Question Is there a simple answer to internet access while RVing

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I’m bewildered with all the opinions of getting this, not that. I do this and I do that. Neal...if we were sitting around a campfire, and I asked your input to this: I’ve got a crapple phone and a WIFI Windows PC that I want to connect to the old interweb. What do I need? Is there a simple answer? I know technology is always evolving, but jeez it gets mind boggling. A shopping list, please.
 
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No
Randy,

It is daunting and there are a lot of options and tomorrow there will be new options. We all have different needs, remember I run a software biz and my needs are different from others such as how much bandwidth is used, how often I need to be connected, how critical it is that I can connect. Regardless though I've helped a lot of people that just want to not fight getting connected and enjoy Internet as we all want to be online for whatever reason or need.

You can go as simple as a hotspot device such as a Verizon MiFi 8800L which works well depending on the plan. Plans are even harder than the dang hardware choices. If you want to go more advanced then I'd suggest something in the Pepwave lineup. I'd call 5Gstore.com, 4G/5G Routers, Antennas, Boosters, WiFi, IP Switches and ask them for their advice as they are very helpful and can send you recommendations and we can help validate them. I have the BR1 MK2 LTE-A device which works great. It's not the most cutting edge but it is just a good balance of everything. There are some newer models with slightly faster modems in them (Cat 12 I think).

Try not to get overwhelmed, the first step is what are your Internet needs. How much bandwidth are you using, i.e. can a 15 GB plan work for you or do you need more. Do you want a nice system in your coach that everything connects to such as TV's, tablets, phones, Amazon Alexa (for example), temp sticks, webcam (security), on and on...

Bottom line it's nice to have a stable setup you can just not worry about Internet anymore. Then comes in if you want to put an antenna on the roof or just use the rabbit ears which for most are fine as well. It's all how good do you want to go, how much do you want to spend.
 

Jim

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I'm in the same boat. I'd like to have internet capable of streaming movies but I don't want to pay $150 a month for it, especially since I don't full time. I'd be a lot closer to finding a solution if there was a service that would roll unused data over from month to month. But I don't know of any service that does that.
 
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Well folks, like others I want internet access for our coach. We do like to stream movies from time to time although our primary TV programming is via Dish. The solution that is working for us is a dedicated cell phone that is tethered to a router. The cell provider for this set up is Visible. Admittedly it's low end but also low cost. Worse case $40/mo but can be $25/mo on their party plan. Visible uses the Verizon 4G LTE network (only) so it can have dead spots compared to a Verizon plan that will utilize other providers towers / network where Verizon 4G LTE coverage is lacking. There is a 5Mbps cap on the data rate but no limit on amount of date used, no data cap (therefore no need for data roll over) but network priority and throttling during times of tower congestion. We don't boondock or stay at many off the grid or fringe locations so this set up has worked well for us over the past 4 month.

There is a significant amount of info on Visible and the equipment & set up on that other forum... here's the link $40/month unlimited internet....interested? - iRV2 Forums
 
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Portage, MI
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2021 Chevy Trailblazer
Yes, I left out important data like use and existing cell plan.
We have an unlimited cell data plan via Verizon.
Our use is mostly email, texting (with photos and videos), internet browsing, banking, and we’d like to try some TV streaming. We would also like to use our Dish Anywhere to connect to our TV recordings at the home base.
Typically, we’re in cell ranges, but there are those times in the wilderness that cell access is just not there. We can survive those few days, maybe a week, but for our winter adventures of 4 months at a time, we want reliable internet access. I’m not opposed to a rooftop antenna and expect I’d need one. I can install all cabling and power as needed. So it’s the recommended hardware that is in question.
Thank you so much for your advice.
 
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No
This journey I've been on has tested the fringe locations. With my setup I'll link below I have not been without Internet since it was installed in Nov 2018. I have not needed nor have I used the Websoost 4G-X that's installed and I also carry a Weboost RV 65 I'm trying to sell as it has not been needed either.

What I have and use for primary:

Pepwave BR1 MK2 LTE-A Router (this allows for 2 x Cellular SIMs and does WiFi 2.4 and 5 Ghz)


Panorama 5-in-1 antenna which I recommend simply mounting on the top of your front air conditioner cover. Easy mount and highest location, it works great.

Panorama Low Profile LTE/GPS/WiFi Dome Antenna

These are picks as of Nov 2018!!! As of this writing Jan 2020 I have no need to upgrade anything, it works well.

To consider:

MAX Multi-Cellular Router > Peplink


Another site to review products and prices:

Home - LivinLite.net which their store goes to MobileMusthave.com - LTE Routers, 4G/5G ready, Antennas, Cables and Accessories

More expensive is the Cradlepoint lineup but has the only CAT 18 modem unit that I know of as of this writing in a product like this (Verizon 8800L is CAT 18 as well).


If Sprint is ever an option then you need to make sure the unit is compatible, I think only CAT 6 modems work with Sprint right now. I do use Sprint as I have their hotspot plan and sometimes it is faster by 99% of the time AT&T is my winning option. I'm fortunate to have the Mobley plan. You could try to get the Connected Car plan but it has risk, most I know of are using it fine.

I like Pepwave as it's easy to use and has a new feature called "Enforced TTL" which helps us hide that we are using a hotspot and cellular providers can slow you down if using a hotspot vs. a phone so it's tricking the system. It's helped me quite it a bit as far as I can tell by getting great speeds on the Mobley I didn't get in the past.

Again, I suggest call 5GStore.com and talk to them and get other opinions. I also welcome other opinions from anyone on this site that wants to chime in.

Just realize, this tech evolves fast, this may be something you'll want to change out every 2-3 years. We have a potential Satellite based Internet system coming in a year by Elon Musk, 5G is coming but I think it's marketing buzz right now with cellular companies using the 5G name when it's not really 5G such as AT&T uses "5G Extended" which is misleading. Marketing nonsense.
 
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"Is there a simple answer to internet access while RVing?"

The "simple answer" is NO in my experience.

TJ
 
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No
No, there is not a simple answer. Divide Internet access while RVing into two different sections and this helps:
  1. Internet Equipment for my RV (router, antenna)
  2. Internet Service - cellular plans
I can help you with #1. Want to keep it simple....get what I got. Want to explore to see if there is something better and newer, this is where 5GStore can help such as the Pepwave Transit Duo but I'm not well versed on there new subscription models or however they are selling them. It appears the Pepwave Max BR1 MK2 has come down $200 since I bought.
 
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Winegard’s RV TOGO System is a simplish answer. Good hardware underneath the hood, similar to Neal’s setup, AT&T unlimited plan comes with for $360/year.

I have AT&T on my WiFi Ranger SkyPro LTE via OTR Mobile and it is working great for me. In fact, at this very moment DW and I are streaming HBO Now, one kid is streaming Netflix, the other is playing Minecraft and I’m writing this post, all over the in-coach WiFi via AT&T.

Of course, this is all dependent on the network and your gear. The TOGO as well as Neal’s Pepwave are both better gear than the WiFi Ranger but it’s a good enough solution for my current needs.
 
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I believe TOGO is end of life, not being continued.
 
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Perhaps you might consider a sticky note without a reply option as a place keeper of what you are currently using. You can update as new things evolve. Plain a simple, no narrative. As they said on Dragnet “Just the facts sir, just the facts”.

What I am currently using for primary:

Pepwave BR1 MK2 LTE-A Router


Panorama 5-in-1 antenna

Panorama Low Profile LTE/GPS/WiFi Dome Antenna

These are picks as of Nov 2018!!! As of this writing Jan 2020 I have no need to upgrade anything, it works well.
 
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You can go as simple as a hotspot device such as a Verizon MiFi 8800L which works well depending on the plan. Plans are even harder than the dang hardware choices.
Nice summary Neal.
I have the Verizon MiFi which is fine until you hit the data cap and then you really notice a difference even though we have an unlimited data plan with Verizon. We don’t full time but I would like to find a data plan that has a compatible sim for the mifi that would allow us to use the internet for work, browsing and stream tv so we can get away from satellite tv. It’s out there but not without challenges and costs. @CaptainGizmo @redbaron and @turbopilot have posted about plan options and how to do it.
 
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The "unlimited" plans by cellular companies are criminal. It simply means they'll never block usage, they'll just slow you down to a crawl after your data cap is reached. We all know this, so we shouldn't get suckered into unlimited plans as there are very few out there that are truly unlimited. Mobile Internet Resource Center - Mobile Internet Resource Center does a good job with keeping up with plans coming and going but they do charge a subscription fee annually for the info. You can subscribe to their youtube channel which doesn't require a subscription and keeps you in the know as well.

 
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It seems and I could be wrong is they don't necessarily throttle or cap if you are using your phone or Ipad etc but once the Mifi came into our plan early last year, they made a big deal about the cap on the mifi only. For obvious reasons. Again, I have no way to prove it as I have never experienced the slow down on the other devices except for the mifi.

Here is good laugh....when we had the power outages, and DW was trying to run her company on the mifi because comcast was down, they hit the cap very quickly and when we called Verizon, they felt they were incredibly "generous" by giving us another 5 GB at no charge to help customers impacted by the outages. Go figure.
 
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The last day to sign up for the TOGO is 15 Jan 2020 and it can't be renewed so yep not good deal anymore.
 
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