Now, first of all, we have to admit that living in an RV comes with its pros and cons. At a certain point, you have to sacrifice certain things that no longer serve you. And at some other points, there are certain things that you simply cannot live without. One of these things that we are going to discuss today is the RV internet connection.
In the past, people used to connect via a dial-up modem that can be found at an RV park. All you have to do is simply to plug it and you got yourself a connection. However, the drawback of this method is that the internet is very slow, which can quite annoying sometimes.
Moreover, you will have to track the best location where you can easily access the service with high speed connection and use your time wisely. However, this won’t last very long because of another camper is waiting in line.
Now, with technological advancement, staying connected is given and accessible to everyone no matter where you are. Technology has made it easier for us to stay in contact with our family, friends and beloved ones when we are traveling.
The common issue, however, is how to choose the best RV internet service and what are the best possible options available on the market. In this case, the challenge lies heavily on what kind of internet connectivity you are expecting to have and how much money you are ready to spend per month/ or per year.
Many Internet company services offer its users a poor connecting experience by providing them with worst networking services and charging them extra money for other untold things.
In this article we are going to highlight the different and several options for internet access that you can get for your RV, what are the best and most convenient options and what are the things that you should keep in mind when purchasing one.
Here are some of the available options.
Cellular, DSL/Cable, Satellite Internet Access, Free Wi-Fi
How to Get Internet In An RV?
RV internet access differs from one location to another and from one service to another. The first thing you have to do in order to get internet in your RV is to look for a prime source of a signal. For this reason, we have listed 4 common options that are available for RV users and can be used whenever you are.
Starting off the list with the most expensive option which is Satellite net provider
This option perfectly works in the most remote and isolated areas you can possibly think of as it is highly mobile. Apart from being expensive, this one requires some heavy gadgets that come with it including hardware that can cost up to 10.000 dollars depending on the setting up system and what kind of hardware you chose.
How does it work?
It may sound difficult to mount and operate a satellite service but, in fact, it’s not that hard. One thing you should keep in mind that Satellites systems that are designed for internet connection aren’t the same ones that the RV owners use to operate their TV channels.
However, it might be possible to add a tool that can support your TV once you purchase an internet satellite service.
First, you need exterior equipment like a satellite dish that can be mounted on top of your RV roof cover or on a tripod (we will further discuss the perks of each one of these). They should be installed as a separate subsidiary unit.
Second, you need to choose one of the mentioned providers. In fact, there are 4 main and primary internet satellite system providers: Wildblue, Skyway, Starband, and HughesNet. The later is the most used one by RV owners.
Third, insider equipment like a modem is required. Last but not least, you need to have a cable in order to be able to connect all these together to your computer/ pc. You can purchase both the satellite dish and the internet modem online, you will be able to find quite good deals and great offers.
When it comes to the installation part, you either can place on a rooftop as we mentioned or on a tripod.
The advantages of placing it on a rooftop are:
- The fact that you won’t use any additional space.
- Automatically programmed: that means these units tend to operate automatically with no need of adjustment or whatsoever.
The cons, on the other hand, are the fact that you need to find the perfect parking location to avoid any line interference.
When it comes to a tripod, it offers you versatility and saves your wallet at the same time. You don’t really need to worry about where you are going to park your RV. However, the thing with Tripod is that you have to set it up and dismantle it every time you use it. More importantly, you have to store it carefully in order to avoid damaging it.
Some of the cons of using satellites apart from the above-mentioned ones include the conditioned access policies set that diminish your searching speed, slow speed during peak times, and finally possible changing weather circumstances( like rain, heavy snow, fog, lightning…).
Usually, the time that people are mostly connected with a data satellite unit service is the afternoon period up to 11:00 PM. Latency is another drawback especially if you are using Skype or other similar applications.
This one highly relies on much you spend your time on internet connection and on how much you are capable of paying. For this type on internet access, you will need a smartphone and a data shop. One thing you should know is that cellular is the popular option as it provides superior internet service and it’s easy to use.
If you are one of those who are addictively using the internet to get their things done like sending emails, replying to messages, keeping up today with news fashion and so on, then this option is the perfect one for you. You will able to stay online all the time.
Most of the cellular providers provide offers that allow you to obtain high-speed connection and it totally depends on the amount of data that will be used. Each offer comes with a price but they are usually affordable unless they include other advanced features that it might get pricey.
Make sure to carefully research and browse the available offers. Some offers may not include other needed coverage and then you end up paying for more. Sometimes you can find good deals, discounts, and excellent offers.
If you are simply not an internet addict, then this one is for you. You can connect temporarily unless you are ready to hit your next stop. Free WIFI is usually available in RV parks, gas stops, coffee shops, city center sometimes. It totally depends on where you are. This is not the greatest option for those who have to stay online 24/7.
How does it work?
As easy as it may sound, your smartphone can use wireless towers to upload and download data. It switches to a wireless connection tool. Your internet surfing experience will depend on the quality and the type of network you chose to connect with.
Nowadays, parks are finding new ways to provide free wifi for people by mounting more and more wifi network services.
If you happen to be in an RV park, you can easily connect to the park hotspot. For those, who are not familiar with the hotspot term, it basically means an area where people are able to have internet access by simply using WIFI connection.
However, it is recommended to ask before you start using any of these hotspots as some services actually charge fees for users who are utilizing their services.
DSL or Cable
This is only suitable for the RV park bound. They offer an excellent high speed internet connection which is a great option for RV owners. However, if you are continuously in motion, this might not be your deal.
How much Does RV Internet Cost?
Each of these options varies in price except for the free WIFI obviously because it’s for FREE. As the prices differ from one provider to another, you need to compare the price rates in your area and choose the one that best fits with your budget and your choices.
The best choice, in this case, is the free wifi you don’t have to pay a cent as you will be able to freely connect to one of the networks available in your area. But, remember, this is only for temporary use.
On the other hand, you might spend some hundred dollars that can reach up to 400 dollars per month while using satellite internet service or by using cellular; again it totally depends on your provider.
As you can tell RV internet access can’t be just an installation that happens only once. Living in an RV requires you to adapt to the circumstances of the location and adjusting your needs and budgets accordingly.
Therefore, depending on your next location, you need to do some research on what is the best internet connection would work the best. Many RV owners recommend using a mixture of different internet services and networks and to abide themselves only by one.
Moreover, another important factor you need to take into consideration is your own data security. Yes, if you are mostly using free WIFI most of the time, your information and data can be at risk. They are for free but they are not secure.
The last thing you want to happen to you is your information is floating everywhere to the world to see. For this reason, you need to make some planning and do some banking while you are at it. the best option, in this case, is to use your cellular and keep your data safe.
Living without internet connection access is becoming a hard task to keep up with, especially if you are living in an RV and you work as a freelancer or simply you want to connect with your beloved ones once in a while or just to check out your social media and see what’s new out there in the world.
Simply put, the internet is one essential part of our everyday life that we cannot go without. While getting internet access in your RV sounds like a challenging task, it’s actually much easier than you think. In fact, your location and the amount of data you usually use is what is going to determine your budget and your network provider.
As you can see in this article, there are 4 ways to get internet connection in your RV either through satellite service, cellular, Free WIFI or DSL/ cable.
Satellite service is the most expensive and complicated one. The DSL isn’t the most convenient either as it only works perfectly in RV parks bounds. We are left with Free WIFI and cellular internet usage.
Free wifi is usually available everywhere in suburban areas and in areas that have coffee shops, malls and gas stations and more. While these are the most affordable and easy to use, Free WIFI is not that safe and may harm your data.
In summary, your internet selected method relies on your budget and on your needs. Not only that but also at the level of internet usage per day/month/year. One thing you should take into consideration is the security measures.
Not all Networks and services are safe to use, they can easily have access to the information in your mobile without your knowledge or permission. Therefore, it is important to make sure and to take the necessary precautions to guard your data and your personal information. This will give you peace of mind and enjoy staying connected the whole time with no prior worries.
If you liked this article you might be interested with our other RV how-to articles.