SABC News’ Tshepiso Moche reports on tech developments in South Africa and globally. In this edition, he looks at gadgets to help those working remotely during Eskom’s rolling blackouts.
Besides the slow internet connection, many South Africans who are working remotely have got one more thing to worry about, continuous rolling blackouts.
Eskom has been implementing power cuts across the country as it battles to cope with the electricity demand in the country.
The rolling blackouts have left many South Africans frustrated.
With the remote working being the new normal, rapid power cuts have now become a nightmare as those working from home have to make alternative arrangements, in order for them to continue working from home.
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.
On Tuesday, Eskom announced that Stage 6 would be implemented as the power utility struggles to keep the lights on.
In the video below, Eskom briefs the media about Stage 6 rolling blackouts:
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.
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 than 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.