Whether you’re hitting the road on vacation headed to the National Parks or preparing for life as a full-time RVer, you may be looking for solutions to ensure you’ve always got a connection when it comes to cell phone coverage or internet service. Public WiFi or a mobile hotspot may work in certain scenarios, but what we’ve learned in our travels is that you need to have several options, and you need to maximize the coverage of these options.
Well yes - and you have options! We’re sharing our current RV Internet Setup that provides us with multiple networks, making it possible to work remotely, plus how we increase our cell phone signal - and of course how we are able to stream our favorite shows from YouTubeTV and Netflix (which if you know me … you know I need!).
While there are a number of options available, here is an overview of the equipment that we use:
Cell Phone Data Verizon: 3 cell phones with 30 GB hotspot data each Verizon: 2 MiFi Jetpacks with 30 GB hotspot data each T-Mobile: 100 GB Prepaid Mobile Data Plan AT&T: Unlimited Data Plan
Cell Modem and Antenna
Netgear 6000450 MIMO Antenna Netgear Nighthawk M1 Mobile Hotspot 4G LTE Router
ASUS WiFi 6 Router
Signal Booster weBoost Connect RV 65
Our weBoost system is comprised of 3 pieces: 1. Outside Directional Antenna 2. WiFi Booster 3. Inside Panel Antenna
The outside directional antenna is a 25’ tall telescoping pole, and it maximizes signal reception from the nearest cell tower. The antenna receives the signal reception from the cell tower, and that signal is delivered through a coaxial cable which is connected from the outdoor antenna to the booster, and then from the booster to the indoor antenna.
Reasons why we chose this weBoost:
1. It takes just 10 minutes to setup or tear down, making it easy for travel
2. Ability to pinpoint specific cell towers, through use of app such as Cell Mapper (this was incredibly handy when we stayed at Thousand Trails Orlando. The nearest cell tower coverage was overloaded and we were able to connect to a tower farther away and get a better signal!)
WiFi Network #1 - Powered by ASUS Router and AT&T sim
weBoost receives and boosts cell signal >> Netgear MIMO Antennas signal is boosted >> Netgear Nighthawk M1 Router, fitted with AT&T sim, receives boosted signal and is connected to our ASUS Router via ethernet cable producing WiFi Network.
Because this network is powered by our AT&T Unlimited Data Plan, this is our primary network that we use for our laptops, and to stream Netflix and YouTubeTV - which we use to watch local and cable channels.
(We can also use the T-Mobile or Verizon data sims in place of AT&T in a 5G cell phone tethered to the ASUS router should the AT&T service not perform well)
WiFi Network #2 - Powered by Cell Networks
weBoost receives and boosts cell signal >> Cell Phones + Jetpack signals are boosted >> Hotspot networks available
Typically once we are setup in a new location, we will first run a speed test on our primary network (WiFi Network #1) to determine what tweaks, if any, will need to be made. We run that network primarily using the AT&T sim because we have the unlimited plan, but can swap out to use T-Mobile or Verizon in place of a low signal. We can also make adjustments to the weBoost by using an app such as Cell Mapper to determine alternate cellular tower locations that may produce a stronger signal.
While this setup works great for us, please know that this may not be the perfect solution for you. Depending on your personal needs and situation - you may want to consider some alternate options like satellite internet, or Camp Pro (WiFi extender) which could be great alternatives if you are able to secure a distant WiFi signal most of the time.
Let us know if this is helpful, or what questions you have? We will do our best to answer them based on the knowledge and experience we have had with items we’ve tested.
How many gigs of data do you use in a month? We average 350GB a month, and that includes streaming YouTube TV and Netflix
This originally appeared on stairsup_handlein's blog.