until after they hit the limit. Thankfully I got it from CompUSA and had 7 days to return it. I pulled the thing off my roof and returned it and NEVER have done business with anything having to do with hughes network systems again… In fact I won’t even get Direct TV because it’s a hughes product. And by the way that is how they stay in business because they have a lot of TV subscribers.

  5. Oh and one other thing – Hughes was sued over the “FAP” in a massive class action suit for false advertising. Did it get them to change their ways? No… they just now disclose that the service is subject to the Fair Access Policy. I think that they HAVE to do this because their system is over-subscribed. Not enough bandwidth to cover all the customers on it.

  6. Unfortunately this is the way it is. Liberal undeducated idiots wasting our time after being handed a forum they know nothing about. Everything written that I do know about is completely wrong so I have to doubt about all the rest. I subscribed to Hughes Net years ago when my 24k Verizon service was no longer keeping up with the poor coding skills of city bred kids. After my contract with Hughes expired, I was ready to go back to Verizon to give you just an Inkling of how bad Hughes is. Unfortunately under Brown and Obama, Verizon allowed it’s service quality to drop below 300 Baud, what I was getting back in 1970 but below what my hardware could currently connect with…-300 Baud??? Yet Hughes Net is often below the 40k I used to get on dial-up. Better coders wrote cover pages that would down load fast for surfer to entice them in, Not anymore. Today’s coders cram as much bandload as they can into the web page cover. When I first signed up with Hughes Net, there was no FAP and I was sold a 1.5Mbps service (worse than 3rd world countries and twenty times more costly.) It was only 1.2 Mbps but so much better than 24k that I was happy until the three month trial period was over.Very next day it permanently dropped below 250k and even without FAP, often under 1200k, what I was using by 1980. I called to complain many times but oneday while I was on the phone the assistant clicked a few keys and it jumped to my original 1.2Mbps, unfortunately only for a couple of days. In California Hughes lost a class action lawsuit. The crony judge awarded $1.34 to customers that had been robbed every month for a minimum of 3yrs. That the loon that wrote this thinks we get high speed and large downloads when streaming is impossible and data limited to less than 150HD frames a day shows they are out of touch beyond the pale. FAP was Obama’s pet, Vote Trump…

    • I find people who believe “their team” is honest and doing the right thing while “the other team” is corrupt and ruining America to be quite hilarious. That is a trap cleverly set for you my friend. Liberals and Conservatives have each been handed a prepackaged ideology with a perfect diametrically opposed foe. You have been hoodwinked. All politicians are scum and criminals. The thing you believe is a government is nothing more than theatrical presentation designed to convince the unsophisticated masses that they have an elected government and that voting actually does something more than grant you the illusion of power. Be your own man. Be who you are. Not some cookie cutter “choice of one or the other” ideology. Bush is a criminal.Clinton is a criminal. Reagan was a criminal. Obama is a criminal. And sadly Trump is as well. Do you really believe that anyone who has risen to become the ultimate master of a system based on pure corruption would ever do anything to jeopardize their power, wealth, and prestige? No. They would not. They are all masters of the system that abuses us and lines their pockets with gold. Wake up. Liberals are not the enemy. Conservatives are not the enemy. The criminals who wear both of those hats who run our corrupt system of “government” which is really nothing more than a corporation designed to maximize the extraction of the wealth of the people generated by our own labor, those people are the enemies. Regardless of which fake ideology they claim to adhere to. The two opposing ideologies are nothing more than an act, a ritual competition for the gullible masses to consume. Their true ideology is lust for power and theft from you and I. Wake up. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by the fake contest between the left an the right. They are running a scam on you.

      • This started out being a search for the best Off the Grid method canto access internet and now it is turned into a waste of time by hearing people’s political views and opinions, what a joke.

        • Griz – did you find anything substantive about off grid internet access in your searches? I clearly landed here, too and only because i’m trying to get info. i don’t give a sh*t about any of the other stuff.

      • Jon, perfect example of a “false equivalence” here. The fact that you think all are equivalently wrong is proof that you are wrong. No concept or understanding of satellite reception is all wrong. Some corporations are more wrong and lie more than others. Thus, we have the some are more guilty then others concept. It’s real easy to blame everyone and look at all the comments who agree with you so easily because they haven’t taken the time to distinguish or study the pluses and minuses of your blanket generalization that “it’s all bad.” What too easy folks. Get with it!!!!!!!!!!!!1

      • A man on fire! Well said, bro! I’m not based in the US but its the same wherever you are! Same shit, different tax farm plantation!!!

      • I agree with you 100%. But even though there are many folks that feel the same as you do, what can we do about it? how do we handle such corruption on a congressional level when we’ve got tyranny running rampant locally? I’m from Texas originally but I live in Mississippi now and I have never in my life seems touch abuse and misuse of power and position as the law enforcement here in Mississippi! so once again I ask even though what’s going on what can we do about it?

      • Omgosh,an awakened individual,how very refreshing my new best friend,in this sea of fools and sheeple…

      • Watch the video .. the secret of secret societies by Dr. Walter veith if you actually want to understand to an even clearer view than you have. What you are speaking of is called the Helgelian dialectic principle being used on us. Then. Go watch Jon Phelps on YouTube also. On the video … The Vatican assassin’s. I think you will like and learn at the same time. The two sides you speak of being the same is referred to as thesis and antithesis. Meant to change the thinking of the masses into one, and to divide the others that won’t unify.

      • Jon’s above comments, though written more than 3 years ago, withstand the test of time and prove to be more accurate, succinct, and poignant today!

      • Amen! Tho I will vote Trump to keep Biden our, just like I did to keep Hillary our… there are some ideologies with worse consequences than others, no matter which crook is at the helm. And I have to say, I’ve disliked Trump less and less during this so-called “pandemic”.

      • That’s why I think we needed Trump in. He is not a crooked politician like all the rest. He will bring out the crooks and put an end to the B.S. (Hopefully).
        He’s already started. As far as making the wall a internet antenna, good idea for free tv, internet and cell service for all.
        Well said Jon and good thought Casey

        • after your post in feb of 2017, 80 percent of the people I know that was for the OTHER side have now switched to TRUMP, The threats and violence coming from the demwits have shown their true selves, I just want to know what they put into the koolaide that brain washed so many US people, I could use some to get my way more often

          • Yes, I voted for Trump somewhat unwillingly the first time, and have become much more amenable to him during his term. But many of my intelligent friends who were more “left” than I was will definitely be voting Trump this time. Not only are the leftist politicians WAY more likely to engage in the tyranny of the past 6-8 months, even if one is still an ideological leftist—look at what they’re offering as a Trump alternative. Biden? Lmfao you’ve gotta be kidding me! What a joke! Except it’s not funny, we are as close to being taken over by the CCP as we ever have been. Not to mention globalist policies funded by a morally bankrupt megalomaniac.

        • Except Trump is a businessman and only cared about making himself richer. Sad.

          At least Obama’s FCC tried to block ISPs from being able to screw over their customers. But now we have to deal with that.

          • I used to be in modeling school, at a young age, k,7 in Vancouver, sopposed to something along thr lines of sex with trump that was in the eighties ahhh man.

    • “uneducated liberals” <- How to spot a fucking retard people, here is one. Gather around and look at it, isn't it stupid? Yes, it really is. Pathetic, hahaha.

    • You realize when you lace your comments with political tripe you lose all credibility on a technology topic, right?

      All you do is document that you are an ageist, redneck, mouth breather.

    • How on earth does Hughes net have anything to do with politics. Its ignorant redneck right wing assholes like yourself that is a plague on technology. Get a life and vote Biden if you want this country to survive the upcoming HARD YEARS!!!

  7. okay than,going way off grid next year,north central maine,zero internet or cell service,really lookingfor a real option,sugjestions welcome,but really need working real options,thanx,

    • Michael Gilligan,
      Have you had any luck finding a company? If yes, could you please pass information along my way?
      Thanks bunches!

    • I’ve used Exede it’s not dirt cheap and I’ve read several complaints but worked great for us. Without cellular coverage satellite will be your best bet as far as availability. Otherwise you are likely to have to construct some infrastructure yourself.

  8. For many years i thought satellite was all i could get, But my neighbor recently informed me About they have great deals for unlimited LTE Data. $35.00 for unlimited data is unbeatable. I’m just here to help people save money.

    • Thanks Randy. There seems to be so many options, and the cost is high for many of the options I have been finding.

  9. You can assess the internet via HAM radio linking with a satellite that EMS uses right now. Hook up with a good HAM club in your area and learn how to do it. If you wish to be discrete just find one of the HAM crowd who knows the how2 and make a friend. It works!

    • Why bother linking to a satellite when so many terrestrial ham options are available? I routinely surf the web from the edges of the known world and have no real issues. Patience is required due to the speeds, but its free and the connection can be secured with just a little effort. 73…

      • Jeff, it says in the article above that this isn’t really a secure option e.g., you cant enter in passwords etc. I even use a password for my email program, let alone checking bank account, credit card statements etc. What on the internet doesn’t require a password anyway? I guess just some random googling. I need secure internet but was hoping I could do that with ham radio since my bf is such a big enthusiast that we have radios all over the house and towers all over our property. If you know a way, I’d like to know. Thnx.

  10. Based on the answers to this webpage post… Seems like the person who made it OBVIOUSLY hasnt kept up with the news and the times. … With that in mind, my inquiry is simple. Is it possible to receive an internet signal, or EVEN PICK UP an internet signal/ have internet with: an ordinary indoor tv antenna, hooked up to a cable, or whatever modem, which is hooked up to a DESKTOP/ LAPTOP COMPUTER? please someone answer back, as it seems alot of the internet pages/posts are just complete bulls*** (btw, without subscription to a B/S PROVIDER?)

  11. Hey all, came across this post by accident but felt like clearing the air. Lots of miscommunication here! Don’t believe all you hear regarding hughesnet and exede. I have built a very strong and thriving company on Hughes and exede. Is some of what you all day is true, absolutely is a lot of this fabrication, absolutely! When properly sold, via an independent and reputable dealer( yes we have scumbags in our industry just like all others) these services are some of the very best in rural and off grid situations. New plans and data are always coming out as these two companies compete. You can get into these set ups for as little as $49/Mo and no installation charge. Yes it requires a two year contract but that’s why the equipment and install are free.. Competition is a spectacular thing. Am I biased, you bet; do I sell these products of course.. Do they work well when customers understand what to expect.. you betcha!

    Now to address the misinformation, which is not an attack, mind you. My guess is that you heard this from an installer or friend who knew everything, right? Well they don’t. Direct has never been owned by hughesnet or vice versa. Hughes owned shares of DirecTV stock and they partnered to offer direcPC. But boy has this come a loooooong way. I have many satisfied customers getting 25mbps download speeds or better on both services. And with new advances in technology they can still stream movies, with reduced speeds in some situations. That being said most of my customers refer friends and family to us because we sell it right.. So find someone reputable you can count on! Enough of the plug, I felt the need to express my two cents.. thank you for listening.


    • Hughes was used at a previous place of employment in a rural area. The only time we had issues was in the event of an ice storm. Now, I am searching for personal use so I can work from home. Internet is something that is a necessity. I do not feed into rants, I just want to know the options that are available.

  12. Hello all. Thank you very much for your comments. In general terms, what are the best services available to get internet in rural zones? Perhaps one of you have experience using this services in other countries? I’m from Honduras and I’m looking to implement a forest monitoring platform that requires internet access and Satellite internet sounds a good option compared with the fact of create an entire network in a remote place to provide internet to our monitoring modules.
    Will be highly appreciated if you can recommend a good provider.

  13. Hughes Net / Via Sat and Wild Blue are all rip off’s ….. Incredible that these people are not yet in prison. The real reason they are not is that ViaSat is the primary service provider to the military and all others come last … dead last. If you can avoid these services you will be money ahead and leave frustration behind. My daughter moved out of our house just so she could get internet service. Terrible

  14. I’d love to live off grid, but I currently work from home and satellite internet is prohibited with the company. Looks like I’m stuck ’til retirement :(

  15. Sooooooooo…….is everybody trying to say HughesNet is not that good? Tell me how you really feel people? Hmmmm?

  16. If you’re coming to an article about off-grid survival to talk about politics, I need you to please try and rip your head out of your ass for a second. The author of the article mentioned one bad ISP and somehow it devolved into talking about the horrible state of American politics. If you learn to calm down and quit thinking you know everything it will do wonders for your health. Stop watching the news and reading political articles all the time. Go outside. Get a hobby. Do something that makes you and others happy. :)

  17. 12/30/2020
    Greetings everyone,
    It looks like this article was written over 5 years ago. Is anyone aware of any other more recent articles on this subject, perhaps incorporating newer technology?
    Ken C.

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