A Wi-Fi connection allows you to access the internet, online files, and communicate from the comfort of your camper. Campervans are becoming increasingly popular with the rising cost of owning a house. Getting a reliable internet service provider is one of the top camper tips for first-timers.
This guide lays out camper tips to help you get a reliable Wi-Fi connection.
How to Set Up and Install Wi-Fi in Your Camper
Internet connectivity has shifted from a luxury to a necessity. When living and working long-term in a camper, you need the internet to work, check emails, stream movies, or connect with friends and families. A trailer differs from a typical house and setting up a decent Wi-Fi connection can be problematic.
Portable Wi-Fi Routers
Getting a portable or a MiFi router is an option for reliable internet access. It functions as a typical internet router with a built-in antenna. It converts 3G, 4G, or 5G signals to Wi-Fi signals for items like laptops and multimedia consumption devices.
The devices have SIM card slots to connect to different carriers with affordable data plans. They also come with an internal battery to keep you connected when away from a power outlet. You can connect multiple devices to the Wi-Fi hotspot, including your smartphone, tablet, and laptop, all at once. The portable nature is advantageous if you veer far from your camper and still need the connectivity.
Using your phone as a hotspot is another option to get Wi-Fi in your campervan. With a smartphone or a SIM-enabled tablet, you can turn it into a wireless access point to connect to the internet.
One downside of the mobile hotspot is that they need an extra data plan. Although some carriers offer plans for unlimited data, a hotspot isn’t ideal for camper living. Fair usage policies by carriers lead to capped internet speeds. They also have limited coverage and poor signal quality the farther you are from an urban area.
Smartphones are not designed to share internet connectivity with devices like portable routers for lengthy periods. They drain their batteries fast, overheat and require extra cooling to keep you connected.
Satellite internet is reliable if you want a fast and uninterrupted internet connection. It involves accessing the internet via communication or geostationary satellites. Leading satellite ISPs like Starlink, Viasat, and HughesNet will give you reliable and unlimited Wi-Fi connection anywhere in the country.
However, this option is more expensive than local carriers since it needs special equipment.
Campers nationwide use signal boosters to amplify the signals for cell phones, Wi-Fi networks, or satellite plans. You can install these small devices on or inside your camper.
A booster is handy when creating a hotspot or using portable routers but experiencing signal or coverage issues. Some can amplify cell phone signals up to 32 times, solving signal issues and improving data connectivity speeds.
Public Wi-Fi is the best option if you need free internet. You can get free Wi-Fi at most Starbucks, McDonald’s, local libraries, visitor centers, campgrounds, or other public institutions.
Public Wi-Fi networks have many limitations and risks. Access to public Wi-Fi is limited to those camping within the covered area. Being free public Wi-Fi, anyone with a device can connect to it, making it slow and unreliable.
The biggest threat to free public Wi-Fi is security. The open nature leaves it prone to access and abuse by anyone with malicious intent and technical know-how. A hacker can use it to steal critical data or compromise your computer by hacking it and installing malware.
Camper Tips for Reliable Connection
Living in a campervan means you can’t access fixed fiber internet connections like in houses. The camper tips above can give you a reliable connection even as a heavy internet user. A dedicated Wi-Fi network makes remote work, blogging, uploading photos and videos, face timing, streaming, or even binge-watching in a campervan stress-free.
Factors to consider when getting a Wi-Fi connection include cost, suitability, and reliability. The best option may not be the cheapest, but a combination of two or more options gives you security in case of failure of one option. Take your time and consult other campers if you need clarification on the internet connection suitable for your campervan.