Travel tips for bad internet connections

I am travelling in Brazil now, in places with varying quality of internet connectivity. Here are some tips that may make life easier the next time it’s time to travel.

  1. Have as much as possible available in a terminal on a remote host with good internet. Accessing a remote host over SSH is both simple and secure, and when you end up places with poor internet, it will make certain tasks a lot faster.

    A shared benefit for all terminal processes over SSH is that you’re only transferring the text content visible on the screen at any given time.

  2. Have a terminal email client. Having to download all e-mails to my local device, both text and html bodies, before reading is not enjoyable to sit around waiting for. When packets get lost in transit, some downloads and slow connection handshakes fail. Having this client on the remote host with shell access will be ideal.

  3. Have a local DNS caching server. Waiting for DNS lookups from a slow server is anoying. Set up a local server that at least caches queries, and possibly, also gives you stale requests when records are out of date to keep you from waiting unecessarily.

  4. Try to keep your stuff on TCP connections. In UDP, the emitting party doesn’t care if the data reaches the destination or not. This is a problem when sitting on poor connections, especially WiFi connections, where packets disappear in transit all the time. For example, if you can choose between using a VPN over UDP or TCP, go for TCP when packets get lost on reconnects occur frequently.

  5. Download all your movies and music to local drive before you leave the house.

  6. Be happy. Everything is going to be alright.

If you have any comments or feedback, please send me an e-mail. (stig at stigok dotcom)