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How to have Internet on the road?


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We are hoping to hit the road later this year. DH is able to work from anywhere so long as we have signal for the Internet. I hear that wifi can be hit or miss. What are the options, or are there any to be able to have Internet reliably? Believe it or not I've done research, but I don't feel like I've seen the answer yet...maybe because there is no answer???

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Your choices are wifi or cellular if you want to be moving. If you stop for months at a time, you might be able to bring cable or DSL to your campsite. RV Mobile Internet Resource Center, http://www.rvmobileinternet.com/, is the best site for information I know.


Edit: We have a 40GB Verizon Share plan with smartphones and a 5510L hotspot. We also have an AT&T Unite hotspot with a 5GB plan. Both of these route through our Pepwave Surf SOHO router, which can pull in campground wifi and repeat it under our own SSID (wifi name). That allows all our devices to know only one SSID, the Pepwave one. Most campground wifi is unreliable.

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I don't know which parts of country you'll be traveling in the most, but we've been traveling south from upstate NY to just north of the Florida border for the past week or so, and have had solid Internet service all the way, including while underway, using our Verizon data service. Off hand, I can't recall not having service anywhere we've gone other than for an occasional few miles while on the road in the mountains somewhere.

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Leslie & Mark -


I'm not an expert at this but I can share what works well for us and why we went this way.


We have the CradlePoint MBR95 in our trailer connected via USB to a Verizon Wireless Pantech UML290 modem. For us this is a great solution because:


1. We tried the Verizon HotSpot and found it flaky with poor WiFi signal strength and no ability to plug in our old ethernet cabled printer and server.


2. The MBR95 gives us our own private network that never changes with respect to IP address so we can set up our old printer and server to have static IP addresses and never have to change them regardless of how we get our Internet.


3. When we can, we connect the MBR95 to broadband land cable such as DSL or cable modem. When those aren't available the MBR95 automatically picks up the Verizon Wireless Internet connection through the Pantech UML290.


4. The MBR95 is mounted high in the trailer allowing us to get pretty good reception for the UML290 and wide coverage for our private WiFi. We plug the printer and server into the hardwire ethernet ports on the MBR95.


5. We have used the MBR95 to get WiFi as WAN when the RV park had good Internet but to be honest this has not worked well for us. Piggy-backing off the RV WiFI often seems like the RV network is overloaded or just plain too slow.


This solution has been very reliable - my wife used to really complain about the HotSpot but I never hear any issues about the MBR/Pantech solution. We've used this all over the west (TX, NM, AZ, CO, NV, ID, OR, WA) and it's worked well.


Hope this helps.







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We've been working on the road remotely since 2006 - mobile internet is essential for us. We find it takes building an arsenal of solutions, as the options are so variable out there depending on your style of travel. We like to mix it up - boondocking lots, staying in public parks and occasional RV Parks.


For us, our current solution is a heavy dose of both Verizon and AT&T data plans, with some cellular boosting equipment and WiFi repeating gear for those times we find usable WiFi.


Our current setup is documented and illustrated here:




We also are the hosts of the RV Mobile Internet site mentioned above (thanks Bill!) - which we created as a result of all the questions we field about this topic :) We offer a free overview of the options at http://www.rvmobileinternet.com/overview - and also have a book, a membership service and do offer personalized advising too.


Best wishes... may the bandwidth be with you!

- Cherie

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The last couple of years we have used my smartphone to create a hot spot using Verizon wireless. We have found that this works most places. This past summer we added a Wilson signal amplifier. The Wilson was needed in several locations where the Verizon signal was poor. We also use RV park wifi when it works.


We also have an internet satellite dish. I stopped using it about a year ago because it was slow and Verizon became very reliable. At some point maybe Hughes or Via Sat (sat internet companies) will offer mobile options. If that happens we might get sat internet again. I have one phone that still has a Verizon unlimited data plan.

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We have the Verizon Jet Pack. Our travels have taken us from AZ to PA to WA, south to TX, never had any trouble staying connected, except in mountainous areas.

"never" and "except" should not be in the same sentence.

We carry an AT&T hotspot as a secondary, because we have encountered places Verizon does not work, while AT&T does work. This includes campsites in WA and MI. A friend is camping in FL right now where only AT&T works.

We also earned the hard way that Sprint was not a good second choice, it rarely has service where Verizon does not.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Any idea how much data is needed to be connected to VPN 8-12 hours a day?

Like so many things, it depends. Different needs (or desires) will determine how much data you are moving through that VPN.


If you, like me, only need to have the Internet in order to configure devices remotely (routers, *nix servers, etc.), read and respond to email, and just surf around on forums then you won't be passing much data.


On the other hand, if your job (or hobby) involves editing video then you're going to be moving quite a bit of data through that VPN. If you just like to stream Netflix or Amazon Prime videos and movies then you will be moving a LOT of data through that VPN. (And keep in mind that the VPN does add some latency to the system.)


If you are day trading I don't think it would be anything close to video or audio steaming. The VPN does add some data overhead but it's not significant. I suspect you could do day trading on a 10gb (per month) link over your VPN.


Like several others here we use my Verizon cell phone with a Wilson Sleek (and external antenna) to tether tablets and laptops while the wife's AT&T smartphone (with a grandfathered "unlimited" plan) is used as a backup.


My experience with WiFi on the road has been less than stellar. Significantly less. Even with a Ubiquiti Titanium Bullet mounted on the roof. The only really satisfactory WiFi we've seen on the road has been at the SKP Park Sierra co-op in the mountains above Fresno, CA where I had connections that rivaled our Stix'N'Brix. Whoever designed their system certainly knew what they were doing.



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While it may not be the best solution in all cases, most local libraries now have wifi (sometimes at a nominal fee) that can be used to move larger files such as video or images. I am a freelance photographer that has recently joined the ranks of FT. So far, we have been lucky enough to be in areas where we have had pretty good wifi. I know that will inevitably change, but knowing that in a pinch I can use libraries, Starbucks or McDonald's wifi ( if I am in NO hurry!) is at least a little comforting. You are definitely in the right place to get a good answer. There are some pretty smart (and experienced) people here!

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Really depends on where you want to go and how off-grid you want to be. We love being out in the sticks, far from cities, which requires us to use our satellite Internet system. Not saying you should get it, especially if you need to be on a VPN, which others have said doesn't work with sat. But whether you stick to wireless broadband or use sat like we do, having a secondary backup provider when you're working on he road is critical. We've found that Verizon works for us when our sat is being quirky. And when Verizon has been unavailable, our dish keeps us connected.

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