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Old 05-24-2019, 03:55 PM   #1
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Internet Options

We are new to full time RVing and have been searching for the best internet service with the most options for the money. We currently have unlimited cell phone data plans, but are limited in how much Gigs we can use per month.
I have been looking at Viasat and there plans look good for our needs. Does anyone have experience with Viasat or Hughes? Or any other satellite internet providers?
I have met someone who just got Viasat in our campground, but he has not travelled with it yet. That is the only part that I have questions about.
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Old 05-24-2019, 04:20 PM   #2
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Internet on the road is just downright expensive. And as you've no doubt discovered by now, most campground Wifi just flat out sucks. It exists, but don't expect to do anything fast, or to be able to stream video. I think in my 4 years of full-time travels, I've come upon 3 or 4 places with really good WiFi.

I have no experience with Viasat or Hughes, but have done some research. The biggest thing you'll find right off the top is... just like your cell plan, these companies charge you by how much data you wanna "buy" each month... and it's OUTRAGEOUSLY expensive.

Met a guy at my resort in Arizona last winter who had 2 satellite dishes on the top of his rig. One was a nice Winegard like mine for DirecTV... and the other one looked similar, but since it was pointing almost 90-degrees off, I knew it wasn't a 2nd satellite TV service. Went and talked with him, and sure enough, it was an auto-tracking antenna for satellite internet service. He travels for business, and requires it.

Long story short... the dish cost about $2,500, and he pays about $1,000/month for service. Of course, he writes it all off as business expense... but that's too rich for my blood.

I did get a website address for some info about the various dishes & services out there though. It's https://www.mobilsat.com/Mobile-satellite-internet/

What I've been using is mostly cellular data. I have AT&T service, and an unlimited data plan for a few devices (iPhone and 2 iPads). After 22GB of service, I do get throttled a bit (slower download speeds)... but it's still acceptable. For app updates, and high-data downloads, I usually just try to do those on the campground WiFi during the middle of the night when no-one else is online. When I wake up in the morning, they're usually done.

WiFi on the road has definitely been one of the biggest challenges I've found to fulltiming. As a society we've all adapted our lives to need it... and as an industry, the camping & RV world has adopted it. It's rare that one can even find campground info in a book anymore. Yet WiFi is still rarely available at most facilities, especially so in the west.
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Old 05-24-2019, 05:15 PM   #3
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I looked into Hughsnet and decided that it was way too expensive for serious internet (watching TV, etc). Best I have found is my Verizon cell phone has unlimited with no limits. They also offer a "unlimited Premium" (not sure what the difference is) but since I can tether (personal hotspot) other devices to my phone, I use that. In places where the new 5G stuff is available, your bandwidth is giant but the FCC has an issue with 5G that concerns the weather folks. 5G is going to take a forklift upgrade for the providers so i would not look for that outside the major metro areas anytime soon.

You can get mini hotspots at a relatively low price these days, they are basically cellphone repeaters made for small areas like your RV and have better range than your standard cell phones. I would highly recommend you look into that and get unlimited service on your cell phones. They usually have a HUB of some sort that you can use for more than one device like your tv, laptop, etc.
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Old 05-24-2019, 06:34 PM   #4
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I have been a hughes net customer for 15+ years in my sticks and bricks (actually logs) home and I hate it! I would never attempt Hughs net in an RV. As soon as my present 2 Yr contract is up, they are done. They are worse than Directv has become (is that even possible ).
I have been testing several Internet providers to replace Hughes net with when contract is up and the best MIFI company I have found so far is OTR Mobile
For $60 a month I have great streaming quality Internet data. The work off of AT&T towers so coverage has been good everywhere I have used it. It has never been throttled in the 3 months of almost steady streaming.


No, I do not work for, or am I compensated by them. Just a good service for a change!
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Old 05-24-2019, 07:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thom View Post
I have been a hughes net customer for 15+ years in my sticks and bricks (actually logs) home and I hate it! I would never attempt Hughs net in an RV. As soon as my present 2 Yr contract is up, they are done. They are worse than Directv has become (is that even possible ).
I have been testing several Internet providers to replace Hughes net with when contract is up and the best MIFI company I have found so far is OTR Mobile
For $60 a month I have great streaming quality Internet data. The work off of AT&T towers so coverage has been good everywhere I have used it. It has never been throttled in the 3 months of almost steady streaming.


No, I do not work for, or am I compensated by them. Just a good service for a change!
sounds Pretty Good! I know what you mean about AT$T or DirectTV! Since AT$T has purchased them, they are garbage!!!
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Old 05-24-2019, 07:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thom View Post
...For $60 a month I have great streaming quality Internet data. They work off of AT&T towers so coverage has been good everywhere I have used it.
Sound like something worth checking out. My only concern would be the AT&T tower network. As I said, I'm an AT&T cell user... and it's been my experience that while they're "nationwide", that still depends on where you are.

If you stick to locations that are near decent size towns, interstate highways, or major US-routes, you'll normally always have service. But if you like to RV in more remote locations (say, 10-12 miles away from the above)... you may find that your service is limited. While "roaming" is a term that is no longer really relevant, "off network" coverage is quite common... and if in one of those areas, your data usage will be monitored and capped. I found myself in that exact situation twice already this year... once near Death Valley, and the other near the Bonneville Salt Flats. The latter was very surprising, as I was within a mile of I-80.

Anyway, just thought it worth mentioning....
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Old 05-26-2019, 06:25 AM   #7
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We've pretty much given up on RV Park Wi-Fi. Use it if we can...if not...

We purchased a Verizon "hot spot" and connect one of our Verizon cellphones to it.

We can move up to the Unlimited Data plan only for the months that we need it. So then we have really good internet.
You can't sit there and stream YouTube videos or movies, you'll burn through the Unlimited high speed data fairly quickly. Then have Unlimited data but at a slower speed.

But it works for us.

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Old 05-29-2019, 10:40 PM   #8
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We have two different internet hotspots. We use our Unlimited Sprint HotSpot for our tv. It is truly unlimited and we have not had any throttle back or interference on our TV. We use Sling for TV. Sprint does not have a great coverage area but we have not had issues as of yet. I understand they are not as great out west. We will see when we travel out in about a month.

I have a Verizon Jetpack that I use for my online tutoring. It is 25 GB per month and have not gone over that amount. We get both through FMCA for $39.95 each. We are happy with both services and would recommend either for you.
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