Getting internet on the road is a big topic for people, whether you're going full time or whether you just want to have internet on the weekends or on your vacations.
When you travel in your RV, it can sometimes it can become rather complicated issue to get internet.
So let's dive into how to assess your needs and find the right internet set up for you.
How We Get Internet On The Road
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Assess Your Online Needs
Before getting internet for your RV, you need to assess what your online needs are. Here are a few questions to ask yourself. These will help you process what you may look at when you're assessing your own needs.
So when you're going to be assessing your needs, you really need to think, be thinking about how you're going to do certain things or what you need internet for like....
How are you going to watch TV?
There, there are many options out there, but this is something you need to start thinking about. How you watch TV will impact your decision for internet.
You may RV to escape from all the digital noise so this won't be a big issue for you but there are those of us that don't want to escape from TV. Maybe that's going to be the time you get to watch all the games that you enjoy because you have more time.
Will you be working from your RV?
This is what we do. So our internet needs may be different than yours We have to rely on data all the time to run our business and work.
Will you stream and go online a lot?
You might just check your email on your phone and that will be enough for you. But maybe you want to stream Netflix, Prime Video or Hulu. Then the decision becomes more necessary to figure this out in a way that's right for you.
In this accompanying video we dive deep to these questions and more, so be sure to watch it.
Where the Streets wander
“There is no one perfect solution to staying connected
on the road”
Types of Internet Available On The Road
If you are going to need internet when you RV, then the next step is to decide how you are going to access it.
Depending on how you are using it, TV, email, online or remote working, you can get the best set up for you!
Everywhere we've been, except one campground, the park, WIFI has been terrible. If you only need to check your email occasionally then you might be ok using it.
But for sure you won't be streaming anything, at least not for very long. More often than not you will have to take your computer and walk up near an office or somewhere where it's available. This option is for those people who aren't super online dependent.
Well, what about WIFI boosters on your RV? A few years ago that was the way to solve this issue. But recently we've been to several RV parks where they have told us that if we had a WIFI booster, and were caught using it we would be kicked out of the park
WIFI boosters, also called repeaters, and extenders are the same thing - devices to improve WIFI coverage. They may help bring the broadband from the tower that's in the park or the point of access in the campground to you so that you can use more of it.
Campground are clamping down on WIFI boosters because people are hogging the broadband for everyone in the park. The whole idea of campground WIFI is that people will be able to access it for their minimal needs, not use it for working and streaming and hogging it all for themselves.
Hot Spot to Your Cell Phone:
A lot of us have cell phone with some sort of hot spotting feature. Some cell phone plans are starting to take away the hotspot feature on your cell phone.
Depending on what your plan is, find out what your limit is and when it will be throttled. Hot spotting can be helpful but if you depend on it you may run out pretty quickly and you're going to be limited on what you're going to be able to link to, access and watch.
If you're in the market for getting a new plan, be careful and ask about this to make sure you understand what you are getting into.
Cell Data Plan (Jetpack):
For years, we relied on a jetpack data plan from Verizon and did remarkably well even though we work from the road.
Jetpacks are mini-routers that you can link multiple devices to to get internet.
Shop your cell phone carrier for a jetpack and data plan that would be good for you.
We tell people who are full-time and need to be on the internet, get a couple plans to switch back and forth on so if Verizon doesn't work well in one area, ATT might or even T-mobile is upping it's coverage game.
Satellite is expensive and not reliable yet for internet. This might be a good option for your TV needs but for internet it's still in it's beta testing.
Follow Mobile Internet Resource Center to keep up to date on everything happening with data plans and satellite.
Where the Streets wander
"If you really need to stay connected have a back-up plan"
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How We Get Internet On The Road
We are very heavy data users. We work, watch TV and surf all the time. Our needs changed over the years and we now have a Pepwave Max Transit.
This router helps us use two different sim cards from two different carriers (Verizon & ATT) to have connection wherever we travel.
Now data internet is still squirrely and your connection will depend on area usage and time of day and other things that are mysteries of the universe. We discovered that right in Orlando in a very popular RV park we had hardly anything and ended up going to the library to work instead of yelling at the computer. 🙂
The other side to that is rural areas where you most likely want to get away from it all, will actually let you do that because you won't be able to access internet or groceries!
TechnoRV is a great resource for routers and tech gear for you RV. What makes them super special is the level of service and support you will get from them. Try to shop here first...it's like buying local. RVers supporting RVers.
Determining your needs for internet may take you some time. These options and resources in this article will help you definitely get on the right track to figuring out what will work best for you.
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