The corona pandemic has permanently changed the world of work. Many jobs can easily be done from home. Falling infection numbers are now making new freedoms possible. The work can also be done in a holiday home in the Black Forest, on the campsite in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania or in a guest room with friends in Cologne.
Mobile communications for the home office
In Germany, however, you cannot rely on the fact that you will find powerful WLANs everywhere that are suitable for all home office applications. It is better to have your own mobile phone access, the tariff of which has enough volume for daily work. There are only a few prepaid offers in this performance class, and you can hardly avoid concluding a fixed-term contract.
In the home office, video conferences usually consume the most data volume. Anyone who spends half an hour in a video conference a day has to calculate around half a gigabyte of volume per Mbit / s average transfer rate. With a typical requirement of 3 Mbit / s, this already adds up to 30 gigabytes for 20 working days per month. Depending on the video conference system, the transmitted data rate is between 1 and 10 Mbit / s and can rarely be influenced.
5G on the rise
Runtime tariffs from 15 gigabytes already belong to the upper performance class. In this, access to the 5G network is standard, but there are still some tariffs that only come with 4G. In practice it doesn’t make much difference. The use of 5G does not improve the coverage, but only the maximum achievable data rate – which can be used practically in the rarest of cases anyway.
It is more important to look at which cellular network is being used. O2 says it is pushing network expansion, but it will not be able to catch up anytime soon. In the expansion of the 5G network, Telekom has clearly taken the lead; in the 4G network, Vodafone is usually just behind Telekom in network tests. The different performance is also reflected in the price: The offers from O2 are noticeably cheaper than those from Vodafone and Telekom.
Prepaid or contract
When concluding a mobile phone contract, you should pay particular attention to the duration. The classic two-year contracts are extended by a full year each time if they are not terminated in good time. Some contracts are alternatively or exclusively available with short terms, which may result in higher acquisition fees. But you should accept that, because it can be much more expensive if you no longer need the contract at some point, but still have to pay it for many months. If you have chosen an unfavorable contract, the error in contracts without a term can be corrected promptly. The prepaid offers from Vodafone (50 gigabytes, 80 euros) and Telekom (flat rate, 100 euros), each with a four-week term, are also suitable for testing.
You can read more about choosing the right tariff in c’t 15/2021: On the way to the network: mobile phone tariffs for large needs
In issue 15/2021 we tested Chromebooks and examined their Chrome OS operating system, which has long been more than just a browser. We will also show you how you can upgrade your home office cost-effectively and comprehensively – from the PC to the peripheral devices to the network. C’t editor Urs Mansmann has tested suitable mobile phone tariffs for home offices that offer 15 GB or more. We also explain the cryptography learning tool CrypTool 2, tested premium notebooks and looked at ESPHome, a low-code solution for smart home projects. You will find issue 15/2021 from July 2nd in Heise shop and at the well-stocked newspaper kiosk.