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Keeping Connected – The Ultimate Guide to Staying Up When the Phones Go Down

May 9, 2022 No Comments

Featured article by Emily Peyton

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Not too many years ago, it was believable that if your telephone company went down, you were fresh out of luck. No one could reach you, emergency or not.

It’s even worse when the electricity goes! Recently, because of thunderstorms or snowstorms, many people have discovered first-hand how helpless it feels to go without communication.

But now, there are many options available, in the way of cellphones and VoIP or internet phones. In this guide, we’re going to discuss all the ways you can stay connected and how to make a phone call from your computer, even if you have no power or internet in the house. 

Protecting Cell Phone Towers

Of course, cellular technology is one of the last resorts when disaster strikes. When electricity, cable, or broadband providers go down, a half-way charged cell phone or tablet battery can connect you to cellular internet, depending on the region and local cell coverage.

From there, you can use a name-brand messenger like Skype, Facebook, Google Voice, Facetime, OpenPhone, or another VoIP service.

Cell towers are far from indestructible. When severe weather strikes, cellphone towers can fall and networks shut down. But cellular companies are almost always prepared for disaster.

Major companies like AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, or T-Mobile send crews out immediately when they find out a network is down. They may need to install a portable satellite cell or, specifically, the Sun West’s Satellite Cell on Light Truck (SAT COLT).

Another tool is the flying drone called a COW, which provides aerial emergency cell coverage. Companies have even used blimps and boats to set up emergency cell centers. Read more about it from this article on CNET

Access All Your Business Extensions

Using cloud-based mobile apps, you can instantly get access to all of your separate accounts, such as email, SMS, voice mail, VoIP video or audio chat, and then log in to see all of your messages.

It’s important to get away from relying on dedicated phone hardware or one PC, and instead simply log into one singular account with your extensions attached.

For more on cloud computing in the modern age, check out our related article to see how it works. 

Surviving Without Cellular Saviors

So yeah, we’re thankful for what cellular companies do for us, and just in case you need to update that old iPhone 6, here’s an article on shopping for a new smartphone.

But it’s true – sometimes the unthinkable happens and you’re left without a mobile connection. What happens when cell towers are down?

WI-FI may not be available in your local neighborhood, but if you can drive a short distance to another city or county, you can be back online in just a few minutes. Using a phone, tablet or laptop with WI-FI enabled, you can use VoIP apps to make phone calls.

Restaurants like Starbucks, McDonalds offer free WI-FI, as does the local library. 

Get a Dedicated VoIP Provider

While most people would use Skype or Zoom by way of their WI-FI or cellular providers, not everyone thinks about getting a dedicated VoIP provider – that is, completely separate from your internet provider and cell provider.

You can either get a VoIP phone with service included or just pay for mobile VoIP. Some providers guarantee a 99.99% uptime – much higher than your local cable internet company, or so we’ve heard.

Learn more about how to make phone calls from a computer using VoIP technology.

Other Options

Even if worse comes to worst, you can rely on a landline phone – which still works in a power outage IF you have a corded phone, and not a phone hooked up to the electricity for emergency phone calls.

Satellite internet is also another technology to consider, though it’s a bit pricey. But it may work in situations where you have no other option. You are usually charged by minutes of internet usage.

Last and probably least, there’s still dial-up internet! Yes, shockingly, Netzero and Juno still exist, and they do offer old-fashioned dial-up internet for emergencies where all other hope is lost. Dial-up can still connect you in a hurry if all you have is a landline phone and a laptop with a modem port.

Sure, it’s inconvenient when your home internet connection goes kaput. But as we’ve seen, it’s no longer a disaster scenario – even when a real disaster is taking place! We’re always just a few minutes away from staying in touch and getting back online.

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