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How Do RV Internet Boosters Work?

You have a few options for getting online while on the road. One of those is using an RV internet booster.

But how do they work? Are they worth the investment?

We’ll look at RV internet boosters and answer a few questions. Plus, we’ll dispel some myths that often surround them.

So if you’re curious about what an RV internet booster is and how it can help you stay connected while on the go, keep reading!

What’s an RV Internet Booster? 

RV internet boosters are essential tools for RV enthusiasts on the go. Whether camping in the remote wilderness or parking at a busy campsite, getting reliable internet access can be tricky.

An RV internet booster gives you better signal reception, stronger connections, and faster speeds. This makes streaming music and movies, playing games online, and staying connected with loved ones or work much more manageable.

How Do Boosters Connect to the Internet? 

RV internet boosters capture a cellular signal with a small antenna outside the rig. It travels through a wire into a device inside the RV. That device boosts the signal and transmits it to your devices via an indoor antenna.

This wireless signal strengthens your devices, providing more reliable internet access.

Some people confuse RV internet boosters with WiFi extenders. Though people often use the terms interchangeably, they are different devices serving unique functions.

A real RV internet booster works, as we stated. A WiFi extender (or repeater) captures a wireless internet signal from a router or repeater (like a campground’s WiFi signal), not a cellular signal from a cell tower. It then amplifies and transmits that signal to your devices.

Man using laptop at night while sitting in front of RV
Always have an internet connection, even while camping in the wilderness, with an internet booster.

How Far Will an Internet Booster Go?

Theoretically, an internet booster can reach up to about 2,500 square feet, depending on the model you buy and the technology it employs. It’s theoretical because even the best technology has limitations.

The strength of the original signal has an effect on the power of the signal the booster amplifies. The weaker the signal, the less there is to transmit, which lessens its reach.

Interference can also limit the booster’s reach. That could come from conflicting electronic signals impeding the one the booster transmits. It could also be in the form of different objects or walls. 

However, an RV internet booster should typically reach almost anywhere inside your rig. In many cases, it could extend the signal outside your rig as well.

Do WiFi Boosters Need to Be Wired?

Neither internet nor WiFi boosters need to be wired to work. A wired setup can make a difference, but it isn’t often available to RVers.

An RV internet booster is not wired. It pulls in a signal that a cellular tower or cellular repeater transmits. It captures that signal via an antenna, amplifies it, and transfers it to your devices

A WiFi booster can work the same way. If you are at a campground providing a WiFi signal. Your WiFi booster would capture that signal and transmit it to your devices like an RV (cellular) internet booster. 

If you are at a rare campground or other location offering an ethernet or coaxial cable for internet service, you can wire it into your booster. That would provide the strongest possible signal. Then your WiFi booster could send that signal out wirelessly to your devices.

Pro Tip: Invest in one of these Best RV Wi-Fi Boosters to always have a great connection no matter where you go.

Woman using laptop while relaxing in RV
Not all RV internet boosters are created equal, but by investing in a quality one you will ensure you always have internet on the road.

Where Is the Best Place to Put an Internet Booster?

When capturing a cellular signal with your RV internet booster, there are a few steps to take. There is an outdoor and indoor set-up.

First, you will have an outdoor antenna that you want to place as high as possible in as clear of an area. If your antenna is in the middle of a tree grove, it will have difficulty locking onto a clear signal.

Most people roof mount the outdoor antenna on their RV or have a stand with a telescoping pole to raise it as high as possible.

It would be best if you placed the indoor antenna in the main living quarters of your rig or wherever you need the most connectivity.

When you receive a strong enough signal, the amplification and indoor antenna should reach anywhere in most RVs. However, the best connectivity will still be near the indoor antenna.

Do WiFi Boosters Work With Any Router?

A WiFi booster extending the reach of a router signal should work with almost any router. There can be some exceptions, as WiFi and cellular technology have many carriers. Some use proprietary technologies or functions that complicate matters. 

However, most cellular internet boosters will work with cell signals, and most WiFi boosters will work with WiFi signals.

Man using iPad and RV internet booster inside RV
WeBoost, KING, Winegard, and SureCall are all excellent internet booster options.

What’s the Difference Between a WiFi Extender and WiFi Booster?

This is a simple question with a complicated answer. A WiFi extender and a WiFi booster are similar devices that improve your WiFi coverage. 

The difference is that an extender extends the signal range from a WiFi router. For instance, it may intercept a signal barely reaching one part of your rig and then extend it to the other end.

A booster captures the signal, amplifies it, and then rebroadcasts it. It effectively extends the reach of the original signal by creating a new network. By rebroadcasting the signal, it is also easier for more devices to connect.

An RV internet booster extends the range of the original cell signal. It captures the original signal, boosts it, and then rebroadcasts it as a new network like a WiFi booster.

What Is the Best Internet Booster for an RV?

The best internet booster for an RV can change daily. There are many good products on the market, but technology changes so frequently that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for everyone.

First, these are the companies that we trust. Over time, the track records of WeBoost, KING, Winegard, and SureCall have made them the standard for most RVers. 

Winegard ConnecT is a go-to, robust solution for connecting to multiple technologies. It’s not the cheapest solution, but it is an excellent option to get better connections to WiFi and cellular networks.

When capturing and boosting cellular signals, WeBoost, KING, and SureCall have excellent options and a range of price/performance capabilities.

You’ll probably need to do a little research and comparison shopping to get the perfect fit for your connectivity needs and travel style.

Pro Tip: Don’t get stuck with sluggish internet by using these 5 Easy RV Internet Hacks.

Are Internet Signal Boosters Worth It?

If you want to stay connected while on the road, internet signal boosters are worth the investment. How much you invest depends on how much you rely on being connected and what you need to do online.

For folks who only want to check their emails, surf the web, or stream movies, it doesn’t take much effort to stay connected. A cellular internet booster helps you go to more places while having a cell signal in case of emergencies. So it’s also an excellent safety feature.

The technology is so good, and the prices are so affordable that if you want to be online, there is a way to do it. And you should!

What form of RV internet connection would work best for you? Tell us in the comments!

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