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The Worst Money I Spent on My RV

We end up buying a lot of camping gear and equipment as RVers. Some purchases have been fantastic and helped us enjoy RVing, but we’ve wasted some money during our adventures. One of the worst purchases we ever made was buying a Wi-Fi booster. It was a huge disappointment and took up a tremendous amount of space.

Considering how much we rely on the internet, you may wonder why we think these are a waste of money. Let’s take a look!

What Is a Wi-Fi Booster?

A Wi-Fi booster does exactly what its name implies – it boosts Wi-Fi signals. These can be helpful when you have areas with obstructions or dead spots that reduce the quality of an internet connection. In certain situations, using a Wi-Fi booster can help you experience faster, more reliable speeds. However, they’re not the end-all-be-all solution to every slow connection you might experience.

Are RV Wi-Fi Boosters Worthless?

Staying connected to the internet is more important now than ever. With the increase in remote work and learning available for many, a solid Wi-Fi connection is imperative. However, while they can be helpful in rare instances, they’re typically not worth the cardboard box they come in when you buy them.

There’s no telling where a campground will install access points. The signal quality often isn’t as much an issue as the lackluster speeds and network congestion. These are the two biggest hurdles many RVers experience regarding Wi-Fi in campgrounds. While the Wi-Fi booster may improve the signal, it will do nothing to improve the speeds or congestion. In short, most of the time, RV Wi-Fi boosters are worthless.

Do Campgrounds Have Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi at campgrounds can be hit or miss, depending on where you’re camping. Many campgrounds pride themselves on being rustic, remote campgrounds where campers come to disconnect from the rest of the world. That’s great and all, but many RVers still want to have the option of checking an email or two while relaxing in the wilderness.

Some state parks and other campgrounds have partnerships with internet providers to provide internet to campers for a fee. However, these internet connections are typically spotty and easily congested, especially on weekends. You’re more likely to experience a quality internet connection at RV parks and luxury RV resorts. If you depend on Wi-Fi for work or school while RVing, your best option is to be self-sufficient.

How Can I Get Wi-Fi for My RV?

Depending on your needs, there are hotspot plans available from major carriers like AT&T and Verizon. These are great options for those who aren’t reliant or don’t need to use a large amount of data. You may need to purchase a separate hotspot modem or even turn on the hotspot feature on your smartphone. 

These plans use the same cellular towers for mobile phones, which means you’ll likely have a reliable connection near populated areas where the carrier has an existing network. The largest carriers have existing infrastructures across the country, which means you can travel all over and not worry about going without the internet.

The newest option for RV internet is Starlink. It’s a satellite-based internet service created by Elon Musk and his company SpaceX. You’ll need a clear view of the sky for the dish to connect with the low-earth orbiting satellites in space, which can be a problem in many campgrounds. However, if you can get a clear view of the sky, you can enjoy broadband-like speeds in your RV.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 02: Elon Musk attends The 2022 Met Gala Celebrating “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 02, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)

What’s the Difference Between a Wi-Fi Booster and a Cell Booster?

Despite their similar-sounding names, Wi-Fi boosters and cell boosters are very different. A Wi-Fi booster simply boosts the signals from Wi-Fi connections within range. On the other hand, a cell booster boosts cellular signals broadcast from cell towers in the area. Both devices are boosters, but they boost different types of signals.

Those RVers with cellular hotspots for their Wi-Fi will often utilize cell boosters to help strengthen the signals to their hotspots. This creates a more reliable and stable connection, which can mean faster speeds and fewer interruptions. The cell booster will have an exterior antenna that connects to a booster inside the RV. It boosts the signal and then sends it to an interior antenna. It then sends out the amplified signal inside the RV.

A cell booster can be extremely helpful when camping in areas with a weak cell signal. A cell booster will do absolutely nothing if there’s no cellular connection. It doesn’t magically create a signal for your favorite carrier.

Don’t Waste Your Money on a Wi-Fi Booster

If you don’t want to waste money on useless RV equipment, then don’t bother buying a Wi-Fi booster. If staying connected to the internet is that important to you, you need to invest in equipment that makes you self-sufficient. This could be a cell booster, hotspot modem, or Starlink equipment. 

You’ll likely want to be picky about where you’re camping, so you know that you’ll have service for your specific equipment. This helps avoid network congestion and any issues with the connection’s speed that are out of your control. 

Have you ever bought a Wi-Fi Booster? What was your experience?

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