How to get Internet in an RV – The Complete Guide

How to get Internet in an RV or Van

This article will explain how to get internet in an RV.

Nobody wants to go without internet access when they're travelling or living in an RV. The internet is an essential part of our day to day lives. In fact, many people need their internet connection to maintain employment. Even if you don't need the internet for work, it's likely you use it to access social media and read the news, or access online maps to help you navigate while you're traveling.


So this guide will explain all your options when trying to get internet while in an RV.


How to get Internet in an RV (Options & Solutions)

  • Use a public wi-fi network.
  • Campground wi-fi.
  • Wi-fi antennas and boosters
  • Mobile internet
  • Satellite internet.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of each of these ways to get online from your RV? Read more to find out.


Using Public Wi-Fi Networks

Many businesses offer public wi-fi to their customers. However, you can sometimes get the wi-fi outside of the business location. In some cases, it's possible to get public wi-fi from a parking lot where multiple businesses are located. Here are some types of businesses and other locations that often offer public wi-fi:


  • Fast food restaurants
  • Other restaurants
  • Supermarkets
  • Coffee shops
  • Computer stores
  • Hotels
  • Office supply stores
  • Target
  • Wal-Mart
  • Bookstores
  • Libraries
  • Airports
  • Gyms
  • Yoga studios
  • Train Stations
  • Parks
  • Hospitals
  • Museums

Is Public Wi-Fi Always Free?

Public wi-fi is often free, but occasionally there is a fee. In some cases, a password is required to access the network. Therefore, you would have to be a customer to get the password.


Public Wi-Fi Safety Information

Always make sure that the network is offered by the business rather than a hacker's computer located in the vicinity. If you connect to this network, your computer itself could be vulnerable to hackers. The hacker(s) could even covertly install software on your computer that allows them to access it remotely even if you're out of the network's range. However, hackers can also intercept data that is sent over a genuine public wi-fi network. Here are some ways to stay safe when using public wi-fi:

  • Ask someone at the business if a network is the correct one.
  • Use HTTPS as much as possible. You can see whether you're using HTTPS by checking the beginning of the URL (website address). It's possible to install an extension on Google chrome that allows you to use HTTPS for all websites.
  • 'Forget' the network once you leave the area. This will ensure that you don't connect automatically anytime you go back within range.
  • Don't send banking information over any public wi-fi network.

In addition, you can use a VPN to stay safe while using public wi-fi. This is considered to be the safest way to use public wi-fi. However, it's important to ensure that the VPN itself is safe and reliable. Here are some great VPNs to choose from:

  • Express VPN - This VPN is affordable, and they offer a free three month trial. It has a fast connection as well. If you aren't satisfied with their services, you have a 30 day money back guarantee.
  • IpVanish VPN - IpVanish VPN has been rated highly, and they offer a seven day money back guarantee.
  • Nord VPN - This VPN has been highly rated, and the company offers a 30 day money back guarantee. Their prices also tend to be affordable.
Is It Possible To Connect To a VPN For Free?

There are free VPN services available. While they can keep your data safe, they tend to run much slower. Here are some examples of free VPNs:

  • Opera VPN - Opera is a browser, and the browser gives you the option to switch on a VPN. It's easy to install as well.
  • Tunnel Bear - It's easy to make a Tunnel Bear account and begin using the software.



  • Widely available
  • Easy to get connected
  • Potential security concerns
  • You may have to enter shop premises and make a purchase


  • Pro Tip: Wal-Mart stores often allow RV travellers to park overnight, and you have a good chance of being able to access their wi-fi from the parking lot. This makes it one of the best places for RV travellers to access public wi-fi.

Read Also: Best Bike Rack for RV

Accessing Your RV Campground's Wi-Fi

Many campgrounds offer wi-fi to their guests, and connecting to it is generally similar to the process of connecting to other public wi-fi networks. However, it's not always available at campsites. Others only have wi-fi at certain campsites. In addition, campground wi-fi carries similar security concerns to public wi-fi. However, the risk is lower than highly public areas, such as fast food restaurants.




Pros and Cons Of Campground Wi-Fi Over Other Ways You Can Access The Internet
  • Easy to access
  • Free of charge
  • Potential security concerns
  • May not be accessible from the entire camp


  • Pro Tip: This website provides a list of campgrounds that offer free wi-fi

Use A Wi-Fi Antenna Booster:

Wi-Fi antenna boosters allow the signal to travel further. This is perfect for people who want to have internet access inside their RV, while connected to nearby free public wi-fi. However, they aren't a solution for people who wish to be connected to the internet while on the move in your RV. Wi-Fi antenna boosters vary in quality, and this can impact the distance that you're able to extend the signal.


What Are Some Good Wi-Fi Antenna Boosters To Choose?

Peplink Pepwave Surf On-The-Go Wi-Fi Router - This device is made by Custom Cables Group LLC. This company is well regarded manufacturer of wi-fi antenna boosters. You can order it here

Alfa WiFi Boosters - These devices have received reviews of four out of five stars on Amazon. The antenna can swivel, and this allows you to choose the direction that you extend your internet connection. You can get one here

Rocket USB WiFi Amplifier - These wi-fi extender get my highest recommendation. This brand is typically a favorite for people who want to connect to wifi while out on their sailboat. So you can imagine the kind of range these things can achieve. You can get one here.

Pros And Cons Of Using A Wi-Fi Adapter To Access The Internet In An RV
  • Secure internet access
  • High speeds
  • Initial setup
  • Initial costs



Mobile Internet for RVs

Mobile internet for RV

Most cell phone providers offer internet data to their customers. Not only can cellular data allow you to access the internet on your phone, but it's possible to access the data with tethering. However, each provider differs in terms of the amount of data and the price. Here are a few of the best cell providers for internet access:


T-Mobile:

T-Mobile offers affordable rates and high speeds. Their internet network runs quite fast as well. It's a 4G LTE network. In addition, T-Mobile offers one of the largest networks in the country. This will make it more likely that you'll be able to access it wherever you travel to.



In addition, the company is expected to expand their network soon. In fact, T-Mobile has plans to create a 5 G network in the near future. This will offer faster internet speeds than any other provider has thus far.



T-Mobile phones make it possible to create a hotspot with your phone. This can allow you to access the internet even if you're located outside of the T-Mobile network.



They have a wide range of plans to choose from as well. You can get anywhere between 2 and 22 GB of data per month on a line. In addition, you can choose the number of lines that you get.



You can get 2 GB of data hotspot data on a line for just 20 dollars per month. A 6 GB plan is available for 35 dollars a month. A 10 GB hotspot plan is available for 50 dollars per month. If you choose the maximum data limit of 22 GB, it's 95 dollars per month.


AT&T:

AT&T offers a very large network, and the network is 4G. This makes it one of the fastest networks in the country. There are a variety of plans that you can choose from.



However, the most popular ones are the AT&T Unlimited Plans. These plans make it possible to get unlimited data. However, the hotspot data is limited to 10 GB per month. You can still access the internet after this, but the speed is restricted to 128 Kb per second. You can get one line with the plan for 90 dollars per month. Two lines will cost 145 dollars a month.


Verizon:

Verizon offers the largest cell phone network in the country. This means that you're likely to have access to the network even if you travel somewhere that's off the beaten path. It's considered to be the fastest network in the country as well. It's possible to get unlimited data for 40 dollars per line, and you can get data on up to four phones. In addition to a great network, Verizon's devices offer hotspot data.


Sprint:

Sprint offers affordable rates on data. The Sprint network covers most of the country, and it runs on 4G LTE. Here are some of the plans that they offer:


  • 2 GB Plan: This plan is 40 dollars per month for each line. You get 2 GB of data to use with the device's hotspot.
  • Unlimited Tablet Plan: This plan gives you 10 GB of data on the hotspot, but it's available only for tablets.
What Is Tethering? How Do You Set It Up?

Tethering allows you to use hotspot data on your computer. You'll need a tethering account in order to do this. While cell providers often offer tethering, it will be necessary to call your cell provider to set it up. There usually is an additional fee for it as well. In most cases, this fee could approach or exceed 20 dollars per month. However, it can be possible to tether Verizon's data without an extra fee. Here are some carriers that offer tethering:


  • T-Mobile
  • US Cellular
  • AT&T
  • Sprint
  • Verizon
Tethering Methods:
  • Wi-Fi Tethering: This form of tethering can be quite fast, and the data is transmitted wirelessly. In addition, multiple devices can connect to the hotspot. However, your device's battery life will be shorter.
  • USB Tethering: It's possible to tether data using the USB ports on your computer. However, you'll need a cable to connect the devices. This method will keep your phone from losing battery. In addition, it's known for being exceptionally fast.
  • Bluetooth Tethering: This tethering connection may slow you down if you're using anything beyond 3G. If you're connection is 3G or earlier, it won't affect your speeds at all. However, you're limited to one device. The advantage of this method is that it won't drain the battery as rapidly as Wi-Fi tethering does.
Are There Third Party Apps Available For Tethering?

There are a variety of third party apps available for tethering. However, it's possible that your cell phone provider won't notice that you're using them. If they do, you'll wind up paying the tethering fee.


Pros and Cons Of Using Mobile Data To Get Internet In An RV Compared To Other Methods:
  • Secure internet access
  • Can be accessed from anywhere
  • Can be expensive
  • Some plans have hidden fees
  • Pro Tip: Some small cell carriers offer reliable and affordable internet service. Check US Cellular, Consumer Cellular, MetroPCS, Cricket Wireless, Ting.

Satellite Internet for RVs

Satellite Internet for RV

Satellite internet makes it possible to get online in your RV just about anywhere. Here are some examples of satellite internet providers:


Exede:

Exede is a well known brand of satellite internet. It's available in all areas of the United States except for Alaska and Hawaii. There are several plans that the company offers:


  • Liberty 12: The Liberty 12 plan offers 12 GB of data, and it's $49.99 per month.
  • Liberty 18: This plan offers 18 GB of data, and it's $69.99 a month.
  • Freedom: Their freedom plan is considered the best internet package that the company offers. It offers 150 GB of data at $99.99 per month.

You can double the speed of your internet access with any plan by paying an extra 10 dollars per month.


Hughes Net:

The company offers several satellite internet packages. Their service has been reviewed well by their customers, and you'll be able to get it wherever you travel to in your RV. Here are some of their plans:


  • The 10 GB Plan: The 10 GB plan is perfect for one or two people who casually use the internet, and it's the cheapest plan. It can be available for as little as $49.99 per month.
  • The 20 GB Plan: The 20 GB plan is perfect for families with one or two kids. It's typically around $59.99 per month.
  • The 30 GB Plan: This plan is $79.99 a month, and it's best for large families.
  • The 50 GB Plan: The 50 GB plan is $99.99 per month, and it offers nearly twice as much data as the 30 GB plan.

The company is currently offering free installation of the equipment. You can either lease or rent the equipment. If you lease the equipment, you won't pay anything upfront. However, you'll pay $14.99 per month. If you buy the equipment, you'll pay a one time fee of $349.88 with no additional expenses.


Dish:

Dish has been reviewed positively by customers as well. All of their plans offer 50 GB of data that can be used outside of peak times. However, only the hours between 2 AM and 8 AM are considered to be non-peak hours. They offer the following satellite internet packages:


  • Internet 5: Internet 5 features 5 GB of data that can be used anytime. Unfortunately, it may be noticeably slow since the connection speed is limited to 5 megabytes per second. However, it's the cheapest plan with a cost of only $39.99 per month if you also get Dish TV. If you don't, it's $49.99 per month.
  • Internet 10: This package offers 10 GB of anytime data. The connection speed is limited to 10 megabytes per second. If you have Dish TV, the plan is $49.99 per month. If you don't have Dish TV, it's $59.99 per month.
  • Internet 15: Internet 15 offers 15 GB of anytime data. It's $69.99 per month for Dish TV customers, and it's $79.99 per month if you don't have Dish TV.

It's important to note that all of their plans require a credit check, and you have to commit to the plan for at least 24 months.


Problems With Satellite Internet for RVs

Unfortunately, satellite internet can be a bit slower than a cable internet connection. You'll also need a satellite dish installed on the roof of the RV in order to get access to satellite internet. Often times, the installation of the satellite dish can be somewhat expensive.



Weather conditions can affect the connection, and this could result in speeds that are even slower than normal. A thunderstorm could completely block the connection. High winds could damage the satellite dish itself. This could require an expensive repair. Snow and ice could block the satellite dish and completely block the signal or significantly reduce it.


Pros And Cons Of Satellite Data Over Other Ways To Get Internet In An RV:
  • Secure connection
  • Reliable access
  • Easy to connect
  • Can often be slow
  • Requires installation
  • Can be expensive
  • Potential for hidden costs

Conclusion:

While accessing the internet from an RV could seem like a daunting task, it's much easier than many travellers assume. The method that's best for you varies depending on your individual needs. Many RV travellers have several of these methods at their disposal. For instance, you could have satellite internet but travel to the parking lot of a Wal-Mart during outages to pick up on the store's public wi-fi.

More Articles:

Best Sellers In "RV Internet"

SaleBestseller No. 1
Winegard PA-1000 DISH Playmaker HD Portable Satellite Antenna (RV Portable Satellite Dish, Tailgating Portable Satellite Antenna)
  • Portable Satellite Antenna - Perfect for the RV, camper, motorhome, cabin, fishing, hunting or become the ultimate tailgater with the DISH Playmaker.
  • Easy Setup Portable Antenna - Powered by single coax connection through DISH receiver. Easy to use and lightweight RV portable satellite dish.
  • Fully-Automatic Dish - Automatically finds DISH HD satellite orbital locations making it easy to watch your favorite TV shows in the RV.
SaleBestseller No. 2
Winegard ConnecT 2.0 4G2 (WF2-435) 4G LTE and Wi-Fi Extender for RVs
  • Keep mobile devices, media players, and computers connected to Wi-Fi with a reliable connection and expanded coverage
  • Links to nationwide 4G LTE for reliable, uninterrupted, in-motion and stationary coverage
  • In The Box: Antenna, 20′ power cable, exterior mounting hardware, interior mounting hardware, and manual
Bestseller No. 3
weBoost Drive 4G-X RV 470410 Cell Phone Signal Booster for Your RV or Motorhome – Enhance Your Cell Phone Signal up to 32x
  • COMPATIBILITY: This weBoost Signal Booster is compatible with all US carriers including: AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, Straight Talk, U.S. Cellular and many more. *Government regulations in the U.S. prohibit boosting a particular frequency used by some of the Sprint network. Most Sprint customers still see performance improvement from weBoost signal boosters.
  • SIGNAL BOOSTER: The weBoost Drive 4G-X RV 470410 Cell Phone Signal Booster boosts your 4G LTE and 3G signal up to 32X for fewer dropped calls, higher audio quality, and faster uploads and downloads.
  • STATIONARY OR ON THE GO: The weBoost Drive 4G-X RV 470410 Cell Phone Signal Booster is designed to increase your cellular signal for you RV or motorhome regardless of whether you are in motion or stationary.
SaleBestseller No. 4
Winegard WF-4000 Connect White ODU 4G LTE and Wi-Fi Extender (Secure RV Internet, RV Wi-Fi, RV 4G LTE)
  • Nationwide 4G LTE Coverage - Provides consistent nationwide, in-motion connection. Reliable, uninterrupted coverage while traveling anywhere. Requires Winegard 4G LTE data plan
  • Extended RV Wi-Fi Range - Powerful amplifier and three high performance external antennas for increased range, multi-user memo-ready for faster performance for each device
  • Secure RV Internet - Advanced Wi-Fi protected access (wpa and wpa2-psk), guest network access, double firewall protection (spi and nat), denial of service attack prevention
Bestseller No. 5
BearExtender Bearifi Outdoor RV & Marine High Power USB Wi-Fi Extender Antenna for PCs
  • Extends the Wi-Fi signal only to the computer to which it is connected by USB cable. It is not a repeater or router for multiple devices. Not a 3G, 4G, LTE or cellular booster.
  • Long range 802.11n 2.4 GHz USB Wi-Fi booster with built-in 10 dBi directional antenna and integrated premium shielded 16 ft USB cable draws power from computer (no AC power supply needed).
  • Ideal for RVs, boats and camping. IP65 Certified water resistant and dust resistant enclosure is pre-treated with an anti-UV and anti-corrosion protective coating.
9.1 (91.43%) 7 votes

Last update on 2018-11-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API