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Internet Options for a Mobile Lifestyle

Coming Soon!

Our new RV Mobile Internet Resource Center Website!

Please continue to enjoy and learn from our content here in the meantime…

Keeping connected while RVing can be a complex topic – there are so many options. But what works? And what do you actually need?

We’ve been on the road since 2006, running our software & app development business remotely the entire time.

Mobile internet is essential to us – we’ve tried many different solutions and talked with lots of others about their experiences. Chris also used to work as a competitive analyst for Palm/PalmSource, and enjtechnomads working remotely rversoys staying on top of this stuff.

Everyone’s needs while RVing are probably going to be different – from those who just need to be able to get online fairly regularly to check e-mail, pay bills online and plan upcoming routing. To those of us who depend on being able to get online to make our life of mobility sustainable.

We’re happy to share what we’ve learned over the years!

Below you will find all of our mobile internet resources in one place – from our free articles & video, our book on this topic The Mobile Internet Handbook , our upcoming premium membership site to personal advising sessions for those would like a little help.

Our Current Mobile Internet Solution:

Here’s the mobile internet setup that we’re currently using. This keeps us online about 95% of the time in our roaming across the USA.

Cellular Options:

  • Millenicom 4G Hotspot plan on Verizon – 20GB/mo ($89.99/month)
  • 2 iPhones on an AT&T mobile share value plan with 10GB/mo hotspottable data ($130/month + taxes)
  • iPad Mini on a grandfathered AT&T unlimited data plan (non-hotspottable) ($29.99/month)
  • iPad Mini Retina from Millenicom on T-Mobile (hotspottable, $10/mo for 500MB LTE, and unlimited non-LTE)
  • A Verizon pre-paid basic handset, for those times we might need phone only access in places without Verizon data service.

Antennas & Boosting:

  • Mast: When we’re setup for a while somewhere, we put up our FlagPole Buddy, and not only displays our colors – but also is our mount for antennas and gears.
  • WiFi: WiFiRanger Go and WiFiRanger Sky router & WiFi repeater system to utilize WiFi hotspots in a passive way. And we have a Ubiquity Nanostation on an extendable flagpole from FlagPole Buddy for for further away signals.
  • Cellular: Boosters: The FCC implemented new rules in mid-2014, and manufacturers are just now getting their gear approved and into production. A lot of new stuff will be hitting the market in the coming months.  If you don’t absolutely need boosting now - we recommend waiting until the end of summer 2014 before investing in a booster. There will be a lot more options, and reviews available.  We don’t issue recommendations and reviews until we’ve tested equipment in a variety of conditions and we’re still awaiting more players to enter the market before selecting our booster of choice. Here’s what we have in the testing lab so far:
    • Received early June:  Wilson 4G Mobile (~$350) that we are testing.  As a first look, it’s performing as expected – the big disadvantage being the limited interior range of only 6″ to about 3′ of boostable area. It’s the first 5-band, multi device, FCC 2014 approved mobile boosters to hit the market. Also from Wilson:
      • A FCC approved 5-band Sleek 4G (~$150)  - their prior Sleek products were solid, so this could be a great & more affordable option if you can’t wait. It is designed for a single device only however.
      • The DT (Desktop) (~$350) – their small home office model, which is not FCC approved for mobile use. This one will give more boostable area inside, but will require manual configuration at each stop, aiming a directional antenna and need carefully placed signal shielding to avoid oscillation for the higher power.
    • Received in late June: CellMate’s SureCall TriFlex (~$600) that we’re testing.
    • Awaiting Arrival: MaximumSignal – we’re slated to get one of the very first off the production line to test out as soon as it’s ready. This one is built from the ground up specifically for RVers, we look forward to putting it to its paces.
    • Our pre-FCC 2014 boosters include:  Top Signal 55 and Wilson 4G Sleek V cellular boosters & antennas. These are no longer on the market now that the new regulations are in effect, but there are new FCC approved versions out.
  • If we need lots of bandwidth, we’ll seek out a RV Park were we can hook-up our own cable or DSL internet.
  • Box of wine (for those times that nothing works!)

Up until November 2013, we did travel with a tripod satellite setup from HughesNet. However between the prevalence of cellular & WiFi these days and no longer needing to be as connected as we once were due to shifts in our client load – after two years of non-use we ditched the setup.

Examples of Mobile Internet Setups by other RVers:

  • The Cheapest Internet Option - by Interstellar Orchard.  Becky takes short term jobs across the country, and has been able to get by on just public WiFi.
  • RV Outlawz - Full-time RVing, these two have remote work corporate jobs that require a lot of connectivity.
  • The Snowmads -  Kristin & Jason run their marketing company while they travel full time in a vintage Airstream. (They’re our WordPress blog designers, by the way!)
  • Gone with the Wynns – Nikki & Jason have been on the road since 2010, and primarily use cellular data for their mobile internet.
  • Geeks on Tour – Chris & Jim have been on the road since 2003, and teach computer training both in person and remotely. They rely on their grandfathered unlimited Verizon plan.

Have an article about your mobile internet solution at you’d like to share? Send us a note with it at [email protected]  Thanks!

Our most recent in-depth internet articles:

Also, here’s an archive of a live video chat we recorded on ‘Mobile Internet Solutions for RVers’. (Recorded in May 2014 – it’s over 40 minutes long, so beware if you’re on capped internet.)


And to continue the conversation, join our group - Internet for RVers Facebook Group to interact with other RVers about this topic.

Ready for more?  We also highly recommend Jack Mayer’s Communication page, which goes into some heavy geekery & reviews on the individual components and compares different brands of equipment.

Coverage? App

We wrote an app to help us and our fellow bandwidth hungry travelers keep connected on the road - Coverage?.

It overlays all of the major carrier’s cellular data maps so we always know where we can expect to get our next hit of bandwidth. We travel with both Verizon & AT&T, so this app lets us create a personalized coverage map showing where we can get online.

It’s like having all of the carriers maps in your pocket!

Plan lunch stops, overnight stops and selecting campgrounds with connectivity.

The Mobile Internet Handbook

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The Mobile Internet Handbook is a guide to mobile internet options for RVers in the USA. Cellular data, WiFi, satellite, HAM and more.

This book is written to answer questions like:

  • What is the best setup for my travel style, needs and budget?
  • What are the realities of relying on mobile internet –  can I work online or stream video content?
  • What are the advantages & trade-offs of cellular data, satellite and public WiFi?
  • Do I really need all these boosters, antennas, gadgets and monthly plans?
  • What are the best deals out there for mobile internet? Are unlimited plans worth it?

This book is written to help set your expectations to realistic, describe the various options, assess your needs and pick the right combination of solutions for you.

 

Our Indiegogo Campaign to pre-purchase a copy of the new edition was fully funded (thank you!!!) – and we are now busy re-writing and greatly expanding the book. It’ll be professionally edited and illustrated too. We’re also creating a brand new resource center and premium membership service dedicated to keeping on top of this topic.
The new eBook is estimated to be released by early August 2014, with the print edition in September.
Join our The Mobile Internet Handbook Facebook Group to keep in the know as the book comes together!

 

 

We’re busily researching and adding a bunch of brand new content, including:

Glossary of Terms
Installation Tips & Tricks
Frequencies Explained
Antennas & Mounting Techniques (with guest author, Jack Mayer!)
Entertainment
Traveling into Canada & Mexico
Cellphones & Plans

Here’s a sneak peak at the new Table of Contents coming together for 2014 Edition:

 

You can still purchase the 2013 Edition – it’s been deeply discounted because it is a bit outdated now. But if you really need to get a jumpstart now, when combined with the articles & video above, it still has a lot of relevant content that can help get you started. But seriously, we highly recommend waiting for the new super awesome and greatly expanded/update 2014 Edition!

Current (OLD!) edition:  June 2013

eBook – $2.99  / Paperback - Discontinued.. 2014 Edition coming soon!

 
 Buy Direct from Us

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Purchase via your PayPal Account

PDF eBook Version:
Add to Cart

Or we have an ePub Version.

Purchase for Kindle or iDevice

or

The Apple iBookstore

Or in Paperback

Now discontinued…

2014 Edition coming soon!!

More about The Mobile Internet Handbook

Coming Soon: Mobile Internet Aficionados

We also are ramping up a brand new service – a premium membership site for those that want to ‘keep in the know’ about these topics.

Through our Indiegogo Campaign, we had over 100 folks sign up for the new program, and we’re also busy developing a new membership site to host Q&A forums, regular newsletters analyzing industry news for mobile internet (see a sample), access to mobile internet experts (including us and Jack Mayer!) to ask questions, exclusive content, interactive video chats and more.

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We will be accepting new members when we officially launch the new site - to coincide with the book launch.

Be Notified when we Open Membership

Mobile Internet Advising Sessions

Want some individualized guidance for your unique needs?

We offer mobile internet advising by phone, video chat, text chat or e-mail. Your private session will begin with filling out our assessment interview that we’ll review before your session to discuss your needs and help you figure out what your best setup that balances your requirements, budget and travel style.

We are unaffiliated with any of the products and services we suggest and utilize – and can offer advice from our own real world use, as well as the hundreds of fellow RVing folks we’ve talked with over the years.

We are currently back-logged fulfilling sessions from our Indiegogo campaign and writing the book, and are not currently accepting new sessions.  Stay tuned – we anticipate having more open time to offer sessions soon.  Thanks!

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