Connectivity

I made the decision to postpone study on connectivity, such as phone/internet/tv until we got closer to going full time. Because the technology would surely change.

(Update 1/17/20) – We went with the Togo Roadlink for Internet and WIFI Connectivity.

When you get right down to it, we all want a fast and dependable connection like we used to have in our sticks and bricks house. The quickest solution for internet service on the road in my opinion is a Verizon hotspot from your phone or a jet pack. We have had excellent connection though AT&T. My part-time office job provides phone and limited data service through T-Mobile which is not good for this lifestyle. Arguably the best advise can be found at rvmobileinternet.com although I found our solution elsewhere.

I wrote years ago that I’d not make this decision until we hit the road as technology changes. I purchased a Togo Roadlink which is built by Winegard. The devise was $340 and a full year of unlimited data though only AT&T is $360. This Togo device is designed to permanently install on the top of the RV. It contains antenna for both cellular and for times when there is internet, antenna to pick up campground WIFI. It requires only a 12-volt connection. I set it up temporarily directly connected to our battery and the unit works even when stored in our front basement. I’ll have the Vanleigh Service Center install it on the roof although I could do it myself. The Togo weighs three pounds and you can only use AT&T for the mobile service. Winegard builds another nearly similar model that can use any cell carrier’s data plan. Another difference in the Togo compared to other Winegard products is the GPS capability of the Togo. They say they are adding more features, but one is the ability to track where your RV is located. I bought the unit mostly because of the unlimited data plan for $30 a month on a decent network. I’ll add it does pickup campground Wifi better than just our phones and Roku streaming stick. I like not having to enter a password at every campsite more than once as the Togo is like a fancy router in those cases.  Karen can also hook into the Togo cellular signal from inside the truck when we are moving. Another feature I like is connection to the Togo from the computer or phone is so quick it is ready to go as soon as the computer boots up.

Another feature I like about the Togo is the phone app where you can switch from cellular data to campground WIFI reception. After you change the connection all your devices that were hooked up remain hooked up, seamlessly.

Space X and Amazon are launching rockets with satellites capable of internet service. I’ll bet that will mix things up someday. I recently read that even Apple has set a goal to provide service between their phones within five years that is not dependent on any cell carriers.

 

Other research notes:

Wifiranger Elite: External antenna increases reception of WIFI. It has ports to plug in a cellular device such as a smart phone or similar. Then the wifiranger brings all the connections together and manages it like a fancy router.  Watch the video at their site. Here is a link by RV Geeks on installation. Lots of reputable travelers are using it to include Technomadia, Wheelingit and more. (8//17/17) Cost around $625

Technomadia overview  (G0 Here First) on available options.  This 24 minute video gives provides a bunch of ideas which might be usable given your unique needs. You can drift around on their website or go directly to the device review page here.

Weboost: Cell signal boosting. The Wifiranger does not boost cell signal and they recommend Weboost. (8//17/17) Cost around $500.

Peplink appears to be another popular vendor for mobile routers and such.

I’ll be going with a portable satellite dish if we decide to purchase one. Dish Network appears to be popular for travelers.

For cell service, a part time job I’m keeping on the road pays for T-Mobile that has no data limits. Karen’s phone in on the AT&T network with a 2 gig limit. My current full time job provides me a Verizon phone and has no data limit. Once we go full time we will most likely keep two different network phone to increase potential coverage. We are going to vacation before that for longer periods so will have the three networks until retirement.

Wifi boosting and router: Perhaps a usable approach is an antenna hooked to an inside router. From the router you connect computer wirelessly and password protected. Then have a setup for cellular independently where the booster is connected or communicates to a standalone cellular hot spot. Some devises allow everything to hook to one router and controls which signal it uses for various reasons.