Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Internet for campsite and while en route (travel trailer)
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 > Internet for campsite and while en route (travel trailer)

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stickdog

Somewhere, USA

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Posted: 11/01/20 09:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've had a verizon hot spot for 11 years and with an antenna pickup signal if there is one. I have used it in the truck before I had GPS with my notebook. Not cheap but how much is your young'ns education worth


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coolmom42

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Posted: 11/01/20 10:58pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Raife wrote:

Good evening everyone. I have read through many of the posts here about internet options while camping. This past weekend the SO was not happy that the kids were not able to do their distance learning due to weak cell signal. So I am looking at cell booster options.

NOTE: I am fully aware I can't boost something that is not there (i.e. if there is no cell signal at all).

However, I need it to work while we are at a camp site and while we are driving between destinations (i.e. while we are driving pulling the travel trailer behind us).

It looks like most of the cell boosters "transmit" only a few feet (i.e. up to 6 feet and as little as 1.5 feet). If I install the equipment in the travel trailer it won't reach the tow vehicle...if I install it in the tow vehicle it won't reach the trailer...

Has anyone else been in this situation? How did you solve it?

I'm almost thinking about hooking a wireless router up to the receiving cell phone (getting its cell signal from the cell booster) which then theoretically the wireless router range would reach the TV, but then that phone would be in the trailer and not accessible. I could get a hotspot to reside in the travel trailer in place of the phone, but then I am paying for another data plan (I already have a data/hotspot plan on my phone). Also would there be the right power in the trailer to run the equipment?

Thoughts?


Wilson makes the best cell phone signal boosters. This is the version for vehicles. I think you could get one booster unit and 2 outside antennas. Attach one outside antenna to the truck and one to the trailer, and move the booster unit back and forth as needed. They are not cheap but they work well.

Get a Verizon phone with unlimited data, and use the built-in hotspot on the phone. That will provide a wifi signal with a range of about 20 feet. Your devices connect to it just like a wifi router in your house, set up with a password and secured.

The connection speed will depend on the type of cell phone service available. 4G is adequate for streaming up to 2 Youtube or Netflix videos at a time. Your speed will be throttled if you are over 22 GB usage AND in a high data-use area. I've only had mine throttled once in 5 years.

If you don't want to spring for a new phone, look for a used Pixel or Samsung phone on a site called Swappa.com. Just make sure it's a Verizon unlocked phone; ATT & other providers will charge you big separate data fees for "tethering." Verizon treats all your data usage the same, according to what ever plan you have. I have a single line unlimited plan and it's $70/month plus taxes.


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GDS-3950BH

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Posted: 11/02/20 02:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Raife wrote:

Good evening everyone. I have read through many of the posts here about internet options while camping. This past weekend the SO was not happy that the kids were not able to do their distance learning due to weak cell signal. So I am looking at cell booster options.

NOTE: I am fully aware I can't boost something that is not there (i.e. if there is no cell signal at all).


Exactly.


You need to pick your routes and destinations carefully or rethink your entire scenario. Perhaps stay close to Interstates and other highly traveled routes or urban areas. I know of lots of campgrounds / large regions where service is non exisitent or iffy at best, and that's in the NE. Northern / North Central PA, whole areas of VT/NH, the Catskill region in NY, the mountains of VA/NC/TN, about 75% of WV away from I 79,81, rt 19. I could go on and on as I used to search out areas without service on purpose.

A lot of times even where service exists once a campground gets crowded, such as on a weekend, the service drops out when everyone is trying to stream and all are bouncing off a single tower.

Most of the really great campgrounds we've found, that are not pack em in RV park type places, are usually in areas lacking in service more often than not.

wing_zealot

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Posted: 11/02/20 05:18am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

As long as your thinking about this as someone else providing a signal for your use, your fighting a losing battle. You need to provide your own signal; i.e.: mobile hotspot. For myself, I have a verizon jetpack, I'm sure there are others.

magicbus

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Posted: 11/02/20 06:22am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

wing_zealot wrote:

You need to provide your own signal; i.e.: mobile hotspot. For myself, I have a verizon jetpack, I'm sure there are others.
Your Verizon Jetpack won't give you connection to the Internet if it doesn't have connection with a tower, which is what the OP says is the case due to weak cell signal. They need to either camp nearer to a tower or sign up for Starlink Beta and hope they get signal when they need it.

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Raife

Texas

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Posted: 11/02/20 06:27am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

coolmom42 wrote:


Wilson makes the best cell phone signal boosters. This is the version for vehicles. I think you could get one booster unit and 2 outside antennas. Attach one outside antenna to the truck and one to the trailer, and move the booster unit back and forth as needed. They are not cheap but they work well.



This was the solution I arrived at last night (after midnight) as I was scouring the internet for options. However, I plan on keeping my Sprint phone for now (S20 with a 50 GB hotspot). That may change...

Someone mentioned our route as a factor (which I recognize is huge)...what really kicked this into gear to be done RIGHT NOW is we are leaving on the 18th for 2.5 weeks to go from central Texas to Sacramento California (visit in-laws) and back. We will be sticking mostly to stops along major highways with the exception of Grand Canyon and Zion.

However, when we usually "camp" (i.e. not going to somewhere) we typically hit state and national parks. I am fully aware that many of these are not "ideal" for cell signal, in fact that is partly why I do it. It will be a balance of timing going forward - cell areas during school, non-cell areas when there is no school.

Thank you for all the info.

azdryheat

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Posted: 11/02/20 07:15am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

you say a strong internet signal is very important to you and your family. Seems you are creating your own problem by venturing out away from strong internet signals. Perhaps find a strong signal location and stay put.


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GordonThree

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Posted: 11/02/20 11:16am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you have deep pockets, look into an "in motion" type satellite system like they install on luxury yachts and huge class A motorhomes. Latency might be too high for interactive video, but should let you stream one way video and other content.

Another poster mentioned SpaceX Starlink. It is now in "open public beta" for Northern US and Canada (so your grand canyon / so cal adventure is out.) $100 monthly plus $500 for the fixed ground station (not mobile!) gets you 50 to 100mbit and roughly 20msec latency.


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time2roll

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Posted: 11/02/20 11:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Consider securing communication and not travelling during that time that education is live in process. When class is over then roll. You may arrive after dinner however I agree the kids education should be first priority. Especially these days when there is so much disruption.


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theoldwizard1

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Posted: 11/02/20 06:09pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Raife wrote:

Good evening everyone. I have read through many of the posts here about internet options while camping. This past weekend the SO was not happy that the kids were not able to do their distance learning due to weak cell signal. So I am looking at cell booster options.

NOTE: I am fully aware I can't boost something that is not there (i.e. if there is no cell signal at all).

The simplest solution when stationary is a cell phone to WiFi "converter" (a.k.a. Hot Spot, Jet Pack) but one that has an external antenna and possibly some kind of telescoping pole to mount it on. Something like a Winegard Connect 2.0 or a WiFiRanger (now owned by Winegard).

Traveling will always be "hit or miss".

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