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Old 09-25-2015, 01:52 AM   #1
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Default Update on Wifi in Campgrounds

I searched the forum and found info from 2008, but thought I'd ask if anything had changed as far as how to get wifi when you're in a campground or other place where there are no other hotspots.

I have an iPhone4 and know I can create a wifi hotspot with it, but that takes a lot off the battery and I wouldn't be able to plug in in a campground, so I don't want to go that route. I talked with a Verizon rep and he said I needed a jetpack (router, I think) and it would cost about $120 a month for everything to have this portability.

Is there any other route to wifi-ness that is less expensive, but reliable?
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Old 09-25-2015, 02:45 AM   #2
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I searched the forum and found info from 2008, but thought I'd ask if anything had changed as far as how to get wifi when you're in a campground or other place where there are no other hotspots.

I have an iPhone4 and know I can create a wifi hotspot with it, but that takes a lot off the battery and I wouldn't be able to plug in in a campground, so I don't want to go that route. I talked with a Verizon rep and he said I needed a jetpack (router, I think) and it would cost about $120 a month for everything to have this portability.

Is there any other route to wifi-ness that is less expensive, but reliable?

i have a straighttalk 4g hotspot that uses the verizon network. no contract- just buy gigs-no access fees
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Old 09-25-2015, 05:14 AM   #3
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Who's your iPhone carrier?

We use a Verizon phone plan, and I also have a Jetpack. It adds $20 to my plan. Of course it shares the data with the phones.
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Old 09-25-2015, 07:02 AM   #4
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I think you mean "internet".

wifi is generally broadcast through an area ( like your house, or a hotel or a campground)...and most routers are good for 100' or so ( usually from clubhouse or shower facility building).
the closer you are to the router the better signal and faster speeds.
You are possibly going to share available internet access bandwidth with dozens of others.
so slow.

you can also access the internet from most cellular providers.

each may allow you ( some may not) to use your phone as a router- which will broadcast wifi and you can connect to that with your computer.
connection speeds depends of strength of the signal and how fast your provider allows data

for example straight talk often uses t-mobile's network- the speeds for a straight talk customer are often slower than a T-mobile customer standing next to them.

or you can get a "mifi" type device, most cell companies sell them. they are a router which connects to cell network independent of your phone and can usually support connections by multiple devices.

again I use T-mobile as an example, because that is what I use.

I have a $50 mifi, I activate it when needed on my family account- it can be very very fast.
$50 a month will get you a couple of streamed movies every day


another advantage to T-mo is canada and mexico are included for coverage in most areas- unlimited internet ( usually 3G), unlimited talk and text- no extra fees
in most other ( europe, asia etc.)international destinations unlimited 3G and text.
Talk is extra

however sometimes in the boonies...you are off the grid.


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Old 09-25-2015, 09:42 AM   #5
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You might run into the battery getting low problem with any device. Did the rep say how long a jetpack would last?

Installing an inverter in the van would allow you to plug in your phone or other new device to charge it. That can be inexpensive or very expensive depending on the inverter you purchase and ease of access to the house battery.

A portable cell phone charger might be another solution. Or a couple of portable cell phone chargers. Something like this: Amazon.com: 20000mAh Portable Charger for Cell Phones/Tablets | Apple & Android Compatible | ExpertPowerŽ: Cell Phones & Accessories

Some battery booster / jumper or emergency car start devices have a USB port or even an outlet to allow charging of phones etc. Something like this: Amazon.com: Stanley J5C09 1000 Peak Amp Jump Starter with Built in Compressor: Automotive

I'm not recommending those specific products as I didn't read the reviews etc. They just turned up quickly on an Amazon search and are examples of the devices that could help.
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Old 09-25-2015, 11:28 AM   #6
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I've kinda given up on my MiFi. Not a very high quality device. Some days it just will not charge. It's having one of those spells right now and sits dead in a drawer.

Tethering my laptop to the iPhone (as a hotspot) is more convenient and seems like a more reliable connection. Minutes are minutes so on the expense front it doesn't matter. Save yourself $40 bucks a month and just use your smartphone as your internet connection.
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Old 09-25-2015, 02:24 PM   #7
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....but that takes a lot off the battery and I wouldn't be able to plug in in a campground, so I don't want to go that route.
If the issue is about power, then (1) go the inverter route and plug into that (2) charge your phone via 12v - very easy- in your camper (I assume when you say "takes a lot off the battery" you are talking about the phone battery, not the camper battery) or (3) carry a battery pack to recharge your phone


Quote:
Originally Posted by soohma View Post
..
Is there any other route to wifi-ness that is less expensive, but reliable?
Those 2 words don't always go together in this case, depending on what you mean by "less expensive"

Quote:
Originally Posted by soohma View Post
....how to get wifi when you're in a campground or other place where there are no other hotspots.
If you want to access the internet via a cellular network (your phone or mifi ) and cannot get a good connection, then a cellular signal booster might help. Check out https://www.wilsonamplifiers.com who get good reviews. $$

If you want to access the internet out in the boonies or there just is no cell service, the only way is via satellite. Then you are talking $$$.

You might want to check out this site with lots of mobile internet info. Some free, but latest info is by subscription

http://www.rvmobileinternet.com
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Old 09-28-2015, 01:04 PM   #8
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Lots to look into and learn. Thank you all. Probably more questions later after I read all the things you all suggested.
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Old 09-28-2015, 11:01 PM   #9
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Lots to look into and learn. Thank you all. Probably more questions later after I read all the things you all suggested.
Please tell us what you learn and decide to do.

FYI -I do have a laptop, but leave it at home and only have a cell phone and tablet (both with cellular connections on a "shared" data plan). Tablet is useful - for reading news, weather, has a spreadsheet program to track expenses, watch movies.

Much of your decision will depend on how connected you need to be, i.e. how much data will flow between you and the outside world and how often you need it. For my wife and I, if we are out of touch, due to bad connections, it's just fine. Connecting every few days is okay. Even when in a area of good connections, we often just turn them off. We are out on the road, camping, hiking, biking, meeting people, etc. Being disconnected is actually liberating for us.
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Old 09-28-2015, 11:24 PM   #10
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Being disconnected is actually liberating for us.
It's good to "turn off" but being connected can be a huge money saver..

the gasbuddy and rvparky apps shaved hundreds of dollars off our last trip- these we used as we were rolling...and then turn the stuff off once we land

Mike
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