FEATURE: Gadgets you should have while working during load shedding

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This week, we look at the impact of load shedding while many South Africans are working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. The global war against COVID-19 is central to all countries, as a third of the world remains on lockdown in attempts to conquer it. A few industries stand to benefit from this crisis. One of these is the technology space. In this series titled, COVID Tech, SABC News’ Tshepiso Moche reports on coronavirus-related tech developments in South Africa and globally. 

Besides the slow internet connection, many South Africans who are working from home have got one more thing to worry about, load shedding.

Eskom has been implementing power cuts across the country as it battles to cope with the electricity demand.

This has left many South Africans using their fixed-line connection for going on-line while working from home, leaving them frustrated due to slow internet speeds.

Many people have been working from home since the beginning of the lockdown as one of the measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The country has been under lockdown since March 27, 2020.

The video below is President Cyril Ramaphosa’s first announcement that the country would be under lockdown from March 27:

Currently, there are 350 879 confirmed positive cases with 182 230 recoveries and 4 948 deaths in the country.

Load shedding also affects the country’s major cellular networks’ connectivity.

Stable electricity supply and good internet connection are some of the basic requirements for remote working.

This week, we’ll look at some of the gadgets you can buy to help reduce the impact caused by the never-ending load shedding.

Get yourself an uninterrupted power supply (UPS)

An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is a battery in a box with enough capacity to run devices plugged via its AC outlets.

Although the hardware doesn’t come cheap, it could be your solution in the hours of darkness.

This will enable you to keep your internet service active during power cuts.

You get an entry-level UPS (with 1400 watts) for R1000 or get a more powerful one (6000VA), which could last for longer hours, for R15 000.

Battery-powered MiFi router

Another option during load shedding or a down internet connection, is a portable, battery-powered MiFi router.

This can be a very useful device during a power outage.

The routers are able to deliver an LTE connection to all WiFi-connected devices.

Many mobile operators offer these routers along with an LTE data plan.

Also, signing up for a LTE data plan may prove to be a great backup solution to stay online when the power is out.

This is one of the cheapest methods that will keep you connected to the internet and working from home during stressful power cuts.

You can also use this device as a portable WiFi hotspot for moments when you need to work on the go, as it allows you to connect multiple devices simultaneously.

Buy an Inverter

Alternatively, you can get yourself an inverter.

However, inverters can be a bit pricey depending on the type and model you want to purchase.

Another option would be a generator.

One of the benefits of an inverter is that it is a silent, more discreet device to a noisy generator.

You can also use an inverter inside your house without worrying about fumes.

An inverter is ideal for electronics and will deal with keeping your laptop on as well as your router and Customer Premises Equipment (CPE).

However, before buying an inverter, you will have to take into consideration the maximum power load it will need to carry (WiFi router, PC, cellphone charger, television or radio, etc.

Mini Power bank and your smartphone

If all fails, your smartphone and a portable power bank can save the day.

Many smartphones have a WiFi hotspot tethering option, this will enable you to use your smartphone as a hotspot for other devices, like your laptop, to connect to the internet.