One of the biggest changes to the RV lifestyle in recent years is the internet. Full-time RVers want full-time internet access, part-time RVers want full-time access. In the day and age where your smartphone lets you stay in touch with friends and family, regardless the distance, securing internet access in your RV is becoming increasingly important. The Motorcoach Store, in Bradenton, Florida, has prepared a guide to help you understand the different internet access points available to you so you can get online on your own terms without interrupting your RV experience.
Only a few years ago, the most basic internet access available to RVers was a dial-up mode. Most RV campgrounds had one, but the cons definitely outweighed the pros. Slow connection speeds, having to wait for others to finish or ending your sessions early for other campers. Clearly insufficient for today’s online needs. If you’re only out for a quick trip, we definitely advise you look into local libraries or internet cafes. A cursory search while you’re planning your trip will save you hours of headache later on. However, if your stay will be a little longer, and your RV campground offers phone lines or cable connections, you can call your local cable provider or high-speed internet provider (they’re usually one in the same now) and active a connection to your campsite before or shortly after you arrive. Again, though, if your strip is only going to be a few days or a week or two, this isn’t a great short-term solution.
WiFi has been a game changer for RV campgrounds. Anyone with a wireless internet card or adapter can access the internet from the comfort of their RV, provided the campground provides a WiFi network. And that’s becoming increasingly more common. Just like in any decent cafe, wireless is almost a guarantee at any RV campground. There are a few things you should ask first, though. Call ahead, make sure you know if the campground charges for wireless access, and ask about their coverage. Some sites may not have complete and total WiFi coverage for all campgrounds and connection speeds can vary widely. It’s best to call ahead and ask about their WiFi coverage so you don’t find yourself without access when you’re depending on it.
For those who have fully embraced the RV lifestyle, having 24 hour access to the internet is a must. Many work from the road, do their banking online, send emails, interact with social media, and one option that provides this total coverage is with your wireless (or cell phone) provider. If you’re using a data-capable smartphone you’ll be able to access your email and perform simple web searches. However, you can also turn your cell phone into a modem for internet access in your RV. Connect your phone to your laptop via Bluetooth or USB cable, this tethers your phone to your device, and as long as you have a data plan associated with your phone, you’ll be able to access the internet on your computer through your smartphone. Also, most wireless providers offer a USB device, colloquially referred to as an “air card” that provides a connection to a wireless network for data use. At best, though, you’re looking at 3G or 4G connection seeds. Just make sure you monitor your data plan and don’t go over!
This seems like the perfect solution. Connecting your RV to a satellite system, no matter where you choose to stop. You do have to be stopped to use a satellite connection, though, and there are a few other drawbacks to consider as well. They’re not cheap, you’ll need to buy a dish, have it connected, and have a data plan. And then there’s satellite targeting. Most acquisition solutions are going to be pricey and then you have to consider how many other users are on the same connection. You might find slow connection speeds during peak usage hours. It all depends on how often you need (or want) access to the internet while you’re travelling.
As with everything, the best course of action is to clearly define what you want. Do you want complete and total internet access, regardless of where you are on the road? Look into the wireless connection options through your wireless provider. A satellite connection stays with you wherever you stop, and if you’re going to be in an RV campground, they may have a wireless network for you to use already. Plan ahead, make a few calls, and make sure internet access isn’t a concern while you’re travelling. For everything else, visit The Motorcoach Store, proudly serving Tampa, Fort Myers, Sarasota, and Lakeland, FL, and let us make your next trip as easy as possible.
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