Everyone wants to be connected these days. Whether your kids are into gaming or your family subscribes to Disney+, or you’re editing videos and posting to social media, having reliable internet when traveling is very important.
For some working families, it’s of utmost importance. This could keep them off the road if they can’t find consistent internet.
Let’s look closer at how RVers stay connected while traveling.
What Is the Best Way to Get Internet in an RV?
The best way to get internet is going to be different for each family. Working families will need secure, reliable, solid internet in order for parents to continue working from the road.
A retired couple may not need the same type of internet. They’re looking for something that will allow them to have video calls and stream NFL football games a couple of times a week.
So the best way to get internet is to do your research.
What does your lifestyle look like? How much internet do you need? How often will you use it?
Pro Tip: Make RV life easier for yourself with these 5 Easy RV Internet Hacks.
Three Types of RV Internet
There are three types of RV internet. Currently, only two of them are in mass use: cellular data and Wi-Fi hotspots.
Companies are still developing satellite internet, although it has a bright and optimistic future. Let’s look at these three options, and then you can decide what will work best for your situation.
Cellular data is included in your cell phone plan. Most RVers have unlimited plans with their carriers. These plans allow for roaming all over the country.
Cellular data uses cell phone towers to connect to the internet. If you’re only going to be having video calls and perhaps streaming a couple of television shows a week, using cellular data could be all you need.
But if you need data to connect your television’s Amazon Fire TV Stick or your laptop to Wi-Fi, you’ll want to take a look at a hotspot.
Wi-Fi hotspots are separate devices with separate data plans. Or your cell phone plan may also have a certain amount of data dedicated to hotspot use.
For example, an unlimited plan gives you an unlimited connection to the internet when using your phone to surf, post, and shop. But if you turn on your phone’s hotspot in the settings tab, you can then connect your Amazon Fire Stick or laptop to your phone’s internet.
This is usually a limited connection with limited data, however. So you don’t want to rely on this for heavy usage.
Many RVers choose to buy a separate device with a separate data plan to give them even more data every month. A hotspot device usually is a small black square or box.
Many don’t require extra cords or cables. You simply turn it on and connect. In the Wi-Fi settings of your laptop, you choose the hotspot from which to get your internet.
Same with an Amazon Fire Stick or gaming device.
By now, you’ve heard of Elon Musk and Starlink. Other satellite internet companies include HughesNet, Viasat, DISH, and RVDataSat. Some RVers choose (and will choose) satellite internet service because of its widespread availability.
As long as they have a clear view of the sky, they can connect to the internet. Satellite internet is different from cellular data and Wi-Fi because it connects users to the internet via satellites. There are some challenges with satellite internet, such as latency issues and small data allowances.
And if you’re traveling in a wooded location, connecting to satellites could be a problem.
What Do Full-Time RVers Use for the Internet?
Most full-time RVers practice redundancy. For example, they’ll have an unlimited cell phone plan with Verizon, and a dedicated hotspot with AT&T.
Redundancy means that if Verizon doesn’t have great service in a specific location, the travelers have a back-up with the AT&T hotspot.
Full-time RVers don’t rely on public Wi-Fi. With so many campers using the campground’s Wi-Fi connection, it’s almost impossible to surf the internet or get any work done because it’s so bogged down with users.
If you’re going to set off on the road full-time, you’ll want to have your own internet set-up.
How Do I Get Unlimited Wi-Fi in My RV?
If you need unlimited Wi-Fi in your RV, you’ll be paying a high price. But if you’re working full-time and need an unlimited connection, it’s worth it. This is why it’s important to take stock of your lifestyle and needs.
If you don’t necessarily need unlimited Wi-Fi but can get by with capped data, you’ll save money. Do your kids need to be connected every day?
Can you establish days when your kids can play their video games and days when they’re screen-free? If not, then you’ll need to look at unlimited cellular plans for your phones as well as at unlimited (or 100GB or more) data plans for a dedicated hotspot.
The three major carriers — T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T — all offer such plans. Just be prepared to pay a pretty penny for them.
Pro Tip: Are you a digital nomad working from your RV? Make sure to not do any of these Don’ts of Remote Working from Your RV!
Is It Possible to Get Reliable RV Internet in 2022?
It is absolutely possible to get reliable RV internet. You need to do your homework to identify your needs and how much data you actually use. Then you can shop around, keep your eye open for deals, and choose the best plan for your lifestyle. Families have been traveling the country for years with a reliable internet connection. So can you.
Have you figured up how much data your family needs? Let us know in the comments below!
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