Nowadays, the internet has been a necessity for everyone. The number one concern of RVers before starting their life on the road is internet access. Most RVers work remotely, and a consistent internet connection is important. Not only is it needed for work, but the internet is also a way to communicate with friends and families.
They are mobile hotspot, Verizon Cradlepoint wifi, weBoost cell signal booster, and The WiFiRanger. Having one internet connection is not enough. You always have to have a backup when it comes to your RV internet connection.
Getting the internet on your RV is not hard. All you need is a little bit of preparation to have a consistent internet connection throughout your road adventure. This article will talk about the different internet options available for RVers, the cost of RV internet, working and gaming remotely on your RV, and some tips that you can use for your RV internet.
Know Your Internet Options
There are a lot of internet options that you can choose from when it comes to your RV internet. As I’ve mentioned above, a lot of planning is needed so that you can never go on the road without an internet connection. You can use your mobile phone as a hotspot so that you can use the other devices that you may need during your life on the road.
One thing that you need to take note of when using cellular internet is those who offer unlimited internet is not really unlimited. There are some instances where capping is present. This means that your internet speed will slow down when you reach a certain cap until it’s no longer usable.
Tethering is using your phone as a hotspot so that it will allow other devices like tablets, laptops, or any streaming device to use your phone’s internet connection. Different companies offer between 10GB to 20GB of tethering data with your phone plan per month. However, this may not be enough if you’re working 40 hours a week or streaming games all the time.
To know how much data you’ll need during your life in an RV, you need to look at your usage. Before moving in an RV, you can check your consumption with your home devices and personal phones instead. You can download apps like Open Signal, which can track your usage every month.
Let’s say you’ll need at least 100GB of data per month, and you can have a minimum of two carriers with data plans. It may sound like overkill, but there are plenty of instances when you might not have a signal in one place, or there are too many people using the same carrier as you, which can result in a slow connection.
The following will discuss the different options that you may have to keep your internet connection steady during your journey on the road.
Hotspot or Cellular Device
Now, most people opt to use mobile hotspots rather than dedicated data devices. All carriers offer some sort of portable hotspot that will allow you to connect devices just like your typical home internet connection. When you’re a full-time RVer, this will serve as your home internet connection.
One of the main benefits of a mobile hotspot is that it’s portable and battery-powered. Now, if you are leaving your RV, maybe to go to the beach and want an internet connection, bringing a power bank will be advisable. If you don’t have a power bank, you can charge your mobile hotspot on another device like your laptop. It usually comes with a plan, and it’s easy to use.
The disadvantage of using a mobile hotspot is that it tends to have limited signal range, device connectivity, and a single carrier. Another disadvantage is the configuration options are minimal. I will talk more about the different hotspots or cellular plans later on in this article.
Boosting Cell Connection
When you’re using a hotspot or cellular device as your internet connection, it is very likely that you will have trouble with your signal. A boosting cell connection would be a great help for you to stay connected, even when you’re in places where it’s hard to get a decent signal.
A signal booster is also known as a signal extender, signal amplifier, or a cell phone repeater. It works by pulling in weak outside signals, boosting it, and rebroadcasting the boosted signal in a desired area. It also works in reverse where the signal booster will receive the signal from your phone and then send it back to the tower.
One of the most popular devices that you can use as a signal booster is the weBoost products. Here are some of the products that you can buy to help you with your signal problem on the road.
Note that a booster may not help when the tower is already overloaded with many users. Of course, if you don’t have a signal, then there’s nothing to boost. Having said this, it is always important that you should have back plans available in case you’re not able to get any signal along the way.
weBoost Antenna Extension Pole
The weBoost antenna extension pole is perfect for those who have short rigs. You can simply mount this extension pole to your roof or your ladder. The pole is 25 feet long, and it requires to be mounted to a vertical structure. It can be configured to any height from 6 to 25 feet by twisting the five telescoping sections into place.
It is compatible with any provider such as Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, and US Cellular. There are a couple of tips and tricks that you can follow to get the most out of your extension pole. Using stabilizer jacks and wheel chocks to keep the RV stabilize during installation would be a great help.
The best place to put your extension pole is near the slider or the toy hauler ramp door on the side. Ensure to use the included wall mount plates and ground mount so that your pole is secured. Also, you need to make sure that the surface where your wall mount should be is clean.
There are different places where you can buy the weBoost antenna extension pole. It is available on Amazon, the weBoost website, Best Buy, Walmart, and Home Depot. The weBoost Antenna Extension Pole’s price is $129.99.
weBoost Drive X RV
The weBoost Drive X RV is the crowd favorite. It is a standard multi-user, in-vehicle cell signal booster that is perfect for any type of RV. This has a powerful omnidirectional antenna, which helps data speeds. The weBoost Drive X RV is also great at stopping dropped calls and improving voice quality.
It works with all US carrier networks and compatible with all phones as it supports multiple users. The best thing about it is it’s already 5G ready. The cost of this signal booster is $397.99 and it is available on Amazon. It may be pricey, but it is definitely worth it. Aside from Amazon, you can also purchase the weBoost Drive X RV on the weBoost website, Best Buy, Walmart, and Home Depot.
The weBoost Drive X RV is perfect when you’re driving on the road.
weBoost Connect RV 65
Now, the weBoost Connect RV 65 is excellent when parked in a campground or a hookup. This is only used when parked since it targets specific towers to provide the best possible coverage. It has a 65 dB gain (the amount of reception increase that the device can generate), making it the perfect signal booster for your RV.
Just like the weBoost Antenna Extension Pole, the antenna of the weBoost Connects RV 65 can extend up to 25 ft high. It also works on all US carriers, and it is 5G ready. The cost of the Connect RV 65 is $649.99. It is available on Amazon, the weBoost website, Best Buy, Walmart, and Home Depot.
The Campground or Public wifi
As you may know, there is a couple of public wifi that you can access throughout your journey. You can also use the wifi in the campground that you are staying in. However, there are a lot of disadvantages to using a campground or public wifi. Since everyone in the campground or RV parks is using the wifi, there’s a great chance that you’ll have a slow connection.
There’s also a chance that the internet might not reach your rig. When about 40 or 50 RVs are streaming Netflix, it’s unlikely that there will be enough bandwidth to satisfy everyone who is trying to use the internet. You also need to consider your safety, especially when you are trying to access personal information online.
Public or campground wifi is not advisable for those who are working as well. There is a lot of sensitive information that you’re dealing with, and this may not be the best way to go.
Satellite internet is one of the most complicated processes that you can take in getting RV internet. Not only that, but it is also very costly, and you’ll be looking at thousands of dollars in equipment. You can also experience high latency and maintenance. You can use this option if you have very low data requirements that don’t depend on any time-sensitive applications.
It is portable enough when you are moving from sites and campgrounds. The satellite internet is only available anywhere you can see the southern sky. This means that there shouldn’t be any trees or obstacles along the way.
Satellite internet may be excellent for high usage situations while you’re on the road, there’s a possibility of you spending about $1,300 on the initial hardware alone. Of course, this would still depend on the type of dish that you will be getting. Besides the equipment, you are still looking at your monthly plan, which usually starts at around $60.
Some disadvantage that you’ll be looking at when getting a satellite internet is the hardware tends to be heavier than other solutions. There are usually decreased speeds during peak hours, which are generally from 4 pm to 10 pm. You also have to worry about inclement weather, such as fog, snow, and rain, degrading your service.
It’s also not advisable to use satellite internet if you need internet for gaming, streaming media, or VoIP services. Installing and maintaining satellite internet requires a certain level of technical know-how and troubleshooting ability whenever you experience connectivity problems arise in the wilderness.
This option is the way to go when you spend most of your time boondocking in remote locations with absolutely no cell signal. When you decide to go this route, the popular choice of RVers is the HughesNet and DISH bundle.
HughesNet and DISH
HughesNet is focused on satellite internet service and doesn’t offer other services such as cable television. However, they are partnered with DIRECTV and DISH to provide bundle packages of the internet and television. Their coverage is available in 50 states, and it extends to rural areas where there’s little or no other internet access available.
Just like any other internet service, HughesNet has a fair share of complaints. Most customer complaints are due to latency issues that occur with satellite internet. With the lag time, it will make the internet challenging to use and should be taken into consideration.
There is very limited information on the plans that they offer. They advise those who are interested in giving them a call to know more about their plans. The price range of HughesNet with DISH is from $59.99 to $149.99 a month.
Cost of RV Internet and wifi
When you live in a brick home, you have a budget that you need to stick with. The same thing goes when you are living in an RV full time. Although there are a lot of ways to save money on the road, the cost of staying connected with the internet can take a significant toll.
The easiest and cheapest option is by using your cellular data. It can provide you with a pretty reliable, fast connection that is available in different locations. If you choose to use cellular data, here are a couple of providers that offer the best plans and services.
Internet Providers for Your RV
There are plenty of internet providers that you can choose from so that you can keep connected while you are on the road. The following will list the best internet providers that you can choose so that you will have a great internet service when living full time in an RV.
Verizon is one of the most reputable cellular companies because it has the most coverage throughout the United States. The Novatel 4G LTE Broadband Router with Voice is the best choice for living an RV life full time. It has a voice backup battery where it provides four hours of talk time and 33 hours of standby.
You can get reliable internet services anywhere within the Verizon LTE network with the Novatel 4G LTE Broadband Router. You can even make calls to landline phones and have access to internet devices simultaneously. It is user-friendly and easy to configure and connect.
You can connect up to three computers and printers via the Ethernet cable, with a download speed of 5 to 12mbps. It also has a screen where you can check the voice and data strength as well as battery life. The Novatel 4G LTE Broadband Router has a backup battery and wifi password at a glance. The Novatel 4G LTE Broadband Router costs $299.99.
If you are working in your RV or love games, you can get plans from 200mbps to 940mbps, which costs $39.99 to $79.99. When you are looking for specific information about the plans, you can contact Verizon’s customer support.
When you are looking for the best fiber speed plans, AT&T is the way to go. They are also the second largest mobile network that covers a large part of the country. Along with speed, AT&T is also known for providing more reliable performance whenever you need it. This means that your internet shouldn’t drop out the moment you are working or just having a fun time playing online games.
Fiber can be limited to the coasts. AT&T has better coverage compared to Verizon plans. It has better service in the Midwest and South along with the East Coast and West Coast. They also offer great prices when it comes to their plans. You can get 940mbps at a price of $49.99.
One disadvantage is that there’s a one TB data cap on all but the 1,000mbps plan.
Canada RV Internet
Canadian RV internet is a bit more expensive, and not a lot of options that you can choose from because the Canadian government is not too good. There are limited internet connection options, and three big companies usually own most of the small companies. However, RVers still find the right internet connection to use while living on the road full time.
The following will talk about the different providers available for your RV internet needs.
Karma WIFI Coverage
Karma WIFI Coverage is wifi wherever you go. It is a great way to keep connected coast to coast for Canadians who love to travel. This plan is also great for those who want to travel from Canada to the United States. With this service, you can turn your cellphone, tablet, and laptop into personal wifi.
Now, this is only advisable to those who are the casual surfers and do not need to do gaming nor work in their RV. Their plans range from 5GB to 1GB on the LTE network, with a price range of $92.93 to $132.89. The price includes the Karma Voyage device, which costs $79.99 and an additional $2.95 for the unlimited rollover monthly subscription.
Rogers Wireless Rocket Stick
When you already have your phone connected to Rogers Wireless, this is perfect for you. You can have an internet connection by activating the Rocket Stick that is available across Canada coverage on the Rogers wireless network. To start your service, all you need is to insert your activated SIM card into your Rocket Stick and then plug the stick into your laptop, and the program will install automatically.
They offer 100MB to 100GB internet allowance that ranges from $10.00 to $120.00 a month. The 100MB Light has a based rate of $10 and has an increment of $20 if you want to add more data allowance. You can add up to 10GB with this data plan.
5GB Heavy has a base price of $60 with 5GB allotted for data usage. It also has an increment of $20 if you want to add more to your data usage. You can add up to 55GB with this plan. Lastly, the 50GB Super Heavy has a base rate of $120 with a 50GB data allowance where there’s an increment of $10 if you want to add more data. You can get a data allowance of up to 100GB.
This is what they call the data bucket. All plans begin with a base tier, and once you’ve used up the data allowance and would like to add more, additional data usage is available with specific rates that apply.
Public and RV wifi Hookups
Just like in the United States, there are available public and RV wifi hookups that you can have access to. Again, these are not advisable to use because you are fighting with a lot of people to use the internet, which results in a slow connection. There are also other hookups and RV parks where you can connect via ethernet, but not all have these features.
The Wifi Ranger
The WiFiRanger is the number one wifi booster that Canadian RVers use. The EliteAC Pack is the top-of-the-line enhancing exterior antenna system that is great for boosting the signal. It is designed to be paired with a WiFiRanger router to create an integrated and comprehensive wifi setup. You need to purchase this product separately from the router itself.
You can get an interior and exterior antenna. The interior antenna provides an extended range roof-mounted wifi system paired to an indoor router. The indoor router price ranges from $80 to $310, while the antenna cost $699.99. The EliteAC Pack FM is an outdoor antenna that can be paired with an indoor router which is designed for flat mounting. This cost $749.99 on top of the cost of the indoor router.
Now, the WiFiRanger is very easy to install and is user-friendly. You can expect to have your sign boosted, and you can experience a fast internet connection. However, one disadvantage and common issue you might run into is connecting to what looks like a strong signal. However, it is degraded by a lot of people using that specific signal, which can lead to a slow internet connection.
Using US Roaming Services
Lastly, we have roaming services that you can use in Canada. However, you have to make sure that you already have your roaming services activated before beginning your life in your RV because international roaming charges are no good.
T-Mobile and Sprint
‘T-Mobile and Sprint have merged to build the best wireless company around. We’re on this journey because we believe it will be better for customers. Through the years, we’ve taken major strides to answer the needs of our customers and we won’t stop.’https://www.t-mobile.com/brand/t-mobile-sprint-merger-updates
T-Mobile offers a plan called T-Mobile Magenta, which has unlimited talk, text, and 5GB of high-speed data in Canada as well as Mexico. This costs $75, and with autopay activated, it will cost you $70. The plan is pretty straightforward, where it is easy to text and use data while in Canada. No need for add-ons, and you’ll have the option to upgrade to Magenta Plus for faster data speeds.
Working Remotely in Your RV
When you are working remotely in your RV, you would need a fast and reliable service that won’t cut out when you are in the middle of an important task. As I’ve said before, you need to plan everything out before hitting your life on the road. One thing that you should plan is your internet connection when you plan to work in your RV.
You need to know your specific requirements to work properly, such as the minimum speed, in order for you to work properly and smoothly. Another thing that you need to look at is the security and privacy requirements. You need to take note that when you’re working, you might be handling sensitive information.
Mobile internet security may seem scary, but utilizing basic safety protocols such as setting up your privacy settings can help you worry less when it comes to the security of your work. Having a more in-depth measure like using a VPN or remote server, can give you peace of mind. Always make sure to be diligent whenever you are working for the safety of yourself and your job.
You may already know this, but never use PUBLIC WIFI whenever you are working.
Now, let’s say you want to get out of your rig, and you are trying to save some data on your current plan. Coworking spaces are a great way to go. It has become more popular nowadays, for people who need to set up meetings, those working online, etc.
Coworking spaces are spread out throughout the United States. For example, WeWork is available in 30 different locations across the US providing a sense of familiarity when you work in their shared office. Their prices start at $450 per person, and if you stop by Chicago, you can check their space out. They have onsite staff, cleaning services, phone booths, fruit, water, and micro-roasted coffee. When you want a comfy working space, this is it!
The number one coworking space that you can visit in Canada is the Centre For Social Innovation, located in Toronto. It offers an energy of space with its office design. What’s best about them is they support nonprofits entrepreneurs, providing them a chance to showcase their business to other people. Best of all, it is dog friendly! They offer membership plans from $150 to $1,210 a month with a lot of perks to them.
Hard-Wired Internet at Campsites
There are a couple of campsites and RV parks that offer a hard-wired internet connection. However, don’t depend too much on this since you’ll be sharing data with 40 or so more RVs in the area. Again, I can’t emphasize this enough. It is still counted as a public place for you to have an internet connection. It may not be safe for you to access any work-related files.
If you have something to check quickly without having to open any sensitive information, this would be the way to go.
Internet Gaming in Your RV
You may think that internet gaming is not possible when you’re living a life in an RV. Well, think again because there are several plans available for you to use while you’re playing and streaming your games. There are also some things that you need to consider if you want to play games during your life on the road.
Consider the number of gaming devices you need to support, like your computer, tablets, or phones. Think about the games that you will play, such as if you’re playing with an organized clan or team play. You also need to consider if you will use any streaming sites such as Twitch since this will take up most of your allotted internet allowance.
One of the best plans for gaming is AT&T Fiber, which offers a maximum speed of 940mbps. With unlimited data that has a cap of 1 TB where your connection will slow down once you meet this cap.
Now, if you want a plan that has no data cap, then Frontier FiOS is the way to go. They offer 50 to 1,000mbps at a price range of $29.99 to $74.99 a month. If you are in an area where you can’t get fiber, Xfinity is your best choice. It is available pretty much all over the US and also over-delivers on speed. Great for streaming your games on Twitch. Their speeds range from 15 to 2,000mbps at a price of $29.99 to $299.95 a month.
In Canada, the best gaming service provider is Virgin Mobile. They offer data plans from 3GB to 25GB of data at a price that ranges from $45 to $75 per month. When you have more information about their plans, give them a ring because they have excellent customer service.
Tips and Tricks for Your RV Internet
There are a couple of tips and tricks that you should know before hitting your life on the road. Make sure that you install apps that show coverage regions for data. This way, you can plan your trip properly and know where you’ll hit a dead spot when it comes to signal.
You also need to understand the gigabyte that you are going to use. Overage charges can really go up and charge you a lot of money. It’s easier to use the internet than you intend to. Ensure that you divide your gigabyte into 31 days of the month to avoid any overages. It is also useful if you know how many gigabytes you’ll use each day.
When you want to watch movies, but you’re on a limited plan, going old school is the way to go. You can buy DVD players that support the BlueRay format. Having said this, you can purchase different movies on CDs, and you can have the movie marathon that you want.
There you have it! RV internet connection is important, especially when you’re working while you’re on the road. The number one thing that you need to consider when you will live full-time in an RV is to plan everything. Make sure that you plan your route to know whether you will hit any dead spots during your journey. Having a mobile hotspot, signal boosters, and outdoor routers are the best way to get a steady internet connection. You should also know the limits when it comes to your data usage. Since you know the ins and outs of RV internet, you are good to go! Ride-free, RVers!