Earthships have gained popularity as an alternative and green housing option. Known to promote sustainable living for low environmental impact, Earthships are a great way to kickstart anyone’s dreams to live off the grid. However, as the modern world continues to revolve around technology and its advancements, it can be difficult to live in an Earthship and still function as what would be considered normal.
As such, many people who are considering living in Earthships may wonder if they can still have the basic living amenities like running electricity, water, or even internet connection. This usually also leads many to wonder if Earthships have WiFi. After all, to many, staying connected with digital society is an important factor. So, do Earthships have WiFi?
In general, Earthships have WiFi, although the thick interior walls of dirt or clay may limit transmission power. Solar panels typically power routers and extenders. If WiFi is important to you, then you should consider that when planning your Earthship construction.
But how does one get WiFi to their Earthships, and what are some of the advantages or disadvantages of having WiFi in their Earthships? Let’s find out below.
Solving the Challange of Dirt Walls
The primary challenge of using WiFi in an Earthship (as opposed to more traditional homes) is that the interior walls are typically made from dirt or clay rather than framed plywood or drywall or occasionally brick. Drywall and plywood are porous materials that allow WiFi radio waves to pass through with very little negative effect. Brick walls are more solid and will have a negative effect on signal strength, but still typically allows WiFi penetration.
Dirth and clay, however, is very solid. Add to that the fact that Earthship interior walls often are very thick. Both are factors that make it very hard for WiFi radio waves to penetrate the walls.
If you set up WiFi in an Earthship, consider using lower-frequency connections for easier penetration through solid walls. Since most household WiFi uses either the 2.4 GHz band or the 5 GHz band, you should use 2.4 GHz. For the theoretically best wall penetration, use channel 1, which operates at the lowest (2.412 GHz) frequency.
You will also get a much better connection by using WiFi range extenders. This is because your router will generally have a maximum output power of 100mW whereas devices like phones and tablets typically have a max output power of 15mW in order to save battery power. Your unit and your router need to communicate both ways, and although the router may be able to penetrate the wall, your mobile unit may not.
By placing an extender on the other side of the wall from where the router is located, you will ensure the strongest possible connection through that wall and onto your phone or laptop. By adding the extender, you have essentially set up a high-powered data bridge that you can hook up to.
Of course, more mechanical solutions can also be made, such as adding walls, windows, or running network cables through your home.
Powering the Internet
Although Earthships are often linked to off-the-grid living, having an internet connection has become an undeniable necessity for many people today. From dealing with banking chores to government paperwork, the modernization of society has definitely changed how Earthship living has become today.
But can you actually get internet on Earthships? Typically, yes, you can. Like most electrical appliances in Earthships, the internet router used by Earthships is typically powered by solar energy. Although this would mean you could stay connected most times, many Earthship owners will often opt to have an off switch for their router as well.
However, as internet connectivity may be poor in some locations, you may encounter frequent disconnections or be limited to certain areas of the Earthship for better connections.
As such, many people may instead turn to their personal phone lines when they wish to stay connected. If you’re living alone without the need for WiFi per se, you could also look into smaller devices like portable routers that work with a sim card. Also known as plug and play units, these routers are often affordable, run on batteries, and works with most computers as a regular wireless router.
How Does a Solar-powered WiFi Work?
Although not many people may have heard of solar-powered WiFi, this is surprisingly not a new piece of technology. To work a solar WiFi, you’ll need a specially created electrical pole and a solar panel. This device connects to a small radio that provides a better overall connection to the Earthships where power sources can be scarce.
However, this solar solution to WiFi connections often come at a steep price, and not many Earthship owners may be willing to invest in the system. You may also see connection difficulties indoors, as you’ll require a separate device for better connectivity. As such, you may have to stay outdoors for most of the time when you need to use the WiFi.
On connectivity – many users have reported that solar-powered mobile internet is comparable to cabled connections from most local internet service providers. Of course, this could be a hit and miss depending on your location, as everyone may have different experiences with solar WiFi panels.
On the flip side, solar-powered routers can be a great solution for anyone hoping to save the cost of laying down electric cables. This especially aids anyone living in an Earthship located in difficult-to-reach places, as the solar-powered unit is highly portable and flexible to wherever you need it to be.
When cared for properly, solar routers are known to be long lasting and can withstand most harsh weather conditions. This includes situations like harsh rains, heavy lightning, or extremely hot weather. As most of the power source comes from the solar panels, you’ll also want to ensure that the panels are often kept clean.
Be sure to always keep birds away from the solar panels, as this could disrupt the charging panels. If you’re not using the solar WiFi unit, it’s advisable to then turn it off so you can retain charge for gloomy days.
Pros and Cons of Having WiFi in an Earthship
Before you decide on adding WiFi to your Earthship, perhaps you’ll want to weigh out the good and bad of having an internet connection to your off-the-grid living. As such, here are some of the pros and cons of having WiFi in an Earthship to help you with your decision.
Pros of Having WiFi in an Earthship
A common misconception to Earthship living is that you’ll get disconnected from society. However, this has effectively become a thing of the past as you can now have WiFi on Earthships. This makes having WiFi in an Earthship a highly sought-after advantage, as you can stay in touch with your friends and family while living off-the-grid.
For professionals who can work away from the office, this means you’re free to still work on your job without having to worry about living expenses. While this could off-set your initial hopes to live stress-free, the convenience of having WiFi in an Earthship is undeniably better.
Thanks to the modernizing of Earthships, more youths can now experience living in Earthships without the fear that they would be completely disconnected. Granted that you may require an internet connection for most important matters like banking or dealing with government paperwork, having proper WiFi can ensure you’ll still be able to sort these matters out.
Cons of Having WiFi in an Earthship
On the flip side, getting WiFi in an Earthship may overturn your initial decision to live off-the-grid. After all, many people find Earthship living as an escape from their regular hustle and bustle of modern lives. Unfortunately, having WiFi in an Earthship simply means they are moving these stresses from their regular homes to the Earthship.
Separately, having WiFi in an Earthship can also add up to a separate living cost. As solar-powered WiFi units often come at a steep price, it may not be as easily obtainable to everyone and can be expensive to maintain.
Should You Have WiFi in Your Earthship?
As you can see, having WiFi in an Earthship is no longer a thing of the past. However, given that it could be expensive to install a solar WiFi unit, you may wonder if having WiFi in an Earthship would be necessary.
Unfortunately, the best answer to this question is that it depends. As living in an Earthship is often known to be a great step to disconnect yourself from your routines of city lives, having WiFi in your Earthship can do exactly the opposite.
However, if staying connected is an ultimate necessity for you, then investing in a solar WiFi unit can be highly beneficial. Do note that the experience with solar WiFi can differ depending on where your Earthship is located, and you may need to stay outdoors for a better connection.