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Which RV Internet Setup is Right for You?

Published on May 15th, 2024 by Rene Agredano

For many of us, deciding which RV internet setup to get is as important as choosing an insurance policy for our camper. Whether you’re still working like me, or just want a reliable way to keep in touch with family, reliable internet is a must. Unfortunately, getting online isn’t nearly as easy or affordable as plugging into campground electricity and sewer. That’s why I recently turned to an expert provider to find out how to make it easier and cheaper to get RV internet. Here’s what I learned.

Thoughts on best RV internet options iRV2 Discussion Forums
“Thoughts on Best RV Internet Options,” iRV2 Discussion Forums

How to Choose the Right RV Internet Setup for Your Needs

In a perfect world, RV internet would be easy to access, all the time. Unfortunately, that just isn’t reality if you travel around the US. When you rely on your cell phone hotspot for Internet access, you’ll find that rural areas often lack enough cell towers for a good signal. I wanted to learn why poor RV internet service happens so often. And most importantly, how we RVers can work around these frustrating situations. For answers I turned to Andy Murphy from MobileMustHave.com, an RV internet solutions provider.

What type of internet user are you?

Before signing onto any data plan, remember that we all have slightly different needs and challenges when it comes to internet usage. The success of our connectivity is largely related to how we need to use it. Murphy explained that generally, RVers tend to fall into two groups of internet consumers; the casual user, and the power user.

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First, there’s the casual RVer. These folks are either retired or someone who uses a camper for weekend getaways and summer vacations. They are travelers are ready to explore without looming work deadlines or Zoom calls. If that’s you, a good connection that lets you get online for activities like streaming and video calls will do you just fine. Sometimes that’s as simple as using free campground wi-fi or adding a wi-fi extender to pick up free internet from the campground office.
The other group is the working RVer, like me. We are mobile RV internet power users who require robust internet connections that support our nomadic lifestyle. Whether we are full-time RVers or weekend warriors, we often need to work from our destinations, even in remote areas. A simple mobile hotspot device doesn’t always cut it.

An RV Internet Setup Plan for Casual and Retired RVers

Cellular broadband RV internet setup options have improved over the years. Equipment is getting better, but what is even more impressive is that you no longer have to cobble together boosters and other hardware just to get a reliable internet connection. Nor do you have to purchase multiple cellular subscriptions with different hardware to keep you covered wherever you camp.

I discovered MobileMustHave.com while looking for a better mobile internet plan for our trip through Alaska. Not being a networking expert myself, I was relieved when Murphy described how his company helps all types of RVers get online, not just the tech-savvy ones.

“Our solutions are designed to make the difference between making an important phone call or not,” says Murphy. He and the MobileMustHave.com team hand pick and recommend products that are easy to use for any type of RVer. The gear is high quality, and only something they put in their own RVs.

Equipment built for any type of tech user

According to Murphy, Peplink is their hardware of choice. It’s rugged, military grade, and certified by all us cellular carriers. This certification assures customers get reliable technical support, but thankfully, that doesn’t happen too often. Peplink has a well-deserved reputation for making the most reliable and robust internet gear. It’s connectivity hardware preferred by first responders and the military to keep them connected through FirstNet, a high-speed cellular internet network open only to first responders during emergencies. Outside of critical events, a Peplink router can enable civilians to seamlessly jump onto FirstNet if all other provider towers are overloaded.

“Whether you’re connected to a cellular network, pubic Wi-Fi, campground Wi-Fi, Starlink, or any other type of internet connection, this one device can keep you connected no matter where your adventure takes you,” Murphy explains.

One of the MobileMustHave.com data plans that seamlessly works with Peplink hardware is the M-Series data plan. The M-series is a great option for RVers who only want more data, or want to expand their coverage without paying for multiple data plans. “It works with all carriers, and any compatible Peplink device. It’s one subscription that’s good with any cellular provider, but you connect to one carrier at a time. So if you get to a spot that only has AT&T (and you have Verizon), it will switch over to AT&T. Or vice versa.”

How Much Data Do You Need?

The hardest part of choosing the best RV internet setup is guessing how much hotspot data you might each month. Hotspot data is what you use when your tablet, laptop or other device gets online through a secondary device. This is what determines the cost of your cellular data plan with any provider, whether it’s T-mobile or MobileMustHave.com, “Most people need about 300 to 500 GBs of data each month, especially if you’re not working. But that amount allows you to stream movies every night and Facetime with family as you’re traveling around,” says Murphy.

Now, whether you’re a low-tech RVer with zero knowledge of networking hardware, or someone who wants a more custom solution, you can stay connected regardless of your hardware on-board, camping location, or cellular carrier. Just choose your monthly data plan and the rest is shipped to you for instant access. The company partners with the Mobile Internet Resource Center to provide customer learning tools and helpful connectivity information.

For Working RVers, Here’s a More Advanced Solution

If you work from the road, there’s a more advanced internet subscription plan that Murphy says assures even better connectivity and an unlimited data plan. It’s called RoamLink, and it’s an ideal choice for working nomads. The package comes in two flavors: Roamlink Solo, and Roamlink Duo (Pro). Both include hardware, access to multiple data plans with unlimited data, and are completely plug-and-play. It also includes an antenna for a better connection to faraway cellular towers. “Putting a roof antenna on can give you five more miles of coverage,” says Murphy. This type of assurance is essential for RVers like myself who travel through remote areas such as the Alaska Highway.

Is Starlink RV Internet a Better Setup?

Many RVers rave about Starlink for remote camping. But is a satellite internet service really necessary all of the time? “Starlink to me is just another carrier,” explains Murphy. “I compare them to Verizon and AT&T, all which will work in some places, and won’t work in others.” He says it’s a nice-to-have addition to ensure redundancy. MobileMustHave.com is a Starlink reseller, too. But using it as your exclusive RV internet connection may fall short at times.

“Let’s say you’re in an RV park, and everyone has Starlink,” he explains. “That’s when Starlink gets really slow. And I’m honestly seeing better speeds on cell networks now because no one’s using them anymore. It used to be that if you have Verizon it was terribly slow because everyone had Verizon. And now we’re seeing that more people are putting traffic through Starlink than anything else, and it’s getting slow. You need to have multiple carriers.”

The Best RV Internet Setup is an Individual Thing

The RV lifestyle continues to attract a range of internet users with different connectivity needs. Meanwhile, the mobile living experience just keeps getting better every year. Are you a casual RVer seeking to stay connected with family? Or a working professional relying on solid internet for your mobile office? Either way, the best RV internet options in 2024 can be tailored to your specific budget, and bandwidth (usage) needs. Personally, I love the idea of choosing a plug-and-play data and hardware package. It’s a lot easier than trying to cobble everything together myself.

How about you? What’s your ideal internet setup?

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