From those traveling full-time and needing the internet to work, to part-timers who just want to check email and stream their favorite shows, more and more people are looking to have a reliable internet connection as they travel in their RVs. Fortunately, getting that good RV internet connection is becoming easier and easier.
In this article, we will discuss your options for staying connected on the road, as well as ways to improve your connection.
RV Internet Connection Options
The first step is to decide how you will connect while traveling. Currently, there are three RV internet options available:
- Cell Connection — This is the option most people choose. It involves using the same cell signals our phones use to stay connected to the internet. Usually, a dedicated hotspot is used, and some people choose to get more elaborate with boosters, routers, and more. The problem is that not all cell providers provide cell coverage in all areas, and there are still parts of the US that don’t have cell reception at all.
- Wi-Fi from Outside Sources — Another RV internet option is to pull in Wi-Fi signals from surrounding businesses, such as stores, restaurants, and the very campgrounds you stay in. Sometimes this is possible with no equipment at all, but usually, you will need some extra equipment to make it work. Generally, this option is free. Occasionally, however, a campground will charge for their internet.
- Satellite — Finally, some people choose satellite internet. Unfortunately, this is expensive, bulky, and not always the fastest option. That said, it is a good option for those who plan on boondocking in areas with no cell signal.
In order to ensure you have the best RV internet setup for you, we recommend considering where and how you like to travel.
Improving Your RV Internet Connection
Now that you know how to get connected while on the road, we are going to discuss improving your RV internet connection. This information will help in places where your internet seems slow or bogged down.
- Give Yourself Options
The first and most useful suggestion we have is to give yourself options in order to ensure you always have RV internet available. Keeping data lines with both Verizon and AT&T will ensure you have cell connection almost anywhere. Adding in a satellite option will cover you in those super remote areas. Lastly, the option to pull in Wi-Fi from outside sources is always a great backup plan.
- Do Your Research
When choosing a campground, do your research. Campendium is a great website that allows you to see what kinds of cell coverage a particular campground or boondocking spot has. Reviews from other campers are also a great tool that will help you determine what the Wi-Fi might be like in a park.
- Watch Where You Park
Parking under trees might be great for the shade, but it can cause issues if you plan to use satellite internet. In some cases, very thick tree coverage can even disrupt cell signals.
Additionally, in many parks, one area might offer some cell signal while another has none at all, and parking closer to the campground router is always a good idea if you plan to use their Wi-Fi. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to carefully consider where you park and check your connection before getting set up.
- Avoid Crowded Areas
Lots of people sharing one cell tower or a single Wi-Fi connection is never a good thing. Too many people will bog things down pretty quickly, making it impossible to load anything. For this reason, we recommend avoiding crowded parks when possible.
- Set Up a Wi-Fi Range Extender
Earlier in this article, we mentioned that those who choose to pull in Wi-Fi from an outside source would probably need to invest in additional equipment. A Wi-Fi range extender such as ALFA Network Wi-Fi CampPro 2v2Range Extender Kit for RV is the equipment we were referring to.
This handy gadget uses an antenna to pull in Wi-Fi signals, sometimes from very far away. It then amplifies the signal, making for a nice, solid connection even if you’re nowhere near the router.
- Put Up a Cellular Antenna
A cellular antenna is another great piece of equipment to have. There are many different options out there, but we recommend products made by Proxicast. No matter which you choose, a cellular antenna will help pull in a stronger and more usable cell signal.
- Pick Up a Cell Signal Booster
Finally, there is the option of a cell signal booster such as the WeBoost 4G-X RV. A booster is much more expensive than an antenna, but sometimes it’s what you really need to improve your RV internet connection. This device works by pulling in a cell signal and amplifying it. It’s ideal for areas that offer only a single bar of signal and can boost that single bar up to 3 or 4.
Hopefully, these tips help you get connected and stay that way while enjoying all the fun and excitement RV travel has to offer!
About the author: Chelsea Gonzales
Chelsea has the amazing opportunity to take part in full-time RV living and traveling with her tiny tribe. She homeschools her five-year-old son as they travel, and takes full advantage of their unique situation by using the entire world as her son’s classroom. A group of total Disney fanatics, Chelsea and her family often find themselves in the Orlando area in order to visit the Disney parks, but they have also visited over 25 of the 50 states with plans to see many more along the way. No matter where her travels take her, Chelsea enjoys riding bikes, gazing at beautiful sunsets, finding new coffee shops, Irish dancing, and sitting around a campfire with her family.
You can join her adventures through her blog, Wonder Wherever We Wander.
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