I have to admit, this is a situation I find myself in way more than I should. In my defense, sometimes I just don’t get the notification from my internet service provider politely reminding me to pay up in time to avoid being disconnected. Also, maybe I am a true Kenyan, meaning we are as ‘last-minute’ as they come. So your internet subscription expired and you haven’t paid for your Home Internet and you’re cut off from the web. Maybe you’ve paid but for some reason, it takes your ISP a few too many hours to complete your transaction and restore your connection. In the meantime, here are a couple of things you can do with your WiFi network without internet access.
How to create a WiFi network
To create a WiFi network, you need a WiFi router or a Wireless Access Point(WAP). Chances are that you already have one. It’s the same device that your Internet provider sells to you to access the internet. For most of our readers in Uganda, Kenya or Nigeria, the MiFi is the closest to a freely available WiFi router.
A MiFi isn’t primarily used as a WiFi router. It’s mostly useful as a way of access mobile internet through the Simcard, then sharing that internet wirelessly via WiFi. So its WiFi capabilities are not that strong. However, it can work as an Access Point for other devices to connect wirelessly.
If you don’t have a MiFi, even your smartphone can create a WiFi network. This is easily done by creating a Mobile Hotspot. Again, the objective is to share your mobile internet with other devices, but you can still just use it as a plain old WiFi Access Point.
Otherwise, if you really want to do something seriously with your WiFi network without internet, then you want to invest in a dedicated WiFi router such as those from TP-Link, Cisco, Netgear, Asus, Linksys, D-Link, Xiaomi etc.
Set up a Home Server
Last year, David did a nice piece on Network Attached Storage (NAS). I’ll be honest with you, I am yet to try my feet in this awesome world of creating my own personal “internet” but it sounds like something that can be super helpful, especially when you have a number of users in the same network, with say, similar preferences. Like David said in his post, when your computer’s hard drive is full and you need more storage space, most of us go combing through the storage, deleting unnecessary files to free up space.
Setting up a Home Server could be the better solution as you won’t need to lose anything. Also, these files are available to you on demand, provided you’re connected to the network with the NAS. There is an old detailed post by Wired that explains in lengthy details how to Set up and run a home server.
So many different ways to do this. In my little experience, the easiest and probably the fastest way that I know is by using an app called Shareit by Lenovo. Simply install it on both your laptop and pc, after that it’s a very straightforward process of sharing files, just make sure the laptop and pc both are connected to the same network by WiFi.
As mentioned, there are so many similar applications that let you use your home network to sling files across PCs and Android devices. ShareIt is another super popular one that works well, even cross-platform. Find one that works for you and give it a go!
Stream your own media
In line with the above mentioned, you might want to use your WiFi network to stream your media across your different devices. For instance, you downloaded that super heavy TV Show on your desktop PC over the past several days, day and night. Being that heavy, it defeats the purpose, copying it all onto your Laptop for those lazy Saturday binges. For this, you can create a Homegroup with your Windows PCs on the network and share the drives.
When you’re on your laptop, simply open up “Network” and you’ll see all the networked drives on the network, including your desktop’s so you can go ahead and play the video files as if you’re watching right from your laptop’s hard drive.
Host a LAN party and enjoy gaming
I’m no gamer, but back in the day, I remember just how much fun it was to LAN-Play Need For Speed Hot Pursuit. I am meant to understand that since then, online gaming has become the way people play games together. Let’s face it though, the kind of internet speeds and latency we get in this neck of the woods don’t quite allow us to participate in such.
However, if you are able to find one of the said titles that allow you to LAN play, this could be such an awesome way to Pete your skills against your friends as much of the downsides of using the web to the game like poor latency and unsteady speeds are alleviated. I will talk to my gamer-friends and prepare you guys a list of games that support LAN-Play. I can bet they aren’t exactly recent.
Control your computer remotely
Think of those lazy weekends when you just don’t want to move a muscle; or those lazy cold nights when you are comfortably enjoying a movie on your couch or bed, and you wished you didn’t have to leave your comfort zone to change the volume or skip tracks. So, you may think, “Can I use my Android phone as a mouse?”
Yes, this is possible, and the best part is, you don’t even need to be on the internet to get this done. Provided your docked PC and your Android phone are on the same WiFi network, this is totally possible with the help of a few third-party apps.
On Linux, my favorite one is KDE Connect. It integrates your Android phone with GNOME Shell seamlessly and the integration is more than just skin deep. This is a must-have Gnome extension for all y’all running Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and many other supported distros.
On Windows, Chrome Remote Desktop, KiwiMote, and PC Remote are just a few of the popular solutions for this. We will prepare a much more in-depth guide of doing this in another post.