How we get Internet on the road while RVing —

How we get Internet on the road while RVing —

Satellite Disadvantages

Starlink has disadvantages as well. The plan for RVers is sort of a second-tier plan with the company prioritizing performance for those who have residential or commercial plans locally. In other words, if you trot into town with your Starlink satellite receiver you might find reduced performance simply because the company has prioritized data consumption by the people who live there.

Further, as RVers we like to go places that have inconvenient obstacles like trees and such. Satellite internet simply doesn’t like this – and Starlink really appreciates a clear view of the sky. This can also make it useless in cities with tall buildings.

Apparently the connector to the Starlink dish (called Dishy) is rather fiddly for some and the company’s customer service record is worse than many RV dealers’ records. Hard to believe, but true. If you break the proprietary connector, you may be out for some time.

The antenna is also not well suited to permanent mounting outside an RV so some creative RVers have devised pole mounts and other ways to attach the dish. But most still leave it unattached and then put the dish where it can best pick-up coverage once they’re camped. This lends itself to longer stays, but simple overnighting makes it a hassle.

Another disadvantage of Starlink, and most satellite-based Internet services, is that they have to have 120vac (household current). That means that, if you’re into boondocking, you may find yourself having to run a generator or an inverter which has its own set of disadvantages. You could use something like the Jackery that we have if you would rather not run an inverter.

Campground Connectivity

Based on my own travels campground wifi is, at best, lousy. Sure, there are a few campgrounds who have stepped up their coverage but, for the most part, it’s pretty terrible. Further, you’re sharing a connection with many other campers and this can lead to your information being compromised.

For example, if you buy something on line while at an RV park and are using campground Wifi you are quite literally broadcasting the credit card information throughout the park.

There are ways to be more secure in your connectivity, but campgrounds are often in places where even they have difficulty getting great coverage so passing that lackluster performance on is the only choice they have.

Systems that would make a campground’s Wifi outstanding are also very, very expensive and we all already often complain about the cost of a night in a campground. Adding many tens of thousands of dollars to their cost means they’re passing that on to you.

There are some devices, including some built into RVs, that offer the ability to boost the signal you get at your RV from the campground’s wifi. However know that this is like a pipe – if the campground is only able to get so much bandwidth it doesn’t help to boost a signal that won’t deliver more throughput.

However some of the devices available to boost the signal also offer some sort of protection against people being able to intercept your signal and gain the information you’re broadcasting.



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