RV Internet Access
RV internet access is of growing importance and when RV Security is is needed, having good internet service and wifi are almost always necessary.
Many full timers want full time access, and even part-time RV'er want to be online, search the web and send email.
Technological advances provide more choices for RV'er internet access and the following are the solutions that we at Infinite RV & Marine recommend from the least desirable to the best and most consistent available today.
1. Satellite RV Internet Access
A way to have RV internet access is the use of a satellite system
– mounted roof top or as a separate auxiliary unit. These give you
RV internet access only when you are stopped. RV internet satellite
systems are not cheap, and with the demise of MotoSat, there are
really no inexpensive automatic acquisition solutions.
Pros and Cons:
The greatest advantage to satellite internet is that you can be highly mobile and have internet service even in remote areas where wired connections or wireless services are not available. All you need is a clear view of the southern sky.
However there are some drawbacks to satellite internet service: high cost, decrease in download speed during peak hours, restrictive access policies, latency and weather related problems. Hardware costs range from about $1300 into the tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the type of equipment and set up.
2. Cable RV Internet Park Access
In the past, the most basic approach to RV internet access was to just plug in to a dial-up modem at a campground. Many campgrounds had at least one connection in their parks. The main disadvantages of this method are slow speeds, having to trek to the campground office or
wherever the connection is located, waiting your turn or having to limit your time to give another camper their turn. In the past, this was about the only way to get RV internet access, but in the current web-based world, it does not meet the needs of most RV'er.
Sometimes campgrounds offer phone or cable connections for RV internet access at the individual sites. Usually the visiting RV'er needs to activate these connections by calling the phone or cable company. For the RV'er who is going to be staying awhile, this can be a good means of high speed RV internet access via broadband or DSL connections. But for the visitor on the move who only spends a few days or weeks in a given spot, this is usually not a viable means for internet access on the road.
3. WiFi RV Internet Access from the Park
Wi-Fi is a big improvement for getting RV internet access. A computer with an 802.11 (Wi-Fi) card or adapter should get you online in the comfort of your own RV.
More and more parks are installing WiFi networks. The RV'er connects to the park’s wireless “hotspot”, much like the hotspots now found in many locations across the country – in airports, truck stops, coffee shops like Starbucks, convenience stores, restaurants and so on.
WiFi data speeds are much improved over dial-up. The speed and range of the reach will vary depending on the specific WiFi network and configuration at a given park. We have been fortunate to find some very fast access, but have also used WiFI connections that are just so-so.
Also be aware if a park does offer WiFi RV internet access – you may not be able to access the network from all sites in the campground, so ask when you make the reservation or check in.
4. Wireless (Cellular ) RV Internet Access
Full timers or “most-timers” are seeking a 24/7 internet access connection (or as close to 24/7 as they can get). They want RV connectivity at any park. They want access when they are boon docking or in remote locations.
They need to send email, do their online banking, look up directions and do the usual web browsing. Ideally, they would like to be online while going down the road.
One way to go is to use a cell phone and/or wireless provider for internet access. Wireless providers include companies like Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, etc.
Most of the wireless providers have plans and devices that allow you to connect, with options for the amount of data usage with many offering unlimited data packages. These are generally high speed connections. AT&T, Verizon and Sprint have a plan that include about 6GB of data usage for about $60/month.
Note that the various wireless providers often have separate voice and data coverage maps – so read the fine print as you browse the wireless provider websites. You can often obtain a device at a discount when signing up for a data plan.
The advantages of wireless internet access – it is compact and may get you a connection going down the road. You probably can’t count on coverage everywhere, but you will have internet access in an increasing number of locations. Speeds continue to improve as technology evolves. A mix of WiFi where available and wireless connections elsewhere may give you adequate RV internet access. It has worked for us.
We have been very happy with our use of a Verizon wireless data plan with a Hotspot and a good laptop for RV internet access.