Just because you went camping does not mean you have to leave behind all the comforts of your life. While you are going camping to enjoy the great outdoors, it wouldn’t hurt to have some modern conveniences there. Take the internet, for example.
Internet is like one of the basic needs in life now. For some people, the availability of the internet is non-negotiable. Does that mean you cannot go camping if you need internet?
Absolutely not! All you need is the right set up, and you can enjoy internet access from anywhere. Thankfully, there is a handful of options out there that can keep you connected to the rest of the world when you go camping.
What is RV Internet?
An RV internet means internet access in your RV that you can connect to with your cell phone, tablet, computer, or any other devices. A good setup will allow you to work as if you are at home.
However, you can find more than one way to have your RV wi-fi set up. It may look a little more complicated than the one for your home. It all works out fine if you do it with proper care.
Why do you Need Internet in Your Camper?
In today’s life, it is tough to pass one day without an update on the world. All thanks to the internet, we can get updates from anywhere on earth. People who have to work on vacations and while traveling must have internet access in their camper.
For example, an archeologist needs to work while traveling in remote locations. A good internet connection in the trailer is a must for him.
Suppose you are a student and need to join your zoom meeting or online classes while traveling. What else is more important than a wi-fi connection in your RV?
Or maybe you are just on vacation with your friends and want to enjoy a good Netflix series without buffering. Yes, you can even stream your favorite Netflix content without any interruption in your RV with the right set up.
Wi-fi Installation Options
Public or Local Campground Wi-Fi Hotspots
Several private institutions and public places offer free wi-fi. You can enjoy their service for free. If you want to check your mail or surf the internet for free, make regular stops at campsites. You can also get free wi-fi at restaurant chains. Do make sure to buy something. Otherwise, it isn’t pleasant.
However, you will have to be patient with speed. As many people are accessing this public network, the network may often be overloaded as it suffers from a shortage of bandwidth. There are also certain limits set in these public networks.
If you want to enjoy hassle free high-speed wi-fi while camping, it is better to get a mobile hotspot device for yourself. These devices offer more data than your phone. However, you cannot use them in areas that do not have a cellular connection.
Setting up your Campervan or RV Wi-Fi Network
There are several ways to stay connected to the internet while traveling in a camper. You can either use cellular data or opt for a wi-fi network. The cellular option is more prevalent in the USA, whereas wi-fi is the preferred option in Europe.
You can set up your RV wi-fi in three ways. You can use your phone as a hotspot for Wi-fi, satellite internet and add a hotspot router to your mobile plan.
Portable Wi-Fi Routers
Now, if you are not willing to commit to a subscription to a plan, pocket wi-fi devices are the best option for you. You can rent these devices to have unlimited access to high-speed internet.
Note that it is better to rent it for 5-10 people to share the cost with others. These pocket wi-fi devices offer their service both domestically and internationally. So, it is a good option whether you are going camping next door or across the border.
Signal Boosters and Satellite Internet
If you are looking for a satellite internet service, you have indeed considered HughesNet and ViaSat. Now which one you will choose depends upon you entirely. Both of them offer their services in all the rural parts of the 48 states. So, if you are looking to go camping in the US, they are your best options.
It ultimately boils down to whether you want a better speed or pricing. ViaSat offers a speed that is four times faster than that of HughesNet’s. However, you may want to check whether the area you are traveling to has that much speed available.
On the other hand, HughesNet offers more bandwidth at the same price as ViaSat. But all HughesNet’s package provides the same bandwidth of 25 Mbps.
You cannot always take your camper to all the sites. You have to leave your RV at a certain point and get to the site on foot in many cases. But you still want to stay connected to the internet. For that, you can use wi-fi boosters such as roof antennas.
Choosing the Best Wi-Fi Installation Options – Things to Consider
The first thing that you need to consider before setting up your internet system is network compatibility. Check the network compatibility of your devices and the router.
Find out which frequencies are compatible with your cell phone, computer, or tablet. Even check what version of the brand you are using, as different versions may work at different frequencies. So, check your network compatibility before buying an internet setup for your camper.
Number of Devices Connected
The number of devices is an essential factor for your internet setup. Obviously, you will need to extend your network range and bandwidth if you have more devices to connect. You and your companions may want to connect your cell phones, as well as laptops, tablets, and many more to the wi-fi network.
The network range is another useful factor that will affect your internet connection. Depending on how big your RV is, you need to fix what range you want to cover with your wi-fi network.
You don’t want such a small network range that you can’t access the internet just because you moved from your front seat. Then again, don’t go for such an extensive network coverage so far off your budget and far more than your actual need.
It’s good to check your data limit before you set up your internet connection. Not every wi-fi connection has a limitation on data usage.
If you are using your cell phone as a hotspot for cellular data, you might want to password protect it and have a data limit. Make sure to do that, so you don’t end up wasting too much data and battery on your cell phone. Some devices have automated data limitations, but you can surely change or edit them as you wish.
Battery life is essential for any device you buy. If you are purchasing a cell phone mainly for a hotspot, look for better battery life. Using your cell phone as a hotspot can cause a significant loss of battery life. If you are using a booster to increase your internet speed, check its battery too.
3G vs. 4G vs. 5G
Different purposes can require different internet speeds. Decide what kind of speed you are looking for and what you will use it for.
For example, if you just want your internet connection for studying, the 3G network is more than enough. However, Netflix streaming requires 3GB per hour of data. So, the 4G or 5G network will work better in that case.
Is Roaming Internet a Good Idea?
Roaming can help you make calls or connect to wireless data even if you are out of your network boundaries. However, this allowance comes with an extra charge.
If you are traveling for work or on vacation, you might want to use this opportunity. Especially, people who are often on international trips, roaming is a fair offer for them.
Roaming the internet is just the same, allowing you to connect your devices to your wi-fi network when you get disconnected due to a different network boundary.
Depending on your carrier, the price varies for roaming. You can also get different advantages based on what you desire to buy. On average, you can get each MB of data for $2 to $5, which is pretty expensive. You might end up paying up to $15000 for roaming before you even notice.
Fortunately, there are ways to avoid this consequence. You can use Verizon TravelPass, Sprint’s free international coverage, T-Mobile’s free global coverage, or AT&T International Day Pass. These internet connections will allow you to enjoy roaming across many countries without the necessity to pay the extra fees.
As we have already said, using data when roaming can be quite expensive. But we also mentioned that you could work around that issue.
Verizon Travel Pass
Verizon is one of the most major wireless carriers. However, it doesn’t come with any pre-built international coverage. So, it would be best if you considered getting yourself a Verizon Travelpass before you go camping.
You can use this travel pass in more than 185 countries. It is a bit cheaper to use it in Mexico and Canada. It will only cost you $5 to use your pass in these two countries.
The most intriguing feature that the Verizon travel pass offers is that it lets you use your regular Verizon cell phone. That too, without costing you anything extra!
Sprint’s Free International Coverage
Sprint offers global roaming perks with all its data plans. You can make calls or text someone while abroad, thanks to Sprint’s roaming perks. And all of it will cost you only USD 0.25.
You can use primary data for the same price as well. However, you will only get 2G data speeds. If you are looking to upgrade your data plan, Sprint has got you covered there as well.
You can use Sprint’s service in over 200 countries. The cost of the upgraded data plans varies according to your location. The pricing goes like this.
- Mexico & Canada: $2/day or $10/week
- Most destinations: $5/day or $25/week
- Other destinations: $10/day or $50/week
T-Mobile’s Free International Coverage
With T-mobile’s international coverage, you will not need any travel pass. T-Mobile offers a package with unlimited data, which is known as the Magenta unlimited plan. This pack offers unlimited data (with 2G speeds) and text service in more than 210 countries.
While you will still have to pay for making calls when roaming, the Magenta unlimited pack is one of the best packages available. But do not worry if you do not have an unlimited data plan. T-Mobile offers data passes as well. Their pricing goes like this.
- $5 International 1 Day Pass
- Data (512MB)
- Calling in over 210 locations (Unlimited)
- Smartphone Mobile Hotspot
- International Pass for $35
- Works for up to 10 days
- Data (5GB)
- Calling in over 210 sites (Unlimited)
- Smartphone Mobile Hotspot
- $50 International Pass
- Works for up to 30 days
- Data (15GB)
- Calling in over 210 locations (Unlimited)
- Smartphone Mobile Hotspot
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Which Method of Internet Access is Best?
There are plenty of options for an internet connection on your camper. Different ways offer different advantages. It depends on you and your budget. You are the only person to decide what works best for you.
Should I get satellite internet for my RV?
Getting a separate satellite internet for your RV may look intimidating at first. But it is not that complicated a process. The internet service may not be as efficient as you would expect. Again, it will cost you equipment with a huge price tag on it. You can always find better options than getting satellite internet.
What is RV Wi-Fi?
RV wi-fi is a type of caravan accessories that provides internet. Generally speaking, the RV wi-fi covers up to 50 meters from where you set it. It is a handy component to have for camping since it allows you to use data while traveling. It can provide internet services to multiple devices at the same time.
What Is Cellular Booster for an RV?
A cellular booster is a device that boosts or increase the signal of your internet connection. Typically, you can get the service of two signal bars from only one using a booster. It will increase the network range. You can spend from $30 to $500 depending on the features you want.
What is a hotspot device?
A hotspot device is a device that has internet access with cellular data and can be used as a wi-fi network connection to other devices. You can find different hotspot devices in the market. T Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, Netgear, etc. They start from $100 to higher.
You can also use your smartphone as a hotspot device. Make sure you have bought an internet package or have access to your cellular data. Turn on your mobile hotspot option. If password-protected, then enter the password with the device you want to connect with, and it’s done.
However, we recommend having a hotspot device rather than tethering your cell phone for an internet connection.
Many people think that going camping means becoming disconnected from the rest of the world, whether you want it or not.
Hopefully, after reading our article, you know better. Now, whenever you are putting off camping because there is no internet outdoors, think again. So, get your camper ready for a trip and choose the perfect data plan for you. Your journey awaits!