Waiting…waiting…waiting…you are still waiting. Some call it the “spinning beach-ball of doom”, others see the “never ending” hourglass. Whichever you see it manifest as, it means the same thing. You have a bad Internet signal.
Although some think that anyone staying in an RV or travel trailer are camping—and therefore “roughing it”—the truth is that many people live full-time in their motorhomes. Others spend months out of the year traveling and experiencing the country. Even weekend RVers have reasons for wanting a decent Internet connection. So, basically, why do you want a good RV Wi-Fi signal and how do you get one?
Reasons Why You May Need Wi-Fi While Traveling or Camping
There are many reasons why you may want or even need Internet access while traveling in an RV. Some of these are:
- You live in your RV
- You work online while traveling
- Access to weather information
- Facetime with loved ones
- Relaxation, e.g.: movies, web-surfing, music
Whatever the reason for desiring access to the Internet, when you want to be online you want it to occur quickly and easily. Sometimes, however, that isn’t what happens.
The Challenges to Getting Online When Camping
Fortunately, many parks offer free Wi-Fi as one of the amenities. Unfortunately, due to FCC regulations, the range for Wi-Fi signals are limited, as transmitters are quite low powered. Signals typically travel no farther than 300 feet.
Plus, when you stay at an RV park or campground that has a lot of trees or recreational buildings, the line of sight to the transmitter may be blocked even when there are several transmitters present. This can leave you scrambling for a signal when you need it most.
The following remedies can ensure that you have a quality signal when you need it, pretty much wherever you are.
Improving an Existing Wi-Fi Signal With a Booster
One way to improve your signal is to use a Wi-Fi reception booster. Using multiple antennas coupled with an amplifier, they receive and improve Internet signals, providing better reception for your computer.
They are exceptionally easy to install and use. Just plug one into the USB port of your computer and install the drivers from the included CD. Place the booster facing the Wi-Fi transmitter and the computer provides its power. Using a USB extension cord enables you to place the booster as close to the transmitter as you need to ensure the best signal.
Improving Your RV Wi-Fi Signal With an Extender Antenna
Another option is a Wi-Fi extender antenna. Although these are typically more expensive than a signal booster, they often receive transmissions from farther away. This makes them particularly useful for those who prefer to boondock or camp in more rustic locations.
Extender antennas are equipped with longer cords than boosters. Working with a router, they don’t need to be plugged directly into a device making them great for use with iPads or phones that don’t have USB ports. They are usually installed outside the rig, but indoor/outdoor varieties are also available.
Providing Your With RV Wi-Fi Where There is No Wi-Fi
Many campgrounds don’t provide Wi-Fi at all. When there are no available Internet options, it can be helpful to have your own RV Wi-Fi hotspot via your smartphone. This allows you to use your phone as your Internet source.
Keep in mind, though, that in tree-dense areas or other rural spots, you may run into the same issues with reception. In that case, it may be a good idea to have a signal booster for your phone. Many of these plug directly into the DC outlet in your camper or car, making them a bit restrictive, but adapters are available.
Most people have known the frustration of a weak signal. Whether you are downloading a movie or uploading your most recent vacation photos to your Facebook photo album, time can seem to stand still.
By using a Wi-Fi extender antenna or signal booster, you can increase and improve your reception exponentially. By all that is good and holy, please share this with any friends or family members who travel or camp in their homes on wheels. Save them from the hair-pulling frustration that is a bad connection. Happy surfing!