How To Get Internet While Camping
Getting Internet while camping is primarily done one of two ways either through your existing cell phone provider, or through a satellite Internet service. Most boondockers use a hotspot through their existing cell phone provider because its cheaper. But if you want Internet even in the most remote locations, youll need a more expensive satellite Internet service.
How To Get Internet In The Most Remote Locations Using Satellite Internet
Cell signal is still cell signal. If there isnt a cell tower for several miles, and if there is no cabled internet to be found, are you out of luck?
There is one more option for you: Satellite internet.
Satellite internet is the most costly out of any of the other options talked about in this article, but it allows the greatest freedom since satellites are visible from most of the planets land surface. It works very similarly to how your satellite tv works.
If you are hoping to game while in the middle of nowhere though with satellite internet remember that latencies for satellite internet hang around 500ms. In other words, you really cant game online with satellite internet, unless you want to start a lag-fest.
***Update***: The satellite internet field is about to get a HUGE update that will be a GAME changer for remote internet options. Gaming with low latencies with satellite internet could actually be possible. More importantly, its a whole lot more affordable. Read about Starlink below.
How Can I Watch Tv While Camping
If you want to enjoy Netflix while camping, you will need a strong connection. While heading towards a remote campsite, depending on cell phone signals may not be enough. You need to use a signal booster or a satellite connection. Other than that, the Google Play Movies & TV App allows you to download some movies for offline viewing.
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How Much Does Mobile Satellite Internet Cost
I wont spare the pain mobile satellite internet is very pricy. The equipment can cost thousands of dollars . The cheaper satellite dish system costs $7000.
If you look closely, you can find internet service plans for satellite for under $100 a month for decent speeds.
At MobileInternetService.com you can compare multiple dish setups that are compatible with HughesNet, which seems to be a really good value. You can get a dish with a tripod setup for under $1000.
Do your research! The price in plans and in equipment varies CRAZILY.
How To Get Wifi In Rv
Wireless connection has become the go-to solution in home network setups thanks to its convenience and reliability. However, it created someterminology confusion in the process. In this context, when people ask how to get WiFi in an RV, they can mean two different things. Sometimes they will refer to atravel modem router mentioned above essentially a WiFi inside the car.
Sometimes, however, they will think about a hotspot on the RV camps premises. Going online in this way has its own set of challenges. First, such hotspots often struggle to deliver consistent speeds to all the campers. This will be especially noticeable in large areas with uneven coverage. Second, the walls of your RV will make the reception even worse. While this problem might be addressed with a WiFi booster or a repeater. However, you still end up with a subpar connection, so if you are ready to purchase a separate gadget for the Internet on the road a mobile modem is probably a better option.
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Best Internet For Weekend Rvers
- Limited coverage area
- Requires device purchase
Data as of 10/27/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
AT& T launched a new data-only plan in spring 2021 that gives you twice as much data as previous hotspot plans. Priced at $55 per month, you can get this plan and use it with a NETGEAR Nighthawk M1 Mobile Hotspot for internet in your RV.
Like any cellular data, you wont get a signal in extremely remote areas. Before you sign up, check an AT& T coverage map to make sure you plan to travel primarily within AT& T coverage areas. AT& T is the second-best network provider in the nation and gives good value for your money.
If you want to maximize your cellular connection in harder-to-reach locations, we recommend the MobilSat Enterprise Router and External Antenna setup. This will boost your wireless signal and give you better service in places like wonky campground settings.
Which Option Is Best For You
If you’re even reading this article, you’ve likely decided that staying connected is essential while RVing. The question then becomes: which option should you use? We believe there are two critical factors: how much connection you need, and what your budget is.
As discussed above, satellite internet can be a hefty investment, so it’s usually best for full-timers that need reliable connections and has the money to spare on hardware, installation, and service costs. Otherwise, you’re burning money instead, and installing a satellite isn’t an option if you’re renting an RV.
However, relying entirely on hotspots can become expensive, mainly if you use a lot of data regularly. If you’re the type of RVer that only takes the occasional trip, we recommend trying out working with your cellphone’s available hotspot options and seeing if that’s enough. Usually, you won’t break your cap with occasional use, and you don’t need to worry about adding any extra cost.
Additionally, you can choose to trust the public wi-fi available at campgrounds when it’s reliable, then use hotspots when prospects don’t look good. This approach can give you some leeway in budgeting that doesn’t leave you completely stranded if you need to make a connection.
While RV manufacturers haven’t gotten around to figuring out how to make wi-fi an included amenity, there’s still plenty of options for staying connected on the roadâyou just need to know how to find them.
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Options For Connecting To The Internet While Camping
Here are 6 different options for connecting to the internet while youre out in the woods.
1. USB One option is to buy a USB. These are little modem/routers that you plug into the side of your laptop to access 3G internet. The sticks cost anywhere from $10 to $50, depending on where you get them from and whether or not you sign up to a contract. The plans will run $30 to $50 per month, although you can buy prepaid sticks too. You will want to check the coverage of the ISP before signing up to make sure youll have a connection wherever youre camping.
2. Use Your Cell Phone to Tether Another option is to tether your connection using your cell phone. Youll want to be careful of this option though, as many carriers will charge you extra for it on top of your mobile plan because you will use more data than if you were to just use your phone. You can also drain your battery quickly.
3. Mobile Modems Mobile modems are also another option. These will set you back $50 to $250, and can be used to power multiple devices including tablets, laptops and your cell phone. Again, prices will vary depending if you get them with a carrier or if you buy them separately and just buy a data plan. Youll also want to check coverage before picking one up.
So, what do you think? Have you used one of these methods for accessing the internet while camping? Have you tried something that I dont have listed above? Id like to hear about it.
More Helpful Internet Information
Bring A Portable Hotspot
Your phone isnt the only device capable of harnessing the power of wireless WiFi connections. Getting a portable hotspot can also help if you dont feel like getting a more camping-optimized cell plan. Most cell phone providers and plenty of other companies sell personal WiFi hotspots with varying data plans. You will often find these called MiFi devices.
When you look for a portable hotspot, you want to find a blend of high-performance in key categories. These include:
- Battery life
- Antenna range
Although it can be tempting to get the cheapest option, it is worth investing in if you intend to use this quite a bit.
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The Super Geeky Solution
If you are geeky and have the right conditions you could mooch off a friend. This solution is not the easiest to set up and will definitely take the cooperation of a friend. Youll also want to make sure that you are not violating any terms of service with the Internet provider before you attempt this solution.
Basically what youre going to do is extend the already existing Internet connection at your friends or relatives house. This will require them to install an antenna on their house which will point directly to your house. Then you will install an antenna on your house which points directly to their antenna. A cable will run from your antenna and be connected to a Wi-Fi router in your house. You will have Internet access at your location through your friends or relatives internet connection. This solution will require you to have a line of sight between the two locations.
Here is a video that explains it:
Rent A Satellite Connection
If you are in a place where there is no internet access at all, then one option to look into is renting a satellite connection. This will give you fast and reliable service even if the campgrounds wifi or local hotspots dont work out for whatever reason.
One thing that makes this an attractive option is that it can be set up anywhere in the world. You can set it up at your campsite or even back home if you are traveling and want to have internet access when staying somewhere for an extended period of time.
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This is a great option because theyll bring all of the equipment that you need to get online, so there isnt any work involved on your part other than setting it up.
If you need internet while camping then these are the best options to look into based on your budget and needs.
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Do Wifi Boosters Work In Campgrounds
Campgrounds can be notorious for having a slow internet connection or for not reaching the whole park with their signal. RV wifi boosters are excellent for weak campground wifi. One thing to note: if the campground wifi is slow because too many people are using it, a wifi booster will not help make it faster.
How To Go Boondocking With Internet
Even though boondocking for many of us is mainly about getting off-grid and back to nature, we still want internet access, whether watching a movie or running a business. Developing a good boondock internet approach can certainly be a challenge. Most Bureau of Land Management sites or forested areas dont have excellent connectivity.
But with just a little bit of knowledge, you can certainly boost your boondocking internet capabilities. Were here to help you through it without breaking the bank!
Pro Tip: After reading this article, we recommend checking out the online course called MobileInternet Explained.
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Use Your Laptop As Your Hotspot:
If you want a cheap option where you can use multiple devices while you tethering, here is a good way to do it: with free downloadable programs like Connectify or mHotspot, you can use your laptop as a hotspot. I can tether my cell phone to the laptop using a USB cable and the EasyTether app, then set my laptop to be a hotspot. I can then use this hotspot for my smart TV and watch my Netflix too. Most of these downloadable hotspot programs have free trials and might have a one-time fee, but its worth it.
Why is this good? Because I am using my unlimited cellphone data plan and not the hotspot allowance. Most mobile providers dont allow you to use your hotspot over a certain limit. Tethering to my laptop with one of the above-mentioned programs allows me to use my internet with more devices.
How To Set Up Your Wi
If youre more interested in backyard camping, however, and being able to stream your movies, weve got the how-to for you.
- Most Wi-Fi extenders are plug and play. Find an outlet near where youd like to extend the signal and plug it in. For more detailed extenders, they should come with instructions on how to set up their exact system.
- Go out to the dead zone and see if youve extended the signal far enough. If not, you can try another outlet.
While each brand will have slightly different specifics, you can watch this video below of someone installing their new extender. Its a great instructional video if youre new to setting up Wi-Fi extenders in the right places. Once youve got it set up, though, its a great way to have a movie night under the stars.
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Find Your Best Internet Option By Answering The Questions Below
How vital is internet connectivity for you while traveling? If you have work deadlines to meet, health issues, or other concerns that require 24/7 connectivity, invest in the best internet you can get and have a backup plan .
Cellular Hotspotting Using Your Phone
Using a mobile phone to access the internet or hotspotting from a phone to a laptop are the most popular ways that people get online while camping. The only catch is you have to be camping in an area with cell phone service. The internet activities youll be able to use your phone for will depend a lot on how strong your signal is.
Most mobile phone plans allow you to share your internet connection from your phone with another device, such as a laptop or tablet. This is called hotspotting. Be sure to first check with your cell provider to find out if hotspotting data is part of your plan.
- To hotspot on an iPhone, go to Settings > Personal Hotspot. Switch the button to on.
- To hotspot on an Android, go to Settings > Network & Internet > Hotspot & Tethering. Toggle the button to on.
Data restrictions will applyplans give you somewhere between 3 GB and 30 GB of full-speed data per month while hotspotting. After you reach the data limit, youll have really slow speedseven if you have unlimited data. You can learn more in our guide to mobile phone hotspotting.
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Camping Gadgets For Serious Internet Addicts
Tent? Check. Bug spray? Check. Sleeping bag? Of course. Global access to information? Absolutely! When people think of camping, they tend to think of fresh air, the great outdoors and an opportunity to get away from it all. Access to the Internet isn’t generally a top priority.
For serious Internet addicts, however, staying wired in while you’re camping out can be a real concern. Even if you pack your smartphone and laptop computer, there are still remote regions of the globe where internet access remains sketchy and power sources are few and far between. Luckily, today’s wired world offers plenty of gadgets to help you stay connected. In this article, we’ll reveal our favorite gadgets for keeping your internet devices charged, finding access to WiFi, creating hotspots of your own and boosting your broadband signal — even when you’re far away from civilization. First up, let’s plug into Google Earth!
Smartphone Plans With Free Hotspot Plan
Some cell phone providers actually dont charge you extra for using the hotspot feature. Notably, T-Mobile, and Google Fi.
I cant speak personally for T-Mobile, but we actually use Google Fi, and if you arent a high data user, it is an incredibly good option that can be significantly cheaper than other cell phone plans.
Choosing a smartphone data plan with free hotspot capabilities might be a boon to you if you are in need of WiFi while youre out and about.
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