Prior to coming to the boat, one of the big unknowns for us was how much data we’d use on our mobile plan.
The boatyard doesn’t have wifi, so anytime we’re online, we’re using our Verizon data. I have a Windows tablet with a full desktop and Dave has an Android tablet, plus we have a smartphone.
Our data is shared and we can increase or decrease it as often as we want (backdating to the beginning of the billing period). But we had no clue for budgeting purposes if we’d use 5 gig or 25 gig a month.
Assuming others are in the same position, I thought I’d share our usage and ask others to do the same.
In our first full month, we’ve used almost exactly 9 gig. A little background on our usage:
- We’re using this as our full-time internet connection. Maybe a few minutes of free wifi at a McDonald’s, but not even much of that.
- We’ve turned off all the auto updating for apps and programs, with the exception of our antivirus/internet security programs. NOTE: It took probably half the month to find all the settings to stop the automatic updates. On none of our devices is there one single place to turn them all off.
- Photos only get saved locally, no cloud storage. Most photo editing is local; occasionally I use PicMonkey.
- I write posts for The Boat Galley offline using Windows Live Writer, then upload them and tweak the final settings online.
- We don’t watch movies online (or download them), but we have watched some YouTube video related to work we were doing on the boat and Dave occasionally watches sports highlights videos for the teams he follows.
- We’re both on Facebook, but have it set to NOT autoplay video.
- We also both read USA Today online, and Dave follows his St. Louis sports teams via their web sites and the St. Louis newspaper.
- Yes, because of The Boat Galley, I use more data than I would otherwise – writing posts, uploading photos, replying to comments, answering emails and so on. But TBG is not the data hog you might think.
- The big use of our data? Getting technical help and buying stuff. Google searches and reading through a maze of material related to the work we’re doing on the boat. Then finding materials we need and price comparing. Since some of the information is in videos, and we end up watching several videos before finding one that really shows what we need, this can eat data. I’d guess that “tech support” and “researching boat issues” accounts for half our data usage. Hopefully, in a few months this will go down.
Another note: so far, for us, it’s working to just use our smartphone as a wifi hotspot. We had thought we’d need to get a separate hotspot device and so far are doing fine without it. We have a wireless printer, and I have no problems connecting to it over the hotspot network on the phone.
I don’t begrudge our data usage – it’s our only “entertainment” here in the boatyard as well as our information source. Sure, I wish there was free wifi here – but my experience with wifi in marinas tells me that usually there just isn’t sufficient bandwidth for the number of people trying to use it. So I don’t know if our usage will go down over time or if it will fluctuate as we’re in various locations and doing different things.
So how much data do you use? Is it your only internet or do you also get wifi? Or spend part of your time at a land-based home with internet there? What types of things do you do online?