RV camping is all about living a mobile life and enjoying the great outdoors. But it’s also about having modern conveniences like a comfortable bed and a fully-stocked kitchen. For many travelers, having RV wifi is nonnegotiable — it’s something needed to stay in touch with family members or to complete remote work while out on the road.
Thankfully, figuring out how to get wifi in an RV isn’t as challenging as it was in the not-so-distant past. Whether you’re thinking of using a mobile hotspot or setting up an RV wifi antenna, we’re here to help you find the perfect solution for your rig.
One of the easiest ways to get internet is to use your cell phone as an RV wifi hotspot. Most phone plans include an option for using your device as a hotspot, meaning you can activate the wifi on your phone and create a mini internet network to provide service for your computer or tablet. Although this is the simplest option, it can be quite expensive if this is your primary method of internet connection. Plus, it’s not the best way to stream video if you plan on watching Netflix or other streaming services.
You can also purchase a separate mobile hotspot, which works basically the same way without draining your phone battery. These typically involve paying a monthly bill depending on your internet usage.
If you’re using a mobile data plan, you may want to invest in an RV wifi booster. These devices improve your service coverage by boosting and expanding your signal from nearby cell towers.
RV Wifi Installation
For a more permanent solution, installing satellite internet for RV use is a great way to make sure you have access to the internet pretty much anywhere. That said, it can be among the most expensive type of connection for RVers — mobile satellite internet can cost thousands of dollars to install and maintain.
Keep in mind that satellite internet and satellite TV are two very different beasts. If you see a satellite TV company advertising bundled services with internet, proceed with caution. Many times, the internet provided by these services isn’t actually satellite internet, which will be of no use to you when you’re boondocking in the middle of nowhere.
For RV satellite internet, you’ll need to contact a service provider like HughesNet or Mobile Satellite Technologies for installation. To learn more about satellite options, check out our companion article here.
Internet for Campers
These days, many parks and campgrounds provide RV internet service for guests. Depending on where you’re staying, you may be able to connect via wifi or through an ethernet connection. For the weekend RVer, this is a great option that’s affordable and easy to use.
If you plan on relying on public wifi services, buying a wifi extender antenna is one way to ensure a good connection. These devices allow you to pull the signal from a far away router and connect more reliably.
The downside, of course, is you can never be sure of reliability or speed. Security is another concern — when you’re connecting to a public network, you can’t be sure whether your information will be compromised.
Reviewing the Best RV Wifi Options
Whether you’re in a camper, a fifth-wheel, or a motorhome, wifi is almost as necessary as your connection to water and sewer! But let’s be real — not everyone needs the fastest, more reliable internet at every minute of every day. After all, the whole point of being in an RV is to enjoy nature, right?
For the casual RVer, we recommend using your phone as a mobile hotspot. This is enough to ensure you have enough signal to check your email or post your vacation photos while still having a secure connection.
If you’re a full time RVer or someone who needs to stay in touch with the office, purchasing a mobile hotspot will almost certainly do the trick. It’s slightly more expensive, but still private and easy to use.
Finally, if your travels involve adventuring to remote areas — or if you can comfortably afford it in your budget — satellite internet is your best bet.
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